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God Is Not Surprised

John 6:64-65 (NET)
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 So Jesus added, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”

There are believers and non-believers. Neither surprised the Lord with their decision.

What is not in this set of verses is any concept that God determined that some should believe and who should not. In fact, if it were up to God everyone would believe. Can we just say that? Can we conclude that because God is good and God is love that this must be the conclusion?

Well, we don’t have to jump to conclusions. The bible tells us outright.  The Apostle Paul tells us:

1 Tim 2:1 (NET)
1 First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people,

Ok, so Paul tells us that we are urged to request, pray, intercede and give thanks for and on behalf of all people.  Get that: for all people.  Everyone.  The ones you know and like.  The ones you know and don’t like.  The ones you don’t know personally and like. And even those who you don’t know and you simply don’t like.  Does that cover everyone?

1 Tim 2:2-3 (NET)
2 even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior,

Hey, even for kings or presidents — even if they aren’t of your party and you don’t like them!   We are to pray for peace and a quiet life in godliness.  We are to ask, pray, intercede and give thanks for all these people.  This is what God our Savior expects us to do.  It is a good thing to do (rather than complaining about the sitting president who you didn’t vote for).

So that covers it, right?  All people get the attention of our prayer and intercession.

But why?

1 Tim 2:4-6 (NET)
4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time.

God want all people…. (how many?)… to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.  God wants all people: the ones that Paul just told you to ask, pray, intercede and give thanks on behalf of.  All people…. God wants to be saved.

It doesn’t get any more clear than that?  At least until the Calvinist comes along and muddies the waters by trying to say that this means ‘all elect people.’ Sorry, but it doesn’t say that.  It says God “wants all people to be saved.” Pretty clear.  Pretty straight forward.

Jesus gave Himself up as a ransom for all.  God’s purpose was revealed to all.  Salvation has come for all.

Now let’s go back to our opening verse and statement:

John 6:64-65 (NET)
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 So Jesus added, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”

There are believers and non-believers. Neither surprised the Lord with their decision.

God desires that all be saved.  But some won’t accept salvation.  Some won’t take this free gift given on the cross by Jesus, God’s Son.  Some are selfishly happy just wallowing in their sin.  Some simply don’t believe.

And John 6:64 tells us what we already know:  some of us will not believe.  And it surprises us with the following:  Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were.  These people didn’t surprise God, didn’t surprise Jesus; Father, Son and Holy Spirit had already known who would and wouldn’t get saved.  Not because they picked them to be the elect and offered it only to them — scripture simply doesn’t say this.  It says that God desires that all men be saved, but He knows that there are some who won’t, and it goes even a step further:  from the beginning of time God knew who would and who wouldn’t.  He knew the Pharaoh would stand in Moses’ way.  He knew Judas would sell out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.  He knew the Jews would demand the death of Jesus by crucifixion.  He knew Adam would fall.

To see another viewpoint of this check out this article on this site:  God Within Time.

God sees all and knows all things.  He knows the past from the future, the beginning from the end.  He already knows what is going to happen on this earth and predicted the end in a book called Revelation.  It will happen not because God will force it to happen but because God has already seen it happen, is seeing it happen now, will see it when we see it.  A paradox?  Not really.  God isn’t in our time box.  He is not limited by time as we are.  He’s outside our timeline.  He knows how it will end.

And in this He knows who will be saved and who will not.  This is how I know once saved, always saved (OSAS) is true.  Because it must be: God is not surprised.  When one is truly saved, they will remain saved and end saved.  And God knows this person.  If one never gets saved, or if their “salvation” is intellectual and weak and fleeting then God knows that they are not really saved and will finish lost.  He knows this person too.

God is not surprised by anything that we can do, think, act out.  Jesus knew from the beginning who would not believe.  And He knew who belonged to Him:

John 10:27 (NET)
My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Jesus knew who shall be saved.

John 10:26 (NET)
But you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep.

Jesus knew who would not be saved.

We are His sheep.  All saved people (even if, to us, they are not saved yet) are His sheep.  Those who will be lost are not.

And He did not predetermine this.  He did not choose the elect.  He let our free will play out and He let us make our own choices in the matter.  And when it was all done (realizing that it is NOT all done to us “trapped” in time), when it was all over, Jesus knew the end from the beginning.  At our moment in time Jesus ALREADY knows the end and He knew it from the beginning.  John 6:64 told us this perplexing truth.

God is never surprised.

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