Agonizomai: 1 Cor 2:8 - Culpable but not Capable?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

1 Cor 2:8 - Culpable but not Capable?

8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The rulers of the nations (most notably Rome and Israel) at the time of the advent did not understand the secret decree of God that was fully unfolding in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. That might seem obvious. It might seem equally obvious that, had they understood, they would have desisted from the murder of the Son of God. But then, how could any one have been saved, had they acted thus?

If Christ had not died then who could be saved? There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved than that of Jesus, Who is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Christ had to die. It was ordained for Christ to die before anything was even made. God purposed it from eternity. Nevertheless, the slayers of Christ are culpable even though God ordained that they should act as they did. If you doubt this then a reading of Luke’s record {Ac 2:22-23,3:14-18} will quickly set you straight.

Peter, in the second of these passages confirms that these killers of Christ acted in ignorance. So they were innocent, right? No! Because he calls upon them to repent in the succeeding verses. And now we begin to see that God’s ways are not our ways. God’s standards and means are not what immediately springs to our mind. God is sovereign even over the wills of men, yet men are still culpable for their evil deeds. Men are unable, through powerlessness and through ignorance to do what is right in God’s eyes, yet God absolutely requires that all men repent regardless of their inability. And their ignorance does not excuse them.

How can this be? It can be because God has decreed it. It can be because man’s inability and ignorance is a moral inability, manifested in his will. Man does as he pleases - he simply is pleased always to choose the evil. He may have knowledge but he lacks the wisdom to properly apply that knowledge. Only God, who is omniscient, has perfect knowledge and only God has perfect love and power by which to apply that knowledge so that it is manifested as perfect wisdom. Would we be wise? Then we must do His will and not our own. Put another way, our will must become His will. We must be conformed to His will. And for this to happen we must be regenerated by God so that we may repent and believe Him.

This is why the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The rulers of the age had not the fear of God. They had not the fear because they were ignorant. But they were ignorant because they wished (willed) to be. Therefore they were culpable. Therefore, unless they repented they were liable to hell fire. They were already under condemnation and wrath WHEN they acted - not just because they acted.

My moniker - that's John Hancock to Americans


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