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The Parable of the Orange Pylons
Andy Bustanoby
(C) January 15, 2005

     A friend and I were sitting in my family room overlooking the
     beautiful bay in front of my house. We were discussing a knotty
     theological problem--predestination and foreknowledge. We were
     examining Romans 8:29.

     "Those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the
     likeness of his son . . ." (NIV).

     My friend ventured the opinion, "Some people say that this means God
     knew beforehand that we would accept Christ as Savior if presented
     the gospel, and on the basis of that foreknowledge, predestined us
     to be saved."

     "A common theological error," I replied. "How can blind people see?"

     "What do you mean?"

     "I mean what Paul says to the Corinthians: 'But if our gospel be
     hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world
     hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of
     the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine
     unto them'" (2 Cor. 4:3-4 KJV).

     "But what about foreknowledge? What did God foreknow?" he asked.

     I replied, "God foreknew what He was going to do, not what we were
     going to do. God knows that blind men can't see and that if anyone
     is going to be saved, the work must be His and His alone."

     I told him that in Acts 2 we have the definition of foreknowledge.
     Speaking of God's determination to send Jesus to save us, the writer
     says of Christ, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and
     foreknowledge of God, ye have taken . . . have crucified and slain"
     (Acts 2:23).

     There is a rule in Greek grammar* telling us that the words
     "determinate counsel" and "foreknowledge" are the same thing. I
     said, "God foreknew because He determined it would be. So it is with
     our salvation."

     As we looked out over the water, pondering this thought, I noticed a
     sailboat coming out of the marina.

     "Hey, look," I said. "We're going to have a sailboat race today."

     "How do you know that?" my friend asked.

     "See the three large orange pylons up on the bow under the jib? He's
     taking them out to mark the three legs of the race course."

     My friend looked and looked. Finally he got up out of his chair and
     went for a closer look. "I don't see any pylons on the bow of that
     boat," he said.

     "Look, right under the jib--the forward sail. Three large,
     inflatable, orange pylons."

     Again, he looked. Then he turned to me and said, "Did you say,
     orange pylons?" He shook his head. "I'm color blind to orange and
     green--I can't see a thing."

     A parable from Jesus couldn't have made the point clearer! On second
     thought, perhaps Jesus still is teaching in parables.

     *Granville Sharp rule

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