Is there a problem with our language? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
What does Scripture mean by you? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
One of the great weaknesses of English can be our limited vocabulary. Consider that we have only oneword for love. A man can say he loves Jesus, his wife, his best friend, football, and pizza. He can be true in saying all of this and still mean something vastly different for each.
Another example is the word “you.” Here in the South, we have tried to correct this with the term, “Y’all.” (English was invented overseas, but we perfected it in the South.) Whatever you think of that term, it does clarify if you mean one person or a group of people.
So consider a passage like Philippians 1:6. In this, we read that He that began a good work in you will carry it to completion jn Christ Jesus. Readers who are more Calvinistic can see this as a statement on soteriology.
“See? When God begins His work in a man, He will bring it to completion. You are eternally secure.” Even those who hold to eternal security without going the way of Calvinism will use this to emphasize that.
However, that’s not what’s going on. This is about the church. The you refers not to an individual, but to the church as a whole. This doesn’t mean Calvinism and/or eternal security are false. It just means that this isn’t the right usage of the passage.
Now let’s go to the other side. In Philippians 2:12-13, we are told to work out your salvation in fear and trembling for it is God that works in you. At this, Arminians think they have a point.
“See? Your salvation isn’t secure. You have to work it all out.”
Unfortunately for them, it’s not the case again. This is the church needing to work out its own salvation. It’s not about individuals. This doesn’t mean Arminianism is true or false. It just means this isn’t the verse.
The problem is our culture is individualistic. We read the text as speaking to us as individuals, and sometimes it does, but we don’t need to assume that for a text. It requires work, but it’s worth it. It’s only looking at the word in the original language and/or careful study of the passage that can help us know what is meant.
Notice also that in all of this, no one viewpoint on soteriology was held to be true or false. I have my own opinions on that debate, but I choose to not enter into it. If anything, I chose this passage because that way I can’t be seen as going after one side and supporting another. I hold that both of them who use these passages use bad argumentation.
Next time you see you in the text, and I mean that individually now, check and see how it is used. Misread the text and you miss what God has for you in it and hold a false view instead.
(And I affirm the virgin birth.)