ELECTION, PREDESTINATION, FOREKNOWLEDGE, FREE WILL, SALVATION
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The doctrine that involves election, predestination, foreknowledge of God, free will of men and salvation are taught in the Bible.
Confusion are most common on divisive issues when definitions of terms are not well defined. Therefore, I believe we need to start with clear definition of terms. As you have said, when we study the Bible, we cannot take verses here and there and build a theology out of them. We must examine the context of the paragraph, chapter and entire book. May I also add that we need to take into consideration of “the whole counsel of God.”? Also, Scripture verses cannot contradict each other.
I thank God that He had, for the 3rd time, placed the issue of “free will of men and election of God” in front of me. When I first heard Calvinism/Reformed theology 6 years ago, I had a “gut” feeling that it was entirely against “commonsense” and my knowledge of a loving God. I read a couple of books and watched some videos and concluded that TULIP does not reconcile with the Bible. I did not actually drill into the Word and contemplate deep enough to see for myself what God has to say on this issue.
This time, however, I have fasted and prayed, opened the Bible software and really studied. I believe I owe you, as a Christian brother and to God that I am not relying on other men’s opinions but coming to the conclusion of the matter on my due diligence, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
Table of Contents
ELECTION, PREDESTINATION, FOREKNOWLEDGE, FREE WILL, SALVATION.. 1
- Predestination and Foreknowledge of God. 3
1.1. Romans 8:29. 3
1.2. Romans 8:30. 3
1.3. Ephesians 1:5. 3
1.4. Ephesians 1:11-12. 3
- Election. 5
2.1. Romans 9. 5
2.2. Acts 13:48. 5
2.3. 2 Thessalonians 2:13. 6
2.4. Matthew 22:14. 7
2.5 Ephesians 1:4. 7
- Salvation for all people. 8
3.1. 1 John 2:2. 8
3.2. Romans 5:18. 8
3.3. 1 Timothy 2:3-4. 8
3.4. 1 Timothy 4:10. 8
3.5. Romans 11:32. 8
3.6. Ezekiel 18:23. 9
3.7. Revelation 22:17. 9
- Others. 9
4.1. Original Sin and Imputed Sin. 9
4.2. Fall Away from Salvation?. 11
- Conclusion. 12
1. Predestination and Foreknowledge of God
PREDESTINA’TION, n. The act of decreeing or foreordaining events; the decree of God by which he hath, from eternity, unchangeably appointed or determined whatever comes to pass.
FOREKNOWL’EDGE, n. Knowledge of a thing before it happens; prescience.
(from Webster 1828)
There are 4 places in the New Testament where the word “Predestinate” can be found:
Romans 8:29 and 30, Ephesians 1:5 and 1:11
We need to find out who is predestinated, what is that person/those people predestinated to do and when it would happen.
1.1. Romans 8:29
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren
Foreknowledge means that God sees and knows everything that is going to happen in the future of our time. God is omniscient. Predestination means that God will bring to pass what He has foreordained/predetermined according to His will.
This verse tells us that Christ knew ahead of time who will accept Him as their Saviour. Romans 8 is talking to “them which are in Christ Jesus”. And for these people, the Christians, God has predestinated that they will be conformed to the image of Christ. When would this happen? When we are raptured. Philippians 3:20, 21 and 1 John 3:2 mentioned that when we see Jesus, we will be like Him.
Predestination applies to Christians, not the lost.
1.2. Romans 8:30
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified
This verse says that Christians were called, justified and glorified when we were saved. Nobody is predestinated to be saved. After we put out trust in Jesus Christ and become a Christian, God would then bring to pass of the fact that one day we will be conformed to the image of His Son.
1.3. Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Who are “us”? Christians. Again, God predestinates something for those who are already saved. What does God predestinate us into? The adoption as His children. According to Strong’s [G5206], this refers to sonship in God. When? At rapture as explained in
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body
1.4. Ephesians 1:11-12
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Who are being predestinated? We, the Christians. For what purpose? To the praise of his glory. Following verse 13 and 14 explains that the Christians’ inheritance (in the kingdom of God, joint-heir of Christ), are sealed by Holy Spirit according to God’s own will, which will be redeemed at rapture.
Predestination relates to the saved. Not the lost.
ELEC’TION, n. [L. electio.] The act of choosing; choice; the act of selecting one or more from others.
In the Bible, the words “chosen, choose, elect, election” bear the same meaning. Here is where I disagree with Calvinism. Election has nothing to do with salvation, but service. God does not choose who to be saved, but He does choose who to serve or carry out His will/plan according to His own pleasure. He can choose believers or heathens for His purpose. For example, in the Old Testament, God chose Assyrians, Babylonians and Philistines to execute judgments on Israel.
In the Old Testament God chose/elected Israel to be a peculiar people (common saying that Israel is the “chosen people”). Deut 7:6, 14:2. If Israel were “chosen”, does that mean they were all saved? Of course not. God elected Israel to be a light of the Gentiles (service) Isaiah 42:6, Acts 13:47. This is the Sovereignty of God that He chose out of many nations that the nation of Israel to be called “His people”.
2.1. Romans 9
Romans 9 is the favorite passage the Calvinists use to justify the wrong teaching of “election to salvation”. I won’t quote the entire book because of space, but let us examine the verses from 7-24.
First of all Romans 9 is about Jews. Paul has shown that God chose the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to become the nation of Israel. When it came to Esau and Jacob, God chose Jacob to fulfill His promise to Abraham. This has nothing to with Esau or Jacob’s salvation.
Romans 9:12 The elder shall serve the younger.
Notice that the Scripture says Esau would serve Jacob (God chose Jacob to be served by Esau). It does NOT say Jacob would be saved and Esau would be lost.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
“As it is written” -> refer to Malachi 1: 1-3. This was probably written 1500 years after Genesis 25:3. Notice that God declared his hate for Esau after the fact that Esau had abandoned his birthright. God did not declare whom he loved or hated before the twins were born, but He expressed His detest for Esau many many years afterwards.
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Let’s go back to Exodus 33:18-19. Moses beseeched God to show him the Lord’s glory. And God responded that He would choose whomever He wanted to show his grace and mercy concerning His glory. This was not about Moses’ salvation but simply about Moses’ request to see God’s glory.
The following verses regarding potter and clay clearly demonstrate God’s sovereignty. The context of Romans 9, however, is not about God choosing whom to be saved. Paul is telling the Jews that God can choose to extend the salvation to Gentiles even though the Jews fail to execute His original plan (chosen people, a light to Gentiles), because the Gentiles obtain righteousness by faith. The Jews, as clay in God’s hands, have no rights to object that salvation is also granted to the Gentiles without following the Law.
2.2. Acts 13:48
This is a difficult verse. On the surface, the sequence seems to be: God ordained those Gentiles to eternal life and then they believed. This contradicts with other verses in Scripture that teach Jesus is the saviour of the world. For if Jesus is the saviour of the world, then everybody should be ordained to be saved, not just some.
The notion of God appointed this group of Gentiles to salvation also contradicts with Acts 13:46:
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Here we are told that the Jews rejected everlasting life by their own free will, not by God’s doing. So could it be a translation issue in Acts 13:48?
The word “ordained” is the Greek work tasso [G5021] which appears in the New Testament 8 times (Matt 28:16; Luke 7:8; Acts 13:48; 15:2; 22:10; 28:23; Rom 13:1; 2 Cor 16:15). The primary meaning of tasso is “to arrange in an orderly manner” and the secondary meaning is “to assign or dispose”. None of the other 7 appearances where tasso is used has any relationship to everlasting life.
So this verse could also be translated as “As many as had arranged themselves for eternal life believed.” Acts 13 consisted of various examples of people reacting differently to Paul’s gospel, i.e. Sergius Paulus, Elymas, Jews and Gentiles at Antioch. The Gentiles first heard Paul and Barnabas on a sabbath and then asked them to return preaching on the next sabbath. It is safe to assume that these Gentiles had the desire and came with an open heart to hear the gospel. Therefore, the Gentiles had positioned, prepared, arranged themselves to hear the gospel regarding eternal life and believed on the good news after the preaching.
I don’t know any Greek and therefore cannot expound further on this issue, i.e. use of middle voice, passive voice. I believe that the alternate translation on this verse aligns with other portion of the Bible.
2.3. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
This verse is frequently used by Calvinist to support their doctrine of “election to salvation”. But what is the context of 2 Thessalonians 2? It is about end times.
There was confusion among Thessalonica Christians concerning when Jesus would return. Paul thus replied with the 2nd letter to teach the Thessalonians what would happen before the Day of the Lord. Immediately before verse 13 we read:
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Paul is referring to the wicked people in the end times. Because they choose not to receive the truth so that they might be saved (may I say free will?), therefore God would send them a deception so that they would follow the antichrist.
Then in verse 13, Paul is talking to the Thessalonica Christians. To correctly interpret this verse, we have to find out the meaning of “salvation”. The question we need to ask is “Salvation from what?” From what is God going to save the Thessalonian Christians from?
The context of chapter 2 has nothing to do with election and predestination. It has nothing to do with doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Paul is talking about falling away (v3), son of perdition (v3), working of Satan (v9), strong delusion (v10). God chooses to “save” Christians from these things during the Great Tribulation.
As you said in your email, context dictates what a verse truly means. If one ignores all the verses before v13 and focus on just the words “chosen you to salvation”, one would come to the conclusion that “election to salvation” pertaining to everlasting life is biblical. However, that is NOT the case here.
Also notice that the salvation from those things Paul mentioned from v3 to v12 has 2 basis:
- God’s part: sanctification of the Spirit
- Men’s part: belief of the truth
Contrary to the people who would perish (v10); the Christians must first believe in the truth and sanctified by the Holy Spirit so that God’s promise of deliverance from anti-christ would stand.
2.4. Matthew 22:14
The context of Matthew 22 concerns a king (God) arranging wedding for his son (Jesus). First group of people rejected the invite (call), out of their own choice. The king then ordered his servants to gather as many people as they could find and invited them to the wedding. Notice in Matthew 22:10 that the king invited both good and bad people (everyone). One person who attended the wedding did not wear the proper attire and was thrown out of the wedding.
- The invite was sent out to everyone. The “many” in verse 14 are referring to “all as many as” (verse 10) that the servant came into contact with.
- Good people means people of self-righteousness. Bad people means people who are living a sinful life. God invited both group.
- The person who did not wear wedding garment came with the wrong attitude. He was still wearing his old garment (self-righteousness) and did not put on the proper wedding garment (Christ’s self-righteousness)? How did I come up with this? Because since Matthew 21:23 to Matthew 22:14 Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees (Matthew 21:45). Jesus was reasoning with them that they were trusting in their own works in the law and not believing in the Messiah.
- “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This is referring to many (all) people are called, but few will come with the wedding garment, that is, few will remove their old garments and put on the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Those who come to the wedding out of free will and wearing Christ’s righteousness will be chosen. In other words, even if you answer the invite and come to God without Christ’s righteousness, you will not be chosen and get kicked out of the kingdom.
2.5 Ephesians 1:4
The verse teaches that God has chosen the Christians (us) to carry out His plan/will. What is the plan? To be holy and without blame before him in love. This corresponds to
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Simply put, God’s desire before the foundation of the earth, was that every Christian should have good works and walk in a holy life. It doesn’t teach that God chooses a certain group of people to be saved.
3. Salvation for all people
In order to show the error of Calvinism where they teach limited atonement of Christ, here are the Scriptures that show God’s desire is for everyone to be saved and Christ died for the sins of everyone in the world. Although God calls or draws all men, not everyone will answer His call. Men has free will to choose whether he will accept or reject Christ by faith. God does not force anyone to accept His gift; nor does He elects or chooses anyone to go to Hell (and eventually into lake of fire). The Scripture said that hell was prepared for the devil and fallen angels. It was never the Father’s original intention that men should be tormented in everlasting fire.
3.1. 1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world
John was talking to Christians “my little children” (v1). The “our” in v2 refers to Christians as well. Therefore, the verse teaches us that Christ is the atonement for Christians’ sins, and for the sins of all people (the whole world). If limited atonement is true, John would stop at “he is the propitiation for our sins”. But he continues to say “not for ours only, but….”. It is clear that the power of Christ’s atonement is universal to all believers and the lost.
3.2. Romans 5:18
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Adam’s rebellion results in condemnation to death in ALL his descendants (v14). Now because of Christ’s obedience, the free gift of salvation comes upon ALL men. Paul has made it clear here that “all” in both places refer to the same thing – everyone. One cannot argue that the first ‘all’ refers to everyone while the second ‘all’ applies only to the “elect”. Therefore, God has provided salvation for every human being.
3.3. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1 Timonthy 2 starts off with supplications, prayers, intercessions….. for all men and kings and all in authority. The “all” here would include both saved and the lost. Do we not pray for our families and friends who are non-believers? Do we not pray for the anti-God leaders in our government? Here, Paul has everyone in mind, not just the “elect”. Then in v4 Paul teaches that God’s will is to have all people to be saved because Christ gave himself a ransom for all. This matches the doctrine of Christ’s propitiation or atonement is for all mankind.
3.4. 1 Timothy 4:10
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Paul points out that Christ is the Saviour of all mankind and especially the Saviour of Christian. If Christ is only the Saviour of those that believe, Paul would not have made the distinction here.
3.5. Romans 11:32
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
This verse also corresponds to Gal 3:22
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
God has constrained (shut) everyone under sin so that His mercy can fall upon everyone. However, the promise of eternal life can only be given to the person who believes. Granted that the “all” in v11:32 are referring to the Jews, not the Gentiles. But it does show us that God’s mercy are upon the unbelieving Jews so that they might be possible to be saved.
3.6. Ezekiel 18:23
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
If we read the immediate texts from Ezekiel 18 5-22, God uses the illustration of father-son and wicked-righteous to teach us that it is the choice of individual when it comes to life and death. A wicked can turn away from his sins and he shall live; whereas a righteous can turn away from his righteousness and shall die. I would submit that this chapter tell us that a person has free will on his course of action and is responsible for his destination.
Then in verse 23, it reveals to us the heart of our Father in Heaven: He has NO pleasure in the death of the wicked. And again God said in verse 32:
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.
Now, if God chooses a group of people to salvation and elects the rest of them to perish as Calvinism teaches, this certainly contradicts with the will of God. Can we call this a “mystery” and “believe by faith” that God would do and act as such? In this particular case, it is impossible because we have agreed that the Word of God cannot contradict itself, or else, God would be a liar. Since God cannot lie, and the Scripture shows us in multiple places that God desires everyone to be saved, then logically the doctrine of election to salvation is not true.
3.7. Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Whosoever means anyone. Anyone who is willing to come to Christ and believe in His redemptive work can have the free living water of eternal life. Not everyone will come, only those who choose to come. This resonates with John 3:16. Men cannot save themselves. Men are unable to seek God naturally. However, God, in His mercy and grace and love, shines His light to everyone in the world.
John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
So God reveals Himself to everyone so that they are aware of their situation and provide them with a solution. It is then up to the individual to make the decision.
4.1. Original Sin and Imputed Sin
First of all, I don’t know much about David Bennett and Dave Hunt. I do not have much idea what position they hold. I have not read the book “What love is this?”. I quoted from them because I believe in what that particular paragraph conveys. Just because I quote and agree with some words from a person does not mean I endorse their entire theology.
When I made my statement “I believe the person rejects God first…..”, what I have in mind are the people who have heard about the gospel but do not believe. I was not referring to people before Christ came or people that never heard the gospel. Sorry I did not make myself clear.
I do not entirely agree with your statement:
“The Bible is clear that men are not going to hell because they have never heard about Jesus (agree). They are going because we are born in sin and this is what we all deserve.”(not agree) And the following statement “Our nature of sin is what condemns us.” (not agree)
Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Romans 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
We are born in sin. No objection there. But I don’t believe that is why God punishes us to hell. We are condemned to death because of Adam’s transgression. I would argue that condemning to death is not exactly the same as God sending us to hell. Because of original sin, everyone’s life on this earth is cut short and everybody has to die and face God’s judgement.
For those who never heard Jesus, how did God decide if one deserved hell? For the Jews who had the law (Torah), God judged them by whether they had followed or trespassed against the law. For the Gentiles who did not have the law, God judged them by whether they had violated the God-given conscience.
And then Paul explained that sin is not imputed if there is no law. In other words, if I do not understand the law (Torah or conscience), a person’ original sin is not judged as transgression in God’s eyes. When the person becomes conscious about the law, he is then guilty of transgression and God is justified by sending him to hell.
This might be better understood in the case of unborn baby, a child prior to “age of accountability” or a person who was born mentally disabled. I haven’t come across a Bible verse that specifically addresses this situation, but based on my understanding of Romans as explained after, I believe God would not condemn a person who is incapable of understanding the law (brain damage since birth or too young) to eternal damnation. I am not entirely certain on this point and am open to discussion otherwise.
Also, if you read Psalm 98:2-3
The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.1 3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Even in the Old Testament time, God has revealed his salvation to the Gentiles. This resonates with other places in the Scripture that describe God’s desire to save all and draw (call) all men (John 12:32).
And again in Roman 1:21-32, Paul said that people knew God through creation, and because they refused to give Him the glory, God gave them up. Again, men reject God first and God judges them accordingly. So I don’t think there would be a group of people throughout human history that we can identify as “un-preached” (with the exception of those incapable of understanding due to mental capability).
We deserve to go to hell because we know the law of God and yet refuse to obey.
Of course, Paul then explained that we are saved by faith and nobody is capable of following the law flawlessly, although the promise of eternal life through perfect obedience to the law is still valid.
4.2. Fall Away from Salvation?
Is it possible that a truly saved person can “walk away” from the faith? If this is possible, then men indeed do have free will when it comes to salvation.
4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost; 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Again “once saved, forever saved” is a dearly held doctrine. From the verses in Hebrews 6, my interpretation would be: for those people who have been saved and walked away from the faith, there is no second chance. I believe “partakers of the Holy Ghost” refers to the fact that the Holy Spirit only dwells in a born-again believer.
For quite some time I don’t understand what the meaning of “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” in Matthew 12:31 and “there is a sin unto death”1 John 5:16. I now think that these verses corresponds with Hebrews 6 4:-6. If a person has made the choice to follow God and receives His blessings and promises, yet he turns away (apostate), there can be no more forgiveness from God.
I absolutely believe that God will keep His promise of eternal security and preserving His saints, provided that the person walks in faith and abides in Jesus the Vine. The Bible is full of warning to believers that we need to watch, be diligent in praying, study the Word, be doers of the Word and show good fruits. The more we draw close to God, God will draw neigh to us and “preserve” us. The further away we get from God (as a Christian), the easier we would fall into temptation and fall away from faith. It is a “bi-directional” relationship. God would keep us in His palm if we continue to stay in His hand.
So if a believer can fall from grace even though he was truly born-again, then it demonstrates that we do have free will when it comes to salvation.
I am sure there are verses in the Bible that I have not addressed in regards to election and free will. However, I believe the previous sections have demonstrated the fact that our God is love. Christ teaches us to love our enemies. In the same way, God loves the rebellious mankind, His enemies. On one hand, God’s holiness and righteousness demand instant judgement on the wicked; however, on the other hand, the longsuffering, mercy, grace and love of God temporarily hold back His wrath.
This is the “Agape” love of Jesus Christ. He died for those whom He hates. He pleaded, waited, called men to repentance. God desires us, out of our own free will, to respond and accept His call and free gift of salvation. There is no meaning in creating a pre-programmed robot that cannot choose its course of action. What kind of meaningful, loving relationship can you have in that situation?
You can argue that because God’s thought is higher than our though and His way is higher than our ways; He would find pleasure in not giving men the free will to choose salvation or damnation. You said that you would still submit to God if He predestinates people to heaven or hell. You said that it doesn’t matter how “cruel” or unreasonable I think God would be if He is whom He is described as such by the Reformed theology. What matters is what the Word of God said.
I absolutely agree.
However, the Bible does not teach that the Divine Being would infringe on the free will of men. On the contrary, the Bible teaches us that God judges a person based on his mind and action in life. It is our heart and attitude that determines our standing before God. In fact, after the study of the many verses as mentioned in previous sections, I believe that the core of Calvinistic teaching on election/predestination to salvation is a blasphemy to God because it has seriously distorted the attributes of God, especially His love, grace and mercy to all his creation.
It is a men-made theology that does not align with the Scripture. It almost feels like the Calvinists are in a different religion.
In addition, men having free will to salvation does not undermine or diminish God’s Sovereignty in any way. God has already decided the consequences of men’s choosing. Men do not have a third destination to go. Men cannot stop God from carrying out His judgement. Men cannot stop Bible prophecies from fulfilling. Men cannot stop God from raising kings and nations. The decisions of many individuals rejecting His Son cannot stop one bit of anything that God will bring to pass. God is still sovereign regardless of men’s free will.
My decision of believing in Christ would not make me proud. The law has clearly depicted my failure in living up to God’s standard. It is God who provides me the solution and I thank Him for “a way out”.