There is a problem with “free will.” As a young believer growing up in the Calvary Chapel movement, I was taught that God created man with a free will, a hole in his heart made for God to fill, and the ability to choose eternal life or eternal damnation. I was taught that, while man was inherently evil, he was capable of pursuing God and accepting the gift of eternal life when it was presented or was revealed. I was also taught that once that had happened, it was important not to “backslide” as that could lead to a choice on the part of the sinning believer to relinquish his/her salvation.

In short – I was taught Arminian views on salvation. And it was wrong.

As my daughter lay dying in my arms in December of 2000, I had already been wrestling with the fact that my views on salvation didn’t hold much water when tested in Scripture. I had realized the previous couple years that verses in the Scriptures I’d used to justify my positions were woefully taken out of context, that election and God’s ultimate sovereignty were screaming out at me from Genesis, the Gospels, Romans, Hebrews, and other places in the Scriptures. But as life drained from my daughter and her body became lifeless, I was confronted with the most painful question a parent faces: where is her soul?

I received many books on the subject from concerned friends and family. All of them well-meaning but each taking Scripture grossly out of context to make their points. The worst one was “I’ll Hold You In Heaven” by Jack Hayford. Terrible book. It hit me: there is no Scriptural basis for my beliefs. My Arminian belief system was the result of human nature desperately reaching into the Scriptures trying to find what it wanted – control over our destiny. I found no comfort in it because I didn’t see it in Scripture.

I read phrases in the Scriptures like “…Jacob I have loved but Esau I have hated…” and “…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…” and a lightbulb went off. I don’t know where my daughter is. I don’t know if she is one of the elect. Adoption is based on the pleasure of His will – not my efforts or some mystical “age of accountability.” And I find solace in that. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to my family history, our choices, or even our daughters’. There is no magic “age of accountability” in the Scriptures but there is a God who loves us and may choose my daughter to honor me and my wife. Or He may not because He is God and I am not. Either way, I am grateful enough for my own election in spite of total depravity that I am no longer arrogant enough to tell God that He isn’t fair.

Many point to verses that suggest that God loved the “whole world” and desires that none perish.  I’m sure those verses mean what they say. It is rarely considered by typical American evangelicals, however, that John 3:16 is actually saying that because He sent His Son, every believer will not parish but have everlasting life. It is rarely considered by Arminian followers that the words “world” or “all” in John 3:16 et al. could be clarification that election is not only for the Jews (which was common thought at the time) but for the Gentile as well, the entire “world,” and for “all” types of peoples.

But this issue of free will and choice goes beyond salvation. It is an issue that separates Calvinists into camps as well. Although all with reformed theology (another world for calvinistic theology or Biblical theology :)) agree that God chooses some for justification, the question of how much choice we have
in our daily walk with Christ becomes burdensome.

Here are my thoughts on the subject as of now:

I believe that if God is truly sovereign and if there is a larger Story playing out, that He must direct at least some of our daily and major life decisions. I believe the Scriptures that say that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. It also says that good works were created before time in order for us to walk in them.

So I think the logical outworking of this doctrine is that sometimes I have a choice in what I wear on any given day, and sometimes God chooses for me. Sometimes I choose to take a different route to work. Sometimes He directs me. The mystery is when are your actions your own and when are they His working through and in you. How many times does a child really think he is steering the car the first time dad puts him on his lap to let him “drive?” I believe my job is to be so in tune with God that I am ready to make the right choices when the choice is truly mine to make.

I believe in something I call “Resonant Faith.” If I concentrate my efforts and my strength on resonating with God; getting to know Him, singing to Him, praying to Him, and learning about Him…if I practice gratefulness and faithfulness to Him, than the rest of life falls into place without much if any additional effort. Because if good works are already laid out for me as is stated in the Scriptures and if fruit grows on trees when it is their season, than my willingness to resonate with God is all I can do to prepare for those times. And in my depraved state, I can not do one thing to please Him or accomplish a good work without His action in my life anyway so if I’m not fully resonant with Him, I do everything for nothing.

Does this make sense? I am not advocating that we not living holy lives or live disciplined lives. It is, however, the focus on living holy lives and disciplined lives that lead to living pharisaical ones. If we focus on resonating with God through gratefulness and engagement, than living holy and disciplined lives requires little or no extra effort.

How does this work out in practice? Say a man struggles with pornography or drunkenness or arrogance. The believer has three choices: not deal with the sin, attack the problem and ask for God to give him/her the strength to overcome the stronghold in their life, or focus intensely on being more like Christ, asking for gratefulness, dying to self, and engaging God on the level of the heart knowing that this will diminish the desire for porn, alcohol, or pride. I believe striving to have the heart of God is far more effective at tackling a habitual sin than “trying hard” and asking God to push from behind. The former is dying to self. The latter is fighting for holiness.

The man who fight for discipline and holiness will open himself up to lies when he fails (God didn’t help me, I failed, I’m not going to win this, etc.) while the man who dies to himself and clings to God will have rest in his relationship with God and his depravity knowing that his heart is renewed and desires holiness. There is a security in attacking the problem from God down instead of from effort up.

Human nature strives after free will. A regenerated heart seeks to die to self. Daily death is better than fighting for life.

23 comments
  1. Great thoughts, Eric, and I love how you summed it all up in the second last para. A great reminder to me today as I, though a Calvinist, struggle to make it on my own instead of counting on His strength.

    Shalom.

  2. Great thoughts, Eric, and I love how you summed it all up in the second last para. A great reminder to me today as I, though a Calvinist, struggle to make it on my own instead of counting on His strength.

    Shalom.

  3. Eric, I appreciate your transparency in sharing the story of your daughter and the struggle you went through at the time.

    Great post, and I do agree that we need to “try” less and surrender more.

  4. Eric, I appreciate your transparency in sharing the story of your daughter and the struggle you went through at the time.

    Great post, and I do agree that we need to “try” less and surrender more.

  5. “Human nature strives after free will. A regenerated heart seeks to die to self. Daily death is better than fighting for life” (Eric)

    Then the question is – does the man choose his path (ie: to die to himself)? To me is seems quite clear – yes.

    I am not sure how much God is really in the plans of the believer’s choices. For example, I am a married man – did God choose my wife? I don’t think so – this is a choice left in my hands. What can I truly go by except my choices and decisions in the whole process to be with this woman?

    To say it’s a matter of God’s will also get’s into foreign territory.

    (a) Who is to say what God chooses for them? We are not God and we cannot make those determinations about what happens in God’s mind. To the best of our knowledge – we make the choices that suit our lives.

    (b) If God is making the choices – then it leaves a wide open door to subtle craziness to slip in also. We all know of Christians that live too much of an extreme in this regard – going by the idea of ‘waiting on God’. These same people seem to do some crazy things and eventually seem to disdain the original teachings in some regard. They leave a door open – which in turn can lead to ‘speaking for God’ – I am not sure that is very trustworthy either.

    To me, the simple answer is we have been given teachings concerning God’s passion for humanity…and we can choose to enact them or choose not to. Everything you do is predicated on choice – this is obvious. Tomorrow you can choose to do something different than today – it left in your hands.

    There is also a huge problem with this version of sovereignty.

    (a) If God is this much in control (ie: the decisions we make) – then He is in charge on a daily basis – true? Explain incidences like the holocaust in light of that theology. God directed that to happen or allowed it? Why? Or 2 world wars that wipe out chunks of humanity? Or the Sudan and Rwanda genocides?

    I guess I find it strange to proclaim this level of sovereignty of God. There is problems within it – but if we slide back to free will – humanity is responsible for its decisions (which puts the onus back on us). I prefer to be blamed for what I do – and not God to be blamed for that. If we go by decisions being directed by God then we are not sure what we are to blame for and God is to blame for (leaving responsibility a question mark).

  6. “Human nature strives after free will. A regenerated heart seeks to die to self. Daily death is better than fighting for life” (Eric)

    Then the question is – does the man choose his path (ie: to die to himself)? To me is seems quite clear – yes.

    I am not sure how much God is really in the plans of the believer’s choices. For example, I am a married man – did God choose my wife? I don’t think so – this is a choice left in my hands. What can I truly go by except my choices and decisions in the whole process to be with this woman?

    To say it’s a matter of God’s will also get’s into foreign territory.

    (a) Who is to say what God chooses for them? We are not God and we cannot make those determinations about what happens in God’s mind. To the best of our knowledge – we make the choices that suit our lives.

    (b) If God is making the choices – then it leaves a wide open door to subtle craziness to slip in also. We all know of Christians that live too much of an extreme in this regard – going by the idea of ‘waiting on God’. These same people seem to do some crazy things and eventually seem to disdain the original teachings in some regard. They leave a door open – which in turn can lead to ‘speaking for God’ – I am not sure that is very trustworthy either.

    To me, the simple answer is we have been given teachings concerning God’s passion for humanity…and we can choose to enact them or choose not to. Everything you do is predicated on choice – this is obvious. Tomorrow you can choose to do something different than today – it left in your hands.

    There is also a huge problem with this version of sovereignty.

    (a) If God is this much in control (ie: the decisions we make) – then He is in charge on a daily basis – true? Explain incidences like the holocaust in light of that theology. God directed that to happen or allowed it? Why? Or 2 world wars that wipe out chunks of humanity? Or the Sudan and Rwanda genocides?

    I guess I find it strange to proclaim this level of sovereignty of God. There is problems within it – but if we slide back to free will – humanity is responsible for its decisions (which puts the onus back on us). I prefer to be blamed for what I do – and not God to be blamed for that. If we go by decisions being directed by God then we are not sure what we are to blame for and God is to blame for (leaving responsibility a question mark).

  7. SocietyVs – your position on this issue is based almost soley on how you feel about it.

    I refuse to create doctrine or theology based on how I feel.

    Until you come to grips with the doctrine of “Total Depravity,” we are never going to be able to have an intelligent conversation on this subject.

    I’m not, by the way, saying that God makes every decision – only that He does step in and make things happen – even the little things – if it steers history in line with His greater Story. The mystery is that we never really know when the choice is ours or is being made for us. I doubt Pharaoh thought he was being manipulated by God when he wouldn’t let the people go.

  8. SocietyVs – your position on this issue is based almost soley on how you feel about it.

    I refuse to create doctrine or theology based on how I feel.

    Until you come to grips with the doctrine of “Total Depravity,” we are never going to be able to have an intelligent conversation on this subject.

    I’m not, by the way, saying that God makes every decision – only that He does step in and make things happen – even the little things – if it steers history in line with His greater Story. The mystery is that we never really know when the choice is ours or is being made for us. I doubt Pharaoh thought he was being manipulated by God when he wouldn’t let the people go.

  9. “your position on this issue is based almost soley on how you feel about it. I refuse to create doctrine or theology based on how I feel.” (Eric)

    (a) Good – neither do I
    (b) Cop-out
    (c) Are you kidding me Eric?

    Based on ‘how I feel’? If basing my theology on basic reality is basing it on the ‘way I feel’ – then I am sorry – I am only trying to be as honest as I can with my beliefs in God. You can say all you want about stuff you read in the bible – and construct some great idea concerning sovereignty (we all can do that) – but don’t pretend holding those ideas can go unchallenged by someone else in the faith when he see’s some flaws to the argument.

    (a) free will is an obvious reality – to deny that is to deny basic reality – are you denying that right now your response (or non-response) is not a product of your choice of what to write?

    (b) God’s sovereignty is at question here – and should not be suppressed because we think it’s an ‘untouchable subject’. We have the biblical record to guide us – but we also have to temper that record with our current living reality. That’s all I am doing – this has nothing to do with how I feel.

    “Until you come to grips with the doctrine of “Total Depravity,” we are never going to be able to have an intelligent conversation on this subject.” (Eric)

    I have – and I don’t believe we are all totally deprived. I think we all are born into this world as human beings with the ability to choose (yes, even kids make choices – albeit they are just learning how to use their human capabilities). But are we born sinners without any hope? Are we animals – worse – lower than animals? I just don’t believe that – I can see that we all have a condition of self that is a problem to the way we treat others (and us being selfish) – but is that total depravity? No.

    “The mystery is that we never really know when the choice is ours or is being made for us” (Eric)

    Like there is someone behind the scene pulling the strings and making all things fall into place? That’s an idea – but not one that is livable. Fact is, you know you make choices every day – and you reason them within your head on a daily basis. Do you think this is how God created us to be? If so, why does God not intervene in menial tasks of our life when we have been endued by Him already with those abilities?

    I am not saying God isn’t Sovereign – I believe He is – but I think He left the earth in our control and care. That’s why I raise the holocaust point – cause then God is quite a callous God if He knew this was going to happen – then allowed it – hardened some German’s hearts – next thing you know 6 million innocent Jewish people are dead (in some of the most horrific ways known to man). Big question on survivors minds the day they were released – ‘where was God’? I have to ask that same thing – I am free to ask it – I am not bound in some concentration camp (I can do this for those unfortunate souls) – and maybe this is what I see God requiring of me?

  10. “your position on this issue is based almost soley on how you feel about it. I refuse to create doctrine or theology based on how I feel.” (Eric)

    (a) Good – neither do I
    (b) Cop-out
    (c) Are you kidding me Eric?

    Based on ‘how I feel’? If basing my theology on basic reality is basing it on the ‘way I feel’ – then I am sorry – I am only trying to be as honest as I can with my beliefs in God. You can say all you want about stuff you read in the bible – and construct some great idea concerning sovereignty (we all can do that) – but don’t pretend holding those ideas can go unchallenged by someone else in the faith when he see’s some flaws to the argument.

    (a) free will is an obvious reality – to deny that is to deny basic reality – are you denying that right now your response (or non-response) is not a product of your choice of what to write?

    (b) God’s sovereignty is at question here – and should not be suppressed because we think it’s an ‘untouchable subject’. We have the biblical record to guide us – but we also have to temper that record with our current living reality. That’s all I am doing – this has nothing to do with how I feel.

    “Until you come to grips with the doctrine of “Total Depravity,” we are never going to be able to have an intelligent conversation on this subject.” (Eric)

    I have – and I don’t believe we are all totally deprived. I think we all are born into this world as human beings with the ability to choose (yes, even kids make choices – albeit they are just learning how to use their human capabilities). But are we born sinners without any hope? Are we animals – worse – lower than animals? I just don’t believe that – I can see that we all have a condition of self that is a problem to the way we treat others (and us being selfish) – but is that total depravity? No.

    “The mystery is that we never really know when the choice is ours or is being made for us” (Eric)

    Like there is someone behind the scene pulling the strings and making all things fall into place? That’s an idea – but not one that is livable. Fact is, you know you make choices every day – and you reason them within your head on a daily basis. Do you think this is how God created us to be? If so, why does God not intervene in menial tasks of our life when we have been endued by Him already with those abilities?

    I am not saying God isn’t Sovereign – I believe He is – but I think He left the earth in our control and care. That’s why I raise the holocaust point – cause then God is quite a callous God if He knew this was going to happen – then allowed it – hardened some German’s hearts – next thing you know 6 million innocent Jewish people are dead (in some of the most horrific ways known to man). Big question on survivors minds the day they were released – ‘where was God’? I have to ask that same thing – I am free to ask it – I am not bound in some concentration camp (I can do this for those unfortunate souls) – and maybe this is what I see God requiring of me?

  11. To say that the Holy Spirit works with the individual to convict them of sin to bring them to salvation is ludicrous IF they are incapable of doing anything, i.e. free will. It would be like me working with my son that has Down Syndrome to learn to drive a car. He can’t even cross the street without help.
    IF they are already CHOSEN, why must the HS work with them? IF they are already chosen they are already saved!
    Who is God “longsuffering” with? The Chosen ones? The ones he KNOWS will be saved? Ludicrous!
    (NKJV) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    (NASB) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
    (KJV) 2 Peter 3:9 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.
    (CEV) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
    (Darby) 2 Peter 3:9 [The] Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Who was it that said, “It is not man that seeks to draw nigh to God, or to satisfy Him by doing works that are pleasing to Him according to law?” I think there are numerous “strawmen” like this built by the “Chosen before the foundation” Group that those opposed to the notion never dreamed of saying. It is an effort to “draw” us into a discussion/argument that keeps us from the verses that negate their position. Make no mistake, there are very STRONG verses on both sides of this argument!!!
    Here are some verses that show the importance of the Holy Spirit doing a work in lives to bring them to a point where they CAN use their free will to believe:
    Luke 22:67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: Luke 24:11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. John 12:37 . But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: John 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? John 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

    Here is a verse that tells us that God foreknows who will be saved: John 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

    Here are some “window dressing” verses in scripture if man has no free will:

    Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. (Why didn’t Paul explain to the Jailer he didn’t have the capability of believing? That he didn’t have a free will to put into practise the verse given to him in answer to his question?)

    Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
    Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. [Amazing! Didn’t Jesus know this was impossible? The ruler didn’t have a “free will” to believe with!!!]
    Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
    Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
    Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
    John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
    John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
    John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
    John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
    John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
    John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins. [I’m beginning to wonder IF only the “chosen/elected” ones have a free will? Because this verse has to apply to them also!]
    John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
    John 12:44 . Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
    John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.
    John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
    Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
    Why were they called BELIEVERS if they had no free will with which to believe with? Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
    Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
    Romans 1:16 . For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
    Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    Romans 3:26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
    Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [Even Abraham had a “free will!”]
    Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    1 Cor 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
    Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
    And from one of their favorite chapters: Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
    1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
    1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
    1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
    1 John 5:10 . He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
    1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    Search Results for ‘believe’ – displayed 241 entries in the New Testament
    A close friend of mine once told me, “That is to say that of those He has chosen He has intervened to give them the gift of faith so that they themselves now can choose Christ.” What verse of scripture supports this contention?[btw, this seems like he was using “faith” as a replacement for “free will.”]

    I think I finally realize where the term “Free Will” originated from!
    Leviticus 22:18, 21, 22; 23:38; Numbers 15:3; 29:39; Deuteronomy 16:10; 23:23; 2 Chronicles 31:14; Ezra 3:5; 7:13, 16; 8:28; Psalms 119:108.
    And, finally: (KJV) Leviticus 1:1 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, [even] of the herd, and of the flock. 3 If his offering [be] a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
    Apparently the Children of Israel had a Free Will.:)

    I wonder if we could link Matthew 22: 1-14 with Ephesians 1:4.
    I was reading this chapter in my daily reading this morning and it seemed like I could see the connection more than ever.

    1 Jesus told them several other stories to illustrate the Kingdom. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 Many guests were invited, and when the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify everyone that it was time to come. But they all refused! 4 So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared, and choice meats have been cooked. Everything is ready. Hurry!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went about their business, one to his farm, another to his store. 6 Others seized his messengers and treated them shamefully, even killing some of them. 7 “Then the king became furious. He sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their city. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 “So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ And the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    I know they really love that last verse, but it seems a distinct possiblility that the “chosen before the foundation of the world,” was actually Israel, and that the Gentile nations were invited AFTER Israel rejected their Messiah.

    (KJV) Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”
    (New Living) Ephesians 1:4, “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

    btw, I note that in the passage in Eph 1, there is no mention of individuals. It only mentions we, us & children. To my way of thinking this is referring to a group.

  12. To say that the Holy Spirit works with the individual to convict them of sin to bring them to salvation is ludicrous IF they are incapable of doing anything, i.e. free will. It would be like me working with my son that has Down Syndrome to learn to drive a car. He can’t even cross the street without help.
    IF they are already CHOSEN, why must the HS work with them? IF they are already chosen they are already saved!
    Who is God “longsuffering” with? The Chosen ones? The ones he KNOWS will be saved? Ludicrous!
    (NKJV) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    (NASB) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
    (KJV) 2 Peter 3:9 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.
    (CEV) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
    (Darby) 2 Peter 3:9 [The] Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Who was it that said, “It is not man that seeks to draw nigh to God, or to satisfy Him by doing works that are pleasing to Him according to law?” I think there are numerous “strawmen” like this built by the “Chosen before the foundation” Group that those opposed to the notion never dreamed of saying. It is an effort to “draw” us into a discussion/argument that keeps us from the verses that negate their position. Make no mistake, there are very STRONG verses on both sides of this argument!!!
    Here are some verses that show the importance of the Holy Spirit doing a work in lives to bring them to a point where they CAN use their free will to believe:
    Luke 22:67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: Luke 24:11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. John 12:37 . But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: John 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? John 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

    Here is a verse that tells us that God foreknows who will be saved: John 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

    Here are some “window dressing” verses in scripture if man has no free will:

    Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. (Why didn’t Paul explain to the Jailer he didn’t have the capability of believing? That he didn’t have a free will to put into practise the verse given to him in answer to his question?)

    Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
    Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. [Amazing! Didn’t Jesus know this was impossible? The ruler didn’t have a “free will” to believe with!!!]
    Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
    Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
    Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
    John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
    John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
    John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
    John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
    John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
    John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
    John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins. [I’m beginning to wonder IF only the “chosen/elected” ones have a free will? Because this verse has to apply to them also!]
    John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
    John 12:44 . Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
    John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.
    John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
    Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
    Why were they called BELIEVERS if they had no free will with which to believe with? Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
    Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
    Romans 1:16 . For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
    Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    Romans 3:26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
    Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [Even Abraham had a “free will!”]
    Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    1 Cor 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
    Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
    And from one of their favorite chapters: Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
    1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
    1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
    1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
    1 John 5:10 . He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
    1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    Search Results for ‘believe’ – displayed 241 entries in the New Testament
    A close friend of mine once told me, “That is to say that of those He has chosen He has intervened to give them the gift of faith so that they themselves now can choose Christ.” What verse of scripture supports this contention?[btw, this seems like he was using “faith” as a replacement for “free will.”]

    I think I finally realize where the term “Free Will” originated from!
    Leviticus 22:18, 21, 22; 23:38; Numbers 15:3; 29:39; Deuteronomy 16:10; 23:23; 2 Chronicles 31:14; Ezra 3:5; 7:13, 16; 8:28; Psalms 119:108.
    And, finally: (KJV) Leviticus 1:1 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, [even] of the herd, and of the flock. 3 If his offering [be] a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
    Apparently the Children of Israel had a Free Will.:)

    I wonder if we could link Matthew 22: 1-14 with Ephesians 1:4.
    I was reading this chapter in my daily reading this morning and it seemed like I could see the connection more than ever.

    1 Jesus told them several other stories to illustrate the Kingdom. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 Many guests were invited, and when the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify everyone that it was time to come. But they all refused! 4 So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared, and choice meats have been cooked. Everything is ready. Hurry!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went about their business, one to his farm, another to his store. 6 Others seized his messengers and treated them shamefully, even killing some of them. 7 “Then the king became furious. He sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their city. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 “So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ And the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    I know they really love that last verse, but it seems a distinct possiblility that the “chosen before the foundation of the world,” was actually Israel, and that the Gentile nations were invited AFTER Israel rejected their Messiah.

    (KJV) Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”
    (New Living) Ephesians 1:4, “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

    btw, I note that in the passage in Eph 1, there is no mention of individuals. It only mentions we, us & children. To my way of thinking this is referring to a group.

  13. This wasn’t written my me but by someone that I highly esteem that is an Elder in a Plymouth Brethren Assembly in Florida that I used to be a member of.

    ELECTION, PREDESTINATION, GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND MAN’S FREE WILL

    ELECTION:

    When man places his faith in the finished work of Christ–His death as
    payment for our sin, His burial and Resurrection–or when man believes the
    Gospel, he is placed in union with Jesus Christ. Thus sharing all that Christ
    is and has.

    This includes Christ’s Election 1 Peter 2:6. (mine elect)–and Christ’s
    destiny Eph. 1:5 (by Jesus Christ we are placed as son’s in God’s family
    having a destiny planned beforehand.)

    Christ is chosen – Isa. 41.1, 1 Per. 2:6. We choose Christ–free will:
    Rev. 22:17.

    Because we are then IN Christ (Eph. 1:4) we are Chosen in Him. We share
    everything he has–this includes His destiny.

    KEY VERSE: 2 Thes. 2:13b “because God has from the beginning Chosen you to Salvation thru Sanctification of the Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 14) and belief of the Truth.”

    Man believes–then he is Chosen, Indwelt by the Holy Spirit, shares
    Christ’s life (1 John 5:11, 12), His Righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), His Sonship
    (Gal. 3:26 – Jn. 1:12) His Priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5-9), His Heirship (Rom. 8:16,
    17), His Sanctification (1 Cor. 1:2), His Election (1 Pet. 1:2, Eph. 1:4), His
    Destiny (Eph. 1:5, 11).

    Jesus Christ is the Elected One–Man shares this election by choice. From
    eternity Past man is Chosen IN Christ. Chosen in Christ is God’s plan for
    mankind. Anyone can enter God’s plan of Salvation by Faith–hence, ALL
    members of the human race are potentially elected. The “whosoever wills” are the elect. The “whosoever won’ts” are the non-elect.

    We choose Christ by Faith–which is simply believing. Faith is not given to
    some, and withheld to others. The ability to believe is common to all mankind (the synonyms for Faith are looking, eating, drinking, Num 21:8; John 6:54).

    Faith in itself is just a system of perception that we all possess. It is the
    object of Faith that saves–it is not “believe on Buddha, or Mohammed”, but,
    “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

    Eph. 2:8,9 “For by Grace are ye saved thru Faith; and that not of yourselves;
    it is the Gift of Fod: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Dr. Kenneth
    Wuest in Nuggets from the Greek translates it thus–dispelling forever the
    idea that it is faith that is the gift–Salvation is the gift! ! “For by the
    grace have you been saved in times past completely through Faith (feminine
    gender) with the result that your salvation persists through present time; and
    this (touto Gr. Neuter gender) {i.e. Salvation} is not from you as a source,
    of God it is the gift; not from a source of works, in order that no one might
    boast. Salvation by faith is the gift.

    PREDESTINATION:

    The omniscient God knew and designed a perfect plan before the world began.

    Jesus Christ is the focal point of the plan.

    Election is a place in the plan. A person enters the plan when he believes in
    the Lord Jesus Christ; then shares all that Christ is and has, including His
    destiny. So predestination applies to believers only. We are predestined to
    be conformed to the image of God’s Son. Rom. 8:29. The unbeliever is not
    predestined to Hell. He chooses his destiny. Christ died for everyone. If
    anyone goes to hell, he goes there because in his free will, he has operated
    independently of God’s will for him. (2 Per. 3:9), and of God’s provision for
    him-(the cross).

    FOREKNOWLEDGE:

    Foreknowledge is God’s omniscience in operation.

    God has always known everything. (Col. 2:3; 2 Tim. 2:19). God does not
    coerce or influence man’s free will. God foreknew what every free will would
    decide at any given point in time. Since God knew what every free will would
    decide, He makes Rom. 8:28 work in the life of every believer.

    SOVEREIGNTY:

    God is sovereign. He has a will. He is Eternal, infinite, self-determining
    (Dan. 4:35; Deut. 4:39; 1 Chron. 29:12; Job 9:12; Psa. 47:2; 83:18; 93:1;
    135:6; Acts 17:34; 2 Chron. 20:8) He makes decisions, policies, sets up
    principles. This is Divine Volition.

    God is also Omniscient–He has all knowledge. There was never a time when He did not know everything that would ever happen. (Job 26:6; 31:4; 34:21; Psa. 147:5; Heb. 413; 1 John 3:20; Prov. 15:5)

    The triune God–in Eternity Past planned a plan. GRACE. This is called the
    Doctrine of Eternal Decrees. The Lord Jesus Christ–the 2nd member of the
    Trinity–was Elected in Eternity Past to be the executor of the Plan–(to
    Create-to sustain-to Save and to have a Kingdom. God the Father called Jesus Christ “my servant’–“mine elect” (Isa. 42:1; 1 Peter 2:65)

    Jesus Christ is the only one elected from Eternity Past.

    Because of the Doctrine of Unlimited Atonement (Christ died for the
    ungodly–for God so loved the world etc.) all members of the human race are
    potentially elected. (1 John 2:2; 2 Pet. 2:1; Psa. 89:14; Rom. 3:26)

    God cannot be unfair, nor unrighteous, nor unjust–(Psa. 145:17; 18:30; Deut.
    32:4; 2 Chron. 19:7; Psa. 89:14; Rom. 3:26)

    God is not willing for anyone to perish–2 Pet. 3:9. Rom. 10:13 says whoever
    shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. So He gives the whole
    world a Choice–not just certain individuals. But doesn’t John 6:44 say, “no
    man can come except the Father draw him”? Yes, but John 6:64, 65 explains
    what Jesus meant when He said that–and in John 12:32 Jesus says “And I if I
    be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    ***************************************************************

    ELECTION IN BALANCE

    The following verses of scripture demonstrate that God’s Love, Light, Mercy, Will (desire), Provision, Command, and Invitation go out to all men to be saved. From the perspective of the unsaved, the good news of the gospel is a bonafide offer to ALL.

    1. GOD LOVES ALL (Jn 3:16) “For God so loved the world..”

    2. GOD’S MERCY IS TO ALL (Rom. 11:32) “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”

    3. GOD GIVES LIGHT TO EVERY MAN (Jn 1:9) “That (Jesus Christ) was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

    4. GOD’S WILL (DESIRE) IS FOR ALL MEN TO BE SAVED (1 Tim 2:4) “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the
    truth.”

    5. GOD IS NOT WILLING (DESIROUS) THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH (2 Pet.3:9) “The Lord….is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any
    should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    6. GOD PROVIDED A RANSOM FOR ALL (1 Tim. 2:6) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

    7. GOD THROUGH CHRIST HIS LAMB TOOK AWAY THE WORLD’S SIN (Jn 1:29) “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
    world.”

    8. GOD SENT CHRIST TO BE THE PROPITIATION (SATISFACTION) FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLD WORLD (1 John 2:2) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”

    9. GOD SENT HIS SON TO TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN (Heb. 2:9) “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

    10. GOD COMMANDS ALL MEN TO REPENT (Acts 17:30) “but now (God) commandeth all men every where to repent.”

    11. GOD INVITES WHOSOEVER WILL TO COME (Rev. 22:17) “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come….And whosoever will, let him take the
    water of life freely.”

    12. GOD THROUGH CHRIST COMMANDS THAT THE GOSPEL BE
    PREACHED TO EVERY CREATURE (MAN) (Mk.16:15) “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    13. GOD SENT JOHN THAT THROUGH CHRIST ALL MEN MIGHT BELIEVE (Jn. 1:7) “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the
    LIght, that all men through him might believe.”

    14. GOD GAVE CHRIST THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD (Jn. 6:51) “and the bread that I will give is my flesh,
    which I will give for the life of the world.”

    15. GOD SENT HIS SON TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THE LOST. SINCE ALL ARE LOST, CHRIST HAS COME TO SEEK AND SAVE ALL (Lk. 19:10) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    16. GOD IS CALLED THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN (1 Tim. 4:10) “God who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”

    17. GOD’S GRACE HATH APPEARED TO ALL MEN (Titus 2:11) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men…”

    18. GOD LAID THE INIQUITY OF US ALL ON CHRIST (Isa. 53:6) “and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

    19. GOD SENT CHRIST TO DIE FOR THE UNGODLY OF WHICH ALL MEN ARE (Rom. 5:6) “Christ died for the ungodly.”

    20. GOD’S FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS EXTENDED TO ALL MEN (Rom. 5:18) “even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came
    upon all men unto the justification of life.”

  14. This wasn’t written my me but by someone that I highly esteem that is an Elder in a Plymouth Brethren Assembly in Florida that I used to be a member of.

    ELECTION, PREDESTINATION, GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND MAN’S FREE WILL

    ELECTION:

    When man places his faith in the finished work of Christ–His death as
    payment for our sin, His burial and Resurrection–or when man believes the
    Gospel, he is placed in union with Jesus Christ. Thus sharing all that Christ
    is and has.

    This includes Christ’s Election 1 Peter 2:6. (mine elect)–and Christ’s
    destiny Eph. 1:5 (by Jesus Christ we are placed as son’s in God’s family
    having a destiny planned beforehand.)

    Christ is chosen – Isa. 41.1, 1 Per. 2:6. We choose Christ–free will:
    Rev. 22:17.

    Because we are then IN Christ (Eph. 1:4) we are Chosen in Him. We share
    everything he has–this includes His destiny.

    KEY VERSE: 2 Thes. 2:13b “because God has from the beginning Chosen you to Salvation thru Sanctification of the Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 14) and belief of the Truth.”

    Man believes–then he is Chosen, Indwelt by the Holy Spirit, shares
    Christ’s life (1 John 5:11, 12), His Righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), His Sonship
    (Gal. 3:26 – Jn. 1:12) His Priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5-9), His Heirship (Rom. 8:16,
    17), His Sanctification (1 Cor. 1:2), His Election (1 Pet. 1:2, Eph. 1:4), His
    Destiny (Eph. 1:5, 11).

    Jesus Christ is the Elected One–Man shares this election by choice. From
    eternity Past man is Chosen IN Christ. Chosen in Christ is God’s plan for
    mankind. Anyone can enter God’s plan of Salvation by Faith–hence, ALL
    members of the human race are potentially elected. The “whosoever wills” are the elect. The “whosoever won’ts” are the non-elect.

    We choose Christ by Faith–which is simply believing. Faith is not given to
    some, and withheld to others. The ability to believe is common to all mankind (the synonyms for Faith are looking, eating, drinking, Num 21:8; John 6:54).

    Faith in itself is just a system of perception that we all possess. It is the
    object of Faith that saves–it is not “believe on Buddha, or Mohammed”, but,
    “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

    Eph. 2:8,9 “For by Grace are ye saved thru Faith; and that not of yourselves;
    it is the Gift of Fod: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Dr. Kenneth
    Wuest in Nuggets from the Greek translates it thus–dispelling forever the
    idea that it is faith that is the gift–Salvation is the gift! ! “For by the
    grace have you been saved in times past completely through Faith (feminine
    gender) with the result that your salvation persists through present time; and
    this (touto Gr. Neuter gender) {i.e. Salvation} is not from you as a source,
    of God it is the gift; not from a source of works, in order that no one might
    boast. Salvation by faith is the gift.

    PREDESTINATION:

    The omniscient God knew and designed a perfect plan before the world began.

    Jesus Christ is the focal point of the plan.

    Election is a place in the plan. A person enters the plan when he believes in
    the Lord Jesus Christ; then shares all that Christ is and has, including His
    destiny. So predestination applies to believers only. We are predestined to
    be conformed to the image of God’s Son. Rom. 8:29. The unbeliever is not
    predestined to Hell. He chooses his destiny. Christ died for everyone. If
    anyone goes to hell, he goes there because in his free will, he has operated
    independently of God’s will for him. (2 Per. 3:9), and of God’s provision for
    him-(the cross).

    FOREKNOWLEDGE:

    Foreknowledge is God’s omniscience in operation.

    God has always known everything. (Col. 2:3; 2 Tim. 2:19). God does not
    coerce or influence man’s free will. God foreknew what every free will would
    decide at any given point in time. Since God knew what every free will would
    decide, He makes Rom. 8:28 work in the life of every believer.

    SOVEREIGNTY:

    God is sovereign. He has a will. He is Eternal, infinite, self-determining
    (Dan. 4:35; Deut. 4:39; 1 Chron. 29:12; Job 9:12; Psa. 47:2; 83:18; 93:1;
    135:6; Acts 17:34; 2 Chron. 20:8) He makes decisions, policies, sets up
    principles. This is Divine Volition.

    God is also Omniscient–He has all knowledge. There was never a time when He did not know everything that would ever happen. (Job 26:6; 31:4; 34:21; Psa. 147:5; Heb. 413; 1 John 3:20; Prov. 15:5)

    The triune God–in Eternity Past planned a plan. GRACE. This is called the
    Doctrine of Eternal Decrees. The Lord Jesus Christ–the 2nd member of the
    Trinity–was Elected in Eternity Past to be the executor of the Plan–(to
    Create-to sustain-to Save and to have a Kingdom. God the Father called Jesus Christ “my servant’–“mine elect” (Isa. 42:1; 1 Peter 2:65)

    Jesus Christ is the only one elected from Eternity Past.

    Because of the Doctrine of Unlimited Atonement (Christ died for the
    ungodly–for God so loved the world etc.) all members of the human race are
    potentially elected. (1 John 2:2; 2 Pet. 2:1; Psa. 89:14; Rom. 3:26)

    God cannot be unfair, nor unrighteous, nor unjust–(Psa. 145:17; 18:30; Deut.
    32:4; 2 Chron. 19:7; Psa. 89:14; Rom. 3:26)

    God is not willing for anyone to perish–2 Pet. 3:9. Rom. 10:13 says whoever
    shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. So He gives the whole
    world a Choice–not just certain individuals. But doesn’t John 6:44 say, “no
    man can come except the Father draw him”? Yes, but John 6:64, 65 explains
    what Jesus meant when He said that–and in John 12:32 Jesus says “And I if I
    be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    ***************************************************************

    ELECTION IN BALANCE

    The following verses of scripture demonstrate that God’s Love, Light, Mercy, Will (desire), Provision, Command, and Invitation go out to all men to be saved. From the perspective of the unsaved, the good news of the gospel is a bonafide offer to ALL.

    1. GOD LOVES ALL (Jn 3:16) “For God so loved the world..”

    2. GOD’S MERCY IS TO ALL (Rom. 11:32) “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”

    3. GOD GIVES LIGHT TO EVERY MAN (Jn 1:9) “That (Jesus Christ) was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

    4. GOD’S WILL (DESIRE) IS FOR ALL MEN TO BE SAVED (1 Tim 2:4) “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the
    truth.”

    5. GOD IS NOT WILLING (DESIROUS) THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH (2 Pet.3:9) “The Lord….is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any
    should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    6. GOD PROVIDED A RANSOM FOR ALL (1 Tim. 2:6) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

    7. GOD THROUGH CHRIST HIS LAMB TOOK AWAY THE WORLD’S SIN (Jn 1:29) “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
    world.”

    8. GOD SENT CHRIST TO BE THE PROPITIATION (SATISFACTION) FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLD WORLD (1 John 2:2) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”

    9. GOD SENT HIS SON TO TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN (Heb. 2:9) “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

    10. GOD COMMANDS ALL MEN TO REPENT (Acts 17:30) “but now (God) commandeth all men every where to repent.”

    11. GOD INVITES WHOSOEVER WILL TO COME (Rev. 22:17) “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come….And whosoever will, let him take the
    water of life freely.”

    12. GOD THROUGH CHRIST COMMANDS THAT THE GOSPEL BE
    PREACHED TO EVERY CREATURE (MAN) (Mk.16:15) “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    13. GOD SENT JOHN THAT THROUGH CHRIST ALL MEN MIGHT BELIEVE (Jn. 1:7) “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the
    LIght, that all men through him might believe.”

    14. GOD GAVE CHRIST THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD (Jn. 6:51) “and the bread that I will give is my flesh,
    which I will give for the life of the world.”

    15. GOD SENT HIS SON TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THE LOST. SINCE ALL ARE LOST, CHRIST HAS COME TO SEEK AND SAVE ALL (Lk. 19:10) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    16. GOD IS CALLED THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN (1 Tim. 4:10) “God who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”

    17. GOD’S GRACE HATH APPEARED TO ALL MEN (Titus 2:11) “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men…”

    18. GOD LAID THE INIQUITY OF US ALL ON CHRIST (Isa. 53:6) “and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

    19. GOD SENT CHRIST TO DIE FOR THE UNGODLY OF WHICH ALL MEN ARE (Rom. 5:6) “Christ died for the ungodly.”

    20. GOD’S FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS EXTENDED TO ALL MEN (Rom. 5:18) “even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came
    upon all men unto the justification of life.”

  15. Don,

    I recently did a post on salvation – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?p=1229.

    Basically I see the order this way: election, regeneration/calling, then belief.

    I don’t think election and God’s sovereignty can be understood outside of man’s depravity – my position on that can be found here – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?p=1203.

    Ephesians 2:1 – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked.” You can read through v. 10, but the gist of my point is – how dead is dead? Totally dead? Partially dead?

    Mark Webb offered a helpful anecdote that I’ve used when I’ve taught on election:

    “After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of sovereign grace, I asked for questions from the class. One lady, in particular, was quite troubled. She said, “This is the most awful thing I’ve ever heard! You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men who would be saved, receiving only the elect.” I answered her in this vein. “You misunderstand the situation. You’re visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, ‘Yes, you may come, but not you, or you, or you…’ The situation is hardly this. Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with his arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction towards hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams.” That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn’t it?

    If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault. But if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely his work! To him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of
    grace from start to finish!”

    We could also discuss the atonement and the word propitiation – which is an excellent word – that’ll have to be a blog post in and of itself.

  16. Don,

    I recently did a post on salvation – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?p=1229.

    Basically I see the order this way: election, regeneration/calling, then belief.

    I don’t think election and God’s sovereignty can be understood outside of man’s depravity – my position on that can be found here – http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?p=1203.

    Ephesians 2:1 – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked.” You can read through v. 10, but the gist of my point is – how dead is dead? Totally dead? Partially dead?

    Mark Webb offered a helpful anecdote that I’ve used when I’ve taught on election:

    “After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of sovereign grace, I asked for questions from the class. One lady, in particular, was quite troubled. She said, “This is the most awful thing I’ve ever heard! You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men who would be saved, receiving only the elect.” I answered her in this vein. “You misunderstand the situation. You’re visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, ‘Yes, you may come, but not you, or you, or you…’ The situation is hardly this. Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with his arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction towards hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams.” That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn’t it?

    If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault. But if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely his work! To him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of
    grace from start to finish!”

    We could also discuss the atonement and the word propitiation – which is an excellent word – that’ll have to be a blog post in and of itself.

  17. Great response, Shane! I think our friends are confusing the cognitive abilities they have to make choices and function on a daily basis with the ability to choose to love and serve God, or to “do good” as the Scriptures put it.

    Once we are “saved” and God has given us a new heart, I think our ability to choose to do good dramatically increases because we are one of His children. But even then, there are times when God intercedes in our lives and we may not know it.

    I used to use all those arguments. I won’t call your arguments ludicrous, though, Don. Wouldn’t be respectful.

  18. Great response, Shane! I think our friends are confusing the cognitive abilities they have to make choices and function on a daily basis with the ability to choose to love and serve God, or to “do good” as the Scriptures put it.

    Once we are “saved” and God has given us a new heart, I think our ability to choose to do good dramatically increases because we are one of His children. But even then, there are times when God intercedes in our lives and we may not know it.

    I used to use all those arguments. I won’t call your arguments ludicrous, though, Don. Wouldn’t be respectful.

  19. Amazingly said. I believe that when we choose to accept Christ – we surrender our “free will”. I don’t want it – it only brings me trouble. It’s also a good way of justifying whatever you want to do. Great job, I’m going to have to pass this post along.

  20. Amazingly said. I believe that when we choose to accept Christ – we surrender our “free will”. I don’t want it – it only brings me trouble. It’s also a good way of justifying whatever you want to do. Great job, I’m going to have to pass this post along.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Podcast: The Road Less Traveled (Matthew 7:13-20)

Jesus says we are to take the narrow road, (Matthew 7:13).  What…

The One Thing We Need: A God-Fearing Nation

  After the horrific killings in Newtown, a lot of conversation has…

Jesus on Jesus (Part 2)

Picking up from part 1.  Mark Driscoll in addressing the question of…

Chuck Colson (1931-2012)

Evangelicals lost a respected influential voice today.  Chuck Colson, an author, evangelist,…