Pleased and Displeased Without Contradiction

II Peter 3:9 reads as follows:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

And this is scripture and it is true, but what does it mean about God? I have heard people say that this verse means that God has no control over who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. If it was up to God, no one would go to Hell, they say and then are left scratching their heads at the idea of omnipotence.

Becoming a parent has helped clear these thoughts up for me. My son is almost 2½ and while he is a sweet child, he is also a son of Adam and born into sin. Because of this, there are times where I see him being tempted and while it is perfectly within my power to remove him from the temptation or the temptation from him, more often than not, and for a multitude of reasons, it pleases me to watch him struggle, it pleases me to watch him fall, and then it pleases me to spank him. And it pleases me, because by faith, I believe that God is using this process in both my and my son’s life. But at that very same time that I am so pleased, it also displeases me that Gavin has struggled and that he has failed. But consider this: there is no contradiction in my pleasure and my displeasure. Instead they sit very neatly side by side and the one complements the other. And I am just a man. How much more complex must an infinite God be?

We cheat ourselves and God of something when we think of Him so simply. To me, it is no contradiction to say that God has ordained all things for his purposes, to say that He is not willing that any should perish and then to affirm Romans 9:20-23:

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

What say you?

8 thoughts on “Pleased and Displeased Without Contradiction”

  1. Charles,
    Wonderful insight. I have been impressed with your closing comments on the finite human mind attempting to explaind The Infinite. Is this even possible? I really like the comment on having a low view of God. This is something I have been attracted to A.W. Tozer about (see Knowledge of the Holy), as well John Piper in his book Desiring God. They both strongly challenge us that our actions are limited by our view of God and how limited we imagine and believe Him to be…
    Thanks for posting such great insights.

    David

  2. Charles,
    Wonderful insight. I have been impressed with your closing comments on the finite human mind attempting to explaind The Infinite. Is this even possible? I really like the comment on having a low view of God. This is something I have been attracted to A.W. Tozer about (see Knowledge of the Holy), as well John Piper in his book Desiring God. They both strongly challenge us that our actions are limited by our view of God and how limited we imagine and believe Him to be…
    Thanks for posting such great insights.

    David

  3. I’ve been thinking about this entry since you posted it. I think we humans tend toward an anthropomorphic view of God which limits our understanding. God is not Santa Claus but rather is so much more. I think we’ll be stunned when we realize that our perception of Him was not “all there.”

    Cheers.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this entry since you posted it. I think we humans tend toward an anthropomorphic view of God which limits our understanding. God is not Santa Claus but rather is so much more. I think we’ll be stunned when we realize that our perception of Him was not “all there.”

    Cheers.

  5. Senor Carne,
    What can I say? To paraphrase a man in the ER, “this blog has some good stuff in here”, and that’s probably pretty accurate when you consider the context it was said in 😉

    So how are you? Are you a doctor now, and if so what kind, and if you happen to specialize in something immediately useful to me, say something like pediatrics, can I have your cell phone number, because my kid has this cough and if you could just listen to it over the phone… I keed, I keed.

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by. It’s always good to hear from you.
    Wishing we could play just one more game of soccer…
    Charles

  6. Senor Carne,
    What can I say? To paraphrase a man in the ER, “this blog has some good stuff in here”, and that’s probably pretty accurate when you consider the context it was said in 😉

    So how are you? Are you a doctor now, and if so what kind, and if you happen to specialize in something immediately useful to me, say something like pediatrics, can I have your cell phone number, because my kid has this cough and if you could just listen to it over the phone… I keed, I keed.

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by. It’s always good to hear from you.
    Wishing we could play just one more game of soccer…
    Charles

  7. Randall,
    You made me think of one of my favorite bumper stickers: Stop anthropomorphizing the earth. She doesn’t like it when you do that!!

    Take care,
    Charles

  8. Randall,
    You made me think of one of my favorite bumper stickers: Stop anthropomorphizing the earth. She doesn’t like it when you do that!!

    Take care,
    Charles

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