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Read the

Bondage of Will by Luther.

Read about the Theology of the Cross. Those will help you better understand how man's free will is bonded to sin and we cannot free ourselves.

Judas played his role and was dominated by the Devil. It says so even in the scriptures. The Devil does not let go of what he has easily. Judas resisted the grace that Christ gave him. Christ in his Humility (theological term of when Jesus was on Earth and was separated from his full divine powers) knew of the eternal Truth that Judas would betray given to him by God the Father through the Holy Spirit. This was preordained, however, Judas was not destined to damnation, that was his decision alone to be damned.

It is hard to explain. You cannot decide to be faithful in Christ (to do so is semi-plagianism aka theology of glory/decision), but you can resist grace. Lutherans acknowledge that the Scriptures support a 'single predestinationist' view, but this is hardly logical for the mortal mind. God is not limited to how humans think, thus Lutherans accept this on Faith Alone that we are the elect.

What Lutherans don't do is pretend we know what God is doing. We do not know what is behind the Cross, but only we look at the Cross. Even hard things like 'this was Judas' destiny'.

Also at the end of Genesis, Esau becomes a Christian again after fighting with his brother Jacob. There is no evidence that God continually hated Esau, but only hated Esau as he was an unrepentant sinner. When he repented, God forgave his iniquity. A touching story about forgiveness really. Again you ignore when Ezekiel clearly states that God desires that all be saved. The parable of the sower also states that one can lose faith. Grace is not irresistible, but in fact resistible.

Other Protestants like to pluck one verse about a topic and laud it over the other verses. I take everything in context as a whole. What does God desire, all to be saved. Are their 'vessels of wrath', yes, but God does not delight in their suffering which is also stated by Ezekiel. Taken in that context and the knowledge that Esau repented, we now know what that verse in Romans and in context with the rest of Romans actually means :), Good News, because we all deserve to be vessels of wrath.

May the LORD bless you and keep you
May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you
May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
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