Tag: Salvation (page 1 of 2)

Did God Hate Esau?

Ruth D – Please explain Romans 9:13 – “I loved Jacob but hated Esau.” Does that mean certain people will never be saved, because God has not chosen them, or does it go back to faith and works?

Dave – Thank you for your question. It is not an easy one. Romans 9-11 are difficult chapters to grasp. After rereading all of Chapter 9, I can share some ideas with you. Overall, we must remember that God knows the future. He knows who will have the right attitudes and saving faith before they are even born. For example, He knew what Esau and Jacob would be like before their birth, and the reason He hated Esau was because he was not man of faith and spirit but rather a “man of the world,” i.e., tough, strong, good hunter and, most importantly, he did not value spiritual things.

Paul is also revealing something God said repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, that only some Jews will be saved (“the remnant”), most would not. Paul is making clear that physical lineage does not determine who obtains eternal life. It seems as though there are only two “philosophical” options regarding human life – either we trust that we are good enough for Heaven or we are not and need saving by God’s mercy. Humans can will to do this or that, but the bottom line is this – have they found God’s mercy? I know that verses 15-16 in Romans 9 make it sound like God selects people on earth to be saved and also chooses some to go to destruction. Some Christians believe this concept of predestination where God just does what He does and individuals have no choice. But I contend that even when people are chosen or called they can renege on the invitation like Judas Iscariot did. Saul/Paul was chosen as demonstrated by a strong vision that most people never get, but he still could have walked away from the Lord. I further believe that God’s mercy is willing and waiting for sinners to repent and find Jesus. I do not believe that if such a person does this that God will say “No, you have not been chosen by Me.”

I further think that the idea of predestination in Romans 8:29 means that as God saw the future and He decided to make those willing souls to become like Jesus eventually. In other words, before He made everything, He made the decision to do what was necessary to make evil disappear forever, knowing full well what He had to do to accomplish this. Those souls who would respond to His Truth (mercy), would therefore be predestined to eternal life.

Again, this is difficult to deal with and I am not saying all I’ve said is totally the Truth. It’s just the way I have dealt with your question for the 44 years I’ve known Him.

QA #38 Feedback on concept of predestination:

Nels F (10/7/13) – So interesting–thanks!

Believing vs Following

Ruth D – My husband believes in Jesus, and he believes God raised Jesus from the dead, so it seems like Romans 10: 6-10 is saying he is saved, but he’s not in love with Jesus. So is he saved?

Dave – We can’t take one passage build an entire doctrine upon it. We need to take all verses in the Bible into consideration before drawing conclusions on questions and issues. Regarding this one, Jesus told people to not only believe in Him but to also follow Him. Many Americans will tell us that they believe in Jesus, meaning that He is the Messiah and died for our sins and rose from the dead. But many of these are not following Him. Jesus said we are to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. This means our “self” no longer rules and we live for Him (not that saved people do this perfectly all the time, but they DO do it). If a person shows no signs of repentance or salvation, then I would say they are not saved (but I am never with anyone 24-7 to know this for sure). James speaks about faith without works is dead and that a person would show their faith by their works. This means that if a person has real faith that saves, then there will be evidence flowing through their behavior that a change has taken place. In addition, Jesus told of a man who was “dressed in the wrong clothes” at “God’s Big Banquet in the sky.” Apparently he thought he was saved, but wasn’t.

Having said all that, I hasten to say that I cannot judge your husband by pronouncing him unsaved. It is just too deep for my spirit to do correctly. I would certainly encourage him to read the Word, attend church, and plug into other believers. If he refuses all of these options until his death, I doubt his salvation but I do not sit on God’s Throne. A good question to ask folks is not if they are a Christian, but rather are they following Jesus?


Pat T – I agree with everything Dave says and want to add something I recently read by Os Guinness who pointed out that some people have many obstacles in their life to overcome before becoming true believers, but as long as they are heading in the right direction we should never judge them but encourage them in their journey toward the faith. One’s mate can be such an encourager. Guinness also points out that some may never arrive to the faith but we can’t make that judgment, only God has the privilege to know another’s future.

Alona R – I think you answered Ruth well and your answer should be taken to heart by her husband and many others that we know. Thank you for that explanation – I think I’ll save this for future use!

Gary R – I think its a very slippery slope when people start questioning people’s salvation possibly because someone’s ideas about salvation do not conform to their beliefs or behaviors. Be careful.

Good People and Hell

Trish S – I have always questioned the belief that folks who may have little exposure to Jesus but are “good” people will spend eternity in Hell. Perhaps this comes from my Roman Catholic background!

Dave – It’s not just Roman Catholicism but most Christian churches believe that Hell is everlasting torment for all who do not believe in Jesus (born-again). I noticed you put the word “good” in quotation marks which is good because no one born of Adam’s seed is good. All humans, except Jesus of course, are the “walking dead” until they are born-again in Christ. That said, one has to wonder about little kids or babies (including those aborted in utero) who die. None of these humans could even begin to understand salvation’s terms. I think the safe answer is that we do not know but God is just and perfect in all judgments He makes. Perhaps the criterion is different for humans who die at an older age because they had the chance of seeking the Truth. God promises humans that they will find the Truth if the seek it. I maintain, however, that simply seeking truth (small “t” on truth) does not necessarily cut it because the condition of the individual’s heart may not be pure. By pure, I mean they have a willingness to do God’s will as Jesus said in John 7:17. There are many truths found in various philosophies, but adhering to them does not cause one’s sins to be forgiven.

Jewish tradition has this thing called the “age of accountability” which holds that a child’s sins are on the parents’ soul, but from age 13 on they are not. It assumes that before this age is reached, the child is without sin and if he/she dies within this time frame, they go to Heaven. So this would be a sudden shift of guilt and blame based on a time clock. It is not found anywhere in the Scriptures.

We do know that some will receive harsher punishment than others based on what they rejected on earth. For example, those who rejected Jesus are in the most trouble. But what about a person who has never been exposed to the Gospel and dies? This is a tough one. We don’t like the idea that this soul will be thrown on the Lake of Fire, whether or not it is eternal suffering or a literal second death as the Scriptures say it is. Jesus spoke of separating the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the chaff. He said the chaff does get thrown into a fire. Wheat does represent saved souls and chaff does represent unsaved souls. It seems to me that any soul not redeemed by God’s Blood cannot have eternal life…but eternal torment for human souls is extremely difficult for me to accept, whether or not it is accurate. It makes more sense to me that Hell for human souls is the second death. Death means death, or going out of existence. This belief, of course, is a serious error to most Christians, so I would never teach it although the possibility of it being true does rest in my mind.

Some Christians feel if this “error” is taught then concern for the lost would be diminished. I would argue that the Lake of Fire is still a horrible, frightening fate and therefore we all need to get the Gospel out to others.

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