Why Does God Not Save All?

I was reading Follow Me by David Platt, and he was talking about the initiation of God’s saving grace towards us as a juxtaposition to the idea most of us grew up with. That is, that we “got God” by asking him into our hearts.

The idea that spills out of this one is of course why God doesn’t save everyone if salvation is His alone. And it’s this idea that has, as Tony Reinke once wrote, confounded minds much greater than mine in historical Christianity.

But how these two biblical truths (that seem to contradict) actually relate, has perplexed theologians and inquiring Christian minds for many centuries, sparking vigorous debates and (more recently) fiery comment threads on Facebook.

John Piper points to Romans 9:22-23 in his book on whether God desires all to be saved.

“What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—.” (Romans 9:22-23)

I’m not sure if this makes me feel better about things, but it does provide an answer of sorts. Piper takes it further in this question on whether the Bible contradicts itself when it comes to God’s partiality.

So God’s choice is based on his own hidden wisdom (Ephesians 1:11). God works all things according to the counsel of his will, the counsel of his will. He does not base his choices in irrelevant considerations. He is free to choose whomever he will and his reasons are never owing to our goodness. How could they be? We are all sinners deserving of death. Yet he chooses freely to save some.

And the very meaning of grace in Romans 11:5, the very meaning of grace is that the reason he chooses us is not in ourselves. It is not in our own virtue or our own sinfulness. It is in his counsel and he is wise in all that he does because he is guided by the highest considerations. And what is that consideration? Well, it was hinted at in that text we reads from 1 Corinthians one. What choices will humble sinful men? What choices will keep men from boasting in themselves? And what choices will bring people to praise the glory of the grace of God?

It feels like the answer I always arrive at with this question is, “nobody knows” because all of these decisions God makes are based on the consel of his will.

Maybe I don’t actually understand opportunity cost

Maybe I just have a poor understanding of the economics surrounding what people refer to as an opportunity cost, but something struck me this week that doesn’t make much sense.

I was reading a book called About Time by a guy named Paul Davies and he noted the following three things about Albert Einstein:

1. His average mark (in school) was a creditable but not sensational 5 out of 6.

2. He was formally expelled from the Gymnasium on the grounds that he was disruptive in class and disrespectful of the teachers.

3. His uncle Jakob was able to fire the young boy’s imagination with conversation and books about science and math.

Based on a little deductive reasoning I think it’s safe to say Einstein was an above average student who starred in a specific thing.

I understand why kids need to learn how to read and write and add four and six but beyond that why, specifically in high school and college are we lauded for being good in a variety of subjects instead of nudged towards being elite at one thing?

And pardon me for thinking “having a major” doesn’t equate to “being elite at one thing.”

Being the best in the world at a thing — whether it’s making leather knapsacks or writing a blog on hummingbirds or selling refurbished Furbies — is irreplaceable. That is, you can sell that skill or, if you work for a corporation, they cannot let you go without making their company worse.

If you become the best in the world at something, we can work with that, you can make a living out of that — one you actually enjoy. It’s a ticket to success in life.

That’s where opportunity cost comes in — Jon Acuff wrote a version of this post a while back, essentially saying that the cost of him cutting his lawn wasn’t worth the money he could make by not cutting his lawn and doing something else (in his case, writing).

God created us all to be different at different things so don’t fret if you’re bad at cutting grass or catching pop flies. Somebody else is good at it but bad at the thing you’re good at it.

That’s why opportunity cost exists.

But instead school encourages us to essentially erase our elite skills — or at least encourages us to slow down in developing them — for what reason exactly?

Again, maybe I just don’t understand opportunity cost.

Life’s complications and solutions

“All [storytelling] is figuring out the central complication of someone’s life and how on a daily basis they go about solving it. Every single story has a character that encounters an obstacle and is changed by it.”

Wright Thompson to Peninsula Press

My question is which of those two is more important if you’re the subject. The figuring out of your own complication or the going about solving it?