Some Scriptural answers to free-will assertions

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by npetreley, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. npetreley

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    Oct 20, 2002
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    Here are some Scriptural answers to many of the free-will assertions I see being made repeated on this board. I do not mean to misrepresent the assertions of free-will advocates, but these are the assertions as I perceive them. Feel free to correct any of them. I apologize for quoting so much of Scripture, but I want to make sure everyone see the entire context.

    1. The reason God gave us free will is so that we would love Him of our own free will. He doesn't put our love for Him in our hearts.

    2. To be commanded to choose means we must have the free will to comply, because God would never "set us up" by telling us to do something beyond our power.

    3. If one is blind or deaf to the Gospel, it is self-inflicted. God never blinds one to the Gospel.

    4. God reveals Himself to all people to give everyone the fair opportunity to know Him.

    5. We choose Jesus first, then we become the chosen.

    6. God created us with the ability to come to and choose Jesus of our own free will.

    7. Here's a virtual cornucopia of answers to the free-will assertions all in one section of Isaiah.

    a. As part of the argument as to why Acts 13:48 should read "as many as were disposed to eternal life", the word for "ordained" is also used to mean that God arranges leaders, but doesn't appoint them.

    b. God only works in the hearts of the elect. (I haven't seen this argument on this board, but I've seen it before.)

    c. We can confidently say that we know enough about God's character that our assumptions about what is fair and what a loving God would do
    must be correct.


  2. KenH

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    May 18, 2002
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    Great, great post. [​IMG]

    A Spurgeonite :cool:
  3. BobRyan

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    Aug 27, 2002
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    These are all good texts - unfortunately you are not formating them in a way that opposes the Arminian point of view.

    Arminians do not object to God being the source of love as we find it in scripture.

    We do not deny that God commands us to do what can only be done IN Christ.

    We simply INSIST that God DOES "DRAW ALL MEN UNTO HIM" and we INSIST that "HE is not willing for ANY to Perish but that ALL come to repentance"> We INSIST that He really "SO LOVED the WORLD" and we INSIST that "HE Stands at the DOOR and KNOCKS" such that ONLY by OPENING the DOOR does He "COME IN".

    NONE of that is made void IF God is the source of all love. None of that is made void IF that DRAWING of God leads to ENABLED obedience and enabled Love.

    By having the DRAWING apply to ALL - EVEN Calvinism has a problem not having ALL then LOVE God.

    The ARGUMENT is not WHY are SOME able to LOVE God if ARminianism is true - the Argument in Calvinisms view of the DRAWING is WHy are not ALL loving God IF the Arminian view is correct that ALL are drawn.

    You are missing the point of difference.

    In Christ,

  4. Yelsew

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    It's God's creation. He set the stage for man. He has already provided the choices. He set man in the midst of his creation with an ability to choose from among the provided choices. All men must choose!

    There are no options that God has not already established. Therefore like any good suspense novel, the characters (us) must stick with what is between the covers. We must behave within the boundaries of the story, not having choices beyond those boundaries. We are given much knowledge upon which to make our choices. We can act as we see fit within those constraints, and our choices determine the destiny of our character.

    There are two main themes in the story, good and evil. We must make our choices based on those themes and the knowledge provided for each.

    There are two destiny's for our individual character. Heaven with Jesus, the author of Good; or hell with Satan, the lord of evil.

    The author of this novel determined before the book was published that all are elected to this story, and that all must be tried in the same manner with the same knowledge and the same choices. Thereby determining those who would spend eternity with Him or, to be discarded into the lake of fire to perish. The author truly gave us the choice of our own destiny.

    Choose you this day whom you will serve!
  5. Helen

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    Aug 29, 2001
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    Let’s put the verses from the lead post here back in context.

    For instance, Deuteronomy 30:6 follows verses 1-5. Here is Deuteronomy 30:6 in context. I have put a little in caps which indicates that the verse as quoted above is not meaning what the author of the post would like it to mean:
    When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and WHEN YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN RETURN TO THE LORD YOUR GOD AND OBEY HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL ACCORDING TO EVERYHING I COMMAND YOU TODAY, THEN THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RESTORE YOUR FORTUNES AND HAVE COMPASSION ON YOU and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

    In other words, all that follows returning to the Lord and obeying Him…
    Regarding the quote in 1 John 4, when it starts with “LET US LOVE one another” this is obviously something that can be done or not done, or it would not be requested. The fact that we can only obey this when we are born again is not the issue. The issue is that we can choose even then to love or not love. But it is for sure we cannot love without knowing God’s love first – at least not with a godly love. I will say, though, that I have seen some non-Christians who are much more devoted to spouse and family than a good many Christians I have seen. So it certainly is not a matter of only Christians being able to love to ANY degree. It is just that we cannot love to the degree or with the kind of love that God is wanting from us until we have His love in our hearts (i.e. have been born again.)

    As was noted, interestingly, Deut. 30:19-20 is a plea to CHOOSE life, SO THAT they may love God and listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.

    The following verses quoted from Deut. 31 are prophecy about what will happen. This does not negate the plea to the people to choose life. They cannot do anything to please God if they do not make that choice, but that choice is what they can and must do if they want to love and obey God.

    The verse used from Deut. 29:4 also is not saying what the person posting it is implying.
    Here it is in context:
    These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab. In addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.
    Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to the:
    “Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

    In other words, although they may not understand the spiritual implications of what they have seen, they are still expected, on the basis of the miracles witnessed, to know that the Lord is the one responsible for all of it. To pull that middle sentence out of the entire speech (which actually continues and I encourage folk to read it), is simply not right and is misrepresenting what is being said by God.

    The Romans 11 reference is to this section of Deuteronomy, and needs to be read in that context. I might also be noted that in verse 2 of chapter 11, God ‘foreknew’ but is not mentioned as ‘predestinating.’

    Matthew 11: 25-26 was then quoted. Here is it, because there is something to note about it:
    25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

    revealed to little children! Not just elect little children, however. Just ‘little children.’ And what is it that was revealed to them? Well, the section regarding Korazin and Bethsaida rejecting the miracles of Christ is the immediately preceding passage. Before that there is a mention of children when Jesus likens ‘this generation’ to children sitting in a marketplace.

    But even more interesting is what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 18: ”I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And who ever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea….See that you do not look down on these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

    Thus, the wise and learned are being contrasted over and over again to little children. Paul also deals with this in 1 Corinthians 1.

    But let’s go back to that verse quoted from Matthew 11.

    Things hidden from the wise and learned – there goes quoting all those famous theologians! So let’s just stick with Bible.

    Revealed to little children – they take things at face value. So I will, too. And, a few verses after the quoted material, when Jesus says, ”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – then I will assume He meant exactly what He said, and that anyone who feels burdened (and perhaps by the ‘wise and learned’?) is welcome to go to Jesus and is, in fact, being summoned by Him.
    But is it only the elect who are burdened? I have asked this before and never received a response.

    And because verse 27 immediately precedes the “Come to me…”, there is the indication that Jesus will reveal the Father to those who come to Him. Else why would Jesus say, immediately after saying that “no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…”?

    One following immediately on the other is certainly not an accident!

    The Ephesians 1:4-6 (and beyond) reference is NOT saying anything about people being predestined, but that God chose those of us who are in Him to become completed, or holy and blameless in His sight. Believers were predestined to become adopted, not people were predestined to become believers! Why are these verses consistently twisted to try to get them to say what they are not saying?

    As for the next quote, which I am repeating here, please note what I capitalized:

    11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ WHEN YOU HEARD the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. HAVING BELIEVED, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

    In other words, they were not included in Christ UNTIL they heard the word of truth and believed it!

    Again and again, PLEASE put ‘proof’ verses in context!

    I have left John 6 only in italics so that the original post’s bold will show, but I have also capitalized a couple of other phrases which need to be noted:

    35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. HE WHO COMES TO ME shall never hunger, and HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 AND THIS IS THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME, THAT EVERYONE WHO SEES THE SON AND BELIEVES IN HIM MAY HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE; and I will raise him up at the last day."

    In other words, there appears to be a mutuality here. It is not OF man, but man is given a role he is allowed to play. The role of ‘coming’ to Jesus and ‘believing’, as stated above and in accordance with Jesus’ invitation to come to Him in Matthew 11, previously discussed.

    John 15 reference about ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you” has to do with who would be disciples in the original group, not who would be believers. His choices are documented in the Gospels themselves.

    The fact that no one can come to Jesus unless it has been granted to him by the Father is the closing line of that long section of John 6 and should NOT be taken out of context. But, again, it is also in that verse that Jesus KNEW who would not believe. It never says He caused others to believe. Foreknowledge is not the same as predestination of people to heaven or hell.

    Now let’s go to the Isaiah verses:

    Isaiah 45
    4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
    of Israel my chosen,
    I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge me.

    5 I am the LORD , and there is no other;
    apart from me there is no God.
    I will strengthen you,
    though you have not acknowledged me,
    6 so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
    men may know there is none besides me.
    I am the LORD , and there is no other.
    7 I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the LORD, do all these things.

    8 "You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
    let the clouds shower it down.
    Let the earth open wide,
    let salvation spring up,
    let righteousness grow with it;
    I, the LORD , have created it.

    9 "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker,
    to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.
    Does the clay say to the potter,
    'What are you making?'
    Does your work say,
    'He has no hands'?
    10 Woe to him who says to his father,
    'What have you begotten?'
    or to his mother,
    'What have you brought to birth?'

    11 "This is what the LORD says-
    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
    Concerning things to come,
    do you question me about my children,
    or give me orders about the work of my hands?
    12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind upon it.
    My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.

    The Lord, through Isaiah, is talking to CYRUS here! And He is talking about Israel. Please, do NOT take this out of context, too! Cyrus has been anointed as king and it was he who ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Ezra 1, etc.). As it is written in Proverbs 21:1, the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord. This, however, has to do with the edicts passed by the king, not with his salvation (or all kings would be automatically saved!).

    In the quoted verses, Cyrus himself is being compared to a potsherd, and this is why the Lord says in the last part quoted, “do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?” He formed the Israelites from one man, Abraham, and they are His. This is reiterated throughout the Bible. And that is what the above quoted passage is referring to.

    And yes, in agreement with the conclusion to the lead post, Glory be to God for ever and ever!

    And please do not take pieces of His Word out of context to try to prove that which cannot be proven by His Word!

    [ November 10, 2002, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
  6. Yelsew

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    Great post Helen!
  7. npetreley

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    Oct 20, 2002
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    Helen, you can't get around some very simple facts about Deuteronomy. It basically says, "Do X and I will bless you. Do Y and I will curse you."

    Then it very clearly says that God knows they are going to do Y, be cursed and scattered throughout the world. Then it says very clearly that His people will turn back to Him someday. Then God will regather His people and bring them back to their land and have compassion on them. THEN it says that "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."

    So we have a very clear picture of what's going on here, one which can easily be confirmed by looking at the way Paul describes this in Romans.

    Even if you don't want to believe God ordained it, God knows everything that's going to happen in advance. God knows that His people will choose wrong, be cursed, and be scattered.

    Notice in the part you put in caps: "WHEN YOU...RETURN TO THE LORD...THEN THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RESTORE YOUR FORTUNES AND HAVE COMPASSION ON YOU." It does not say IF, it says WHEN. God knows in advance this will happen.

    It also does NOT say that their return to the LORD is salvation. All it says is that WHEN they return to the LORD, God will HAVE COMPASSION on them. THEN it says, "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live." They are saved because God circumsizes their hearts.

    So why did they choose wrong to begin with?

    The chose wrong to begin with because, (Deuteronomy 29:4) "But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear."

    Paul makes that clear in Romans 11:

    Why do they turn back to God in the future? Because everything is going fine according to God's plan. And at least a bit of His plan is explained, also in Romans 11:

    God DID hold out two options and say "pick one and you'll be blessed, pick the other and be cursed". But the only way to get a message of free will out of that is to ignore the simple fact that this isn't the whole story. The whole story includes the part about how God gave them those choices KNOWING they would pick the wrong one, and God even told them in advance WHY the would choose wrong -- because God had not given them a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear!

    Israel WILL "decide" to return to the LORD when God's plan for this comes to fruition. And we know it WILL come to fruition, because God said so without conditions (no "IF" is involved). And we even get a peek into at least part of what God is doing to make His plan come to fruition -- He brought salvation to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy.

    I don't think you realize that I agree with you that we DO make decisions, and that we are responsible for those decisions. But I do not agree that we make them of our own free will. We are caught in a battle, and we respond. I do not know why one person responds one way, and another differently, because I do not know how much of our decisions are ours and how much are the result of God manipulating events in everything from our individual lives to global history.

    But I do know that if God didn't have His hand in these things, nobody would come to Him of his own free will. Because there's "There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God." Because God is Who "has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear," and God is the one who will "circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."

    [ November 10, 2002, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: npetreley ]
  8. Yelsew

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    I don't think Deuteronomy is adequate to the discussion for New Covenant man.

    In the Old Covenant, that one with Israel, Atonement came through the blood of Animals and it states that the life of the animal is in the blood.

    In the New Covenant, that one with Jesus, Atonement comes through the spirit by belief, for the life of man is spirit.

    Of course, Jesus sacrificed himself for us, and his blood was spilled, but unlike the Old Covenant, that is an event never to be repeated. So, it is now that spiritual submission to God is the expected result of the Covenant. Spiritual submission to God brings about victory over disobedience. Spiritual submission is an act of the will of the submittee.
  9. russell55

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    Feb 4, 2002
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    Are you sure this is what you mean to say? I thought atonement came through the blood of Christ. Christ is our atoning sacrifice.

    If atonement comes through the spirit of man, then we atone for ourselves.

    Actually, true atonement for those under the OC came from the blood of Christ as well. God passed over their sins in anticipation of the demonstration his righteousness by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. (Romans 3:25)

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