Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why Christians are tested; why God lets us experience doubt

I should caution that in places this contains a fair degree of theological speculation...

I think that before we had physical bodies, God made our souls (Jer 1:5) and He 'knew' how everyone would choose in an infinity of possible situations. Some people God knew would come to Him very easily, some people would come to God through a lot of effort, and some people would not come to Him at all.

In Zec 13:8-9 it says that 1/3rd of all the people in this age will be saved. That seems a bit high considering traditional talk on how hard salvation is. But it's not when you consider how many people die outside the age (children) or state (mentally disabled) of accountability, and thus go straight to heaven.

Even more people are saved than that. In the next age (where the lion lies down with the lamb) virtually everyone will be saved (Isa 33:20-24).

It's interesting to me that most people in the Kingdom of God (those outside the age/state of accountability, and the people in the next age who live in a paradise) will have undergone virtually no testing at all in their faith. But obviously, almost all Christians who are mature Christians in this world and serious about their faith undergo moderate to severe testing in their faith, in all kinds of ways ("I will refine them as silver is refined" - Zec 13:9).

I think this is because state-of-accountability Christians in this age are composed of the souls that God has identified as 'borderline cases'. There's something about us that means we need to change in some way before we will accept God's grace forever, never taking leave of it in the Kingdom. But change we can. So God puts us in difficult situations and tests us over our lives so that when we die, God knows that we have changed in ways that will allow us to accept His grace forever. Unfortunately, this testing is grievous (Heb 12:8-11). But it changes us in ways that are needed for us to live forever in God's Kingdom, so it is absolutely the right thing for God to do.

So God's will is for ALL state-of-accountability Christians in this age to be tested, possibly severely, and to pass, and He will always provide us with a way out if we choose to take it (1 Cor 10:13). So all accountability-age Christians have been inserted into history facing the specific (often painful) tests that will, with enough time, change us in ways allowing us to be with God forever. Our salvation would be in danger without these personality changes, because without growing in His word God foreknew that we would have failed at some point in the Kingdom of God by rejecting His grace.

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