The limitations of free will.

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by stilllearning, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. stilllearning

    stilllearning
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    One of the reasons that I am not a Calvinist, is because I clearly see the Bible teaching us, that man has a free will.

    But unlike the Arminianist, I also see the limitations to this free will.
    --------------------------------------------------
    For the unsaved, our free will is limited by God’s drawing...........
    John 6:44
    “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:
    and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    Now, although it is true, that EVERYONE is drawn at one time or another, our free will to get saved, is limited by God’s drawing.

    We do not choose the day, that we get saved: God does.
    --------------------------------------------------
    And then, once we are saved, we are in Christ.......
    Romans 8:1
    “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,
    who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

    And although we have the freedom, in Christ, to live the way we choose, our freedoms are limited by God’s chastening hand.
    (Limited by just how miserable we want to be.)

    And also our "eternal choice" is totally taken away: We are in Christ, and there is no way He will ever let go of us.
    --------------------------------------------------
    I see both Calvinistic and Arminianistic thought, fly in the face of the plain teachings of God’s Word.
     
  2. mparkerfd20

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    Where do you get that EVERYONE is drawn? Any scripture to back that up?
     
  3. Johnv

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    A mainline calvinist will tell you, however, than the doctrine of election does not preclude man from the responsibility of choosing Christ. Election and free will are not mutually exclusive in Reformed theology.
     
  4. stilllearning

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    Hello mparkerfd20

    You asked.......
    Sorry for leaving that out........
    John 12:32
    “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.”
     
  5. Grasshopper

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    Man's "free will choices" always follow his nature. If a man is dead in trespasses his choices will be an offsring of that nature. If man's nature is at emnity with God his "free will choices" will NEVER do that which is pleasing to God. His choices are bound by his will and his will is bound by his nature. Unless the nature is first changed, one will never choose God.

    For further clarification see AW Pink's "The Sovereignty of God".

    http://www.reformed.org/books/pink/index.html

    Chapters 7&8
     
  6. Grasshopper

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    Would you say being drawn as equal to being called?
     
  7. stilllearning

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    Hi Grasshopper

    You asked..........
    A very good question.

    And Scripture would seem to say so..........
    Matthew 22:14
    “For many are called, but few [are] chosen.”
     
  8. Grasshopper

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    Then are you a Universalist?

    If all are drawn(calls) then according to Romans all those are also justified and glorified.

    Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
    Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    So if God draws(calls) all men then it must, according to scripture, lead to Universalism. Unless He only calls(draws) those whom He predistined, but you reject that. Do you not?
     
  9. grahame

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    That is a precious and wonderful verse of scripture and should be treasured by all. But I'm not sure if that is exactly what our Lord was teaching there, that ALL men, meaning every person in the world will be drawn to him? I of course stand to be corrected?

    For once thing not everyone in the world will hear the gospel. Unless of course there be some other means for Christ to draw everyone to him? Then that obviously cannot be the correct interpretation.

    Also the qualifying words of the evangelist indicate that this is not what Jesus meant, "This he said , signifying what death he should die." (vs33)
    And also the reaction of the Jews hearing him also militate against this interpretaion, " ....how sayest thou , The Son of man must be lifted up ? who is this Son of man?" So the Jews didn't pick him up on it, thus indicating that this isn't what our Lord meant.

    So our Lord must have meant something else? We have a similar wording in 1Timothy 2:3-4 " For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved , and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." Here we have an indication to what the apostle meant, for if we read the verses that go before together with this verse we read, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved".

    So there it indicates that God will not only we pray for "all men" ie kings and all in authority but will have them saved as well. This it seems militates against the thinking of many Christians, who think that surely God doesn't want this or that evil person to be saved? Surely he is an evil dictator who needs to be deposed. Surely God does not want them to be saved, rather he should want to destroy them?

    But these points give an indication as to our Lord's meaning of "all men" here. Perhaps he meant not just the Jews, but he intends to save all men, ie gentiles also? But the emphasis in the verse is on what death Jesus was to die as the evangelist informs us and the Jews immediately picked him up on it, "We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou , The Son of man must be lifted up ? who is this Son of man?" And our Lord's response what to urge them to believe the light whilst he was yet with them and he left them. It seems that his words were for the benefit of the Jews at the feast and their misunderstanding as to who the Christ was and what his mission was.

    But the important thing to remember when reading scripture is not to take certain verses in isolation, but to read them in context. This way we are more likely to see the lessons they are actually teaching. In this case what our Lord was actually teaching these Greeks probably Greek Jews) at the feast. Remember the Pharisees used similar words to Jesus in verse 19, "behold, the world is gone after him." Obviously they didn't mean "the whole world". But it seemed that everyone was talking about him and listening to his teaching. It seemed right that Jesus should then reveal himself and declare that, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

    I find this important. For as I read certain posts in the forum (not this one) I see some who have their own private little philosophies and am dismayed at the way they treat the scriptures. They cannot seem to grasp the lessons that those scriptures teach simply because their own beliefs and philosophies get in the way. For example I perceive thoughts like, "I cannot imaging a loving God doing that kind of thing"? And so when they come to a particular scripture that militates against their philosophical apprehensions of God, which are not usually based on scripture, they say, "No that surely cannot be the interpretation". And they seem to be blind to the actual plain teaching of that scripture.

    As I said I'm not now referring in particular to this thread here or to your comment and post. But the secret of right scripture interpretation is (1) read the context. (2) compare scripture with scripture and (3) Which is extremely important, avoid philosophising. For remember the natural mind is at enmity against God. And His ways are not our ways. For so much higher are His ways than our ways. We cannot see into eternity. But we do have the scriptures to guide us to right thinking. For the scripture says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." In a world full of madness and instability the Christian has the ability to think straight because we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. In fact he is the only one who has this power to think straight. So don't let philosophising and speculation get in the way. Great verse though.
     
    #9 grahame, Jan 20, 2010
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  10. stilllearning

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    Hi grahame

    Thank you for your civil response.

    You asked.......
    There certainly is, another means by which God will draw “all men”, everywhere, to Him.
    Therefore this verse means exactly what it says.

    The way that I am talking about, is by natural revelation...........
    Romans 1:19-20
    V.19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.
    V.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    --------------------------------------------------
    This truth is taught throughout the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament.

    Natural revelation, are the evidences that God gives to every human being(to differing degrees), of His existence: (Sun, moon, stars, storms, nature, etc.)
    --------
    And the way this works, is some native, 1000 miles from civilization, will be out hunting or something, and God reveals Himself to this person, by the wonders of nature.
    -At this point, this person has a decision to make!-

    (1)Am I going to search for more light about the creator of all this,
    (2)or am I just going to finish hunting and go home and forget about it.
    --------------------------------------------------
    There is a Biblical Principle taught here in Romans chapter one: (The principle of “using light”.)

    If this person uses the light that God gives them, than God will lead him to someone, that will tell him about Jesus.

    I have repeatedly heard Missionaries, give this testimony, of someone coming to them, from out of an area that has not been reached yet, with a desire to know about the LORD.

    It has even happened to me, in the USA, because natural revelation is at work here also.
    ------------
    But if a person rejects this light, he will be plunged into more Spiritual darkness.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Now God knew, that men would be asking the same question as you have asked, and he responds to them in........
    Romans 10:14
    “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”


    And God answers this question in........
    Romans 10:18
    “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”


    This is referring to........
    Psalms 19:1-4
    V.1 ¶ To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
    V.2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
    V.3 [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard.
    V.4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

    --------------------------------------------------
    As you see, a person’s location or language makes no difference at all.

    Everyone, is going to have an opportunity to get saved.
    Titus 2:11
    “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
     
  11. grahame

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    Hi stilllearning,
    Yes there is "natural" revelation. For we are told that the "heavens declare the glory of God and the fermament shows his handywork". Also John the apostle says in his gospel that the true light "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". (John 1) The apostle Paul also shows u=in hus epistle to the Romans that, "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness , and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." (Rom 2:15)

    If you are thinking of that kind of revelation, then yes you are right. But I don't think that this verse is talking about that. Because (1) these kinds of natural witness have always been and (2) There are still millions of people in the world who die without actually hearing the gospel or even hearing about the saviour. So it cannot be said of them that they were at any time drawn to Christ. As you have quoted from Romans 10 "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” So it is up to us as Christians to see that they do hear. For when they do then hopefully Christ will draw them to him. But during my witnessing I unfortunately find that men generally are NOT drawn to Christ. But rather a repelled by him and shy away. Those who ARE drawn to him are saved and reconciled to God.
    Indeed Jesus himself tells us this in John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
     
    #11 grahame, Jan 20, 2010
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  12. stilllearning

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    Hello again grahame

    Lets take a look at the context of Romans 10:14......

    Romans 10:12-21
    V.12 ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
    V.13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    V.14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
    V.15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
    V.16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
    V.17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    V.18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
    V.19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.
    V.20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
    V.21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.


    As you can see, V.14,15 is not an instruction for us to follow, but it is a feeble excuse, from those who do not want to be obedient.

    But in V.16-21 God rebukes them for their rebellion.
    --------------------------------------------------
    This issue, of everyone everywhere, having an opportunity to respond to God’s drawing, is very important;
    Because it reflects upon God’s Holiness.

    If even one person, ever goes to hell, without being drawn at least once, than God is unrighteous and unholy.
     
  13. Rippon

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    What utter nonsense! God would be Holy still to condemn each and every person to everlasting perdition. His holiness is not sullied in any way!


    You show complete ignorance of drawing, to say the least. Biblical drawing is not a magnetic pull or attraction. Everyone drawn is united to Christ. Each and every person is not thus drawn.

    The Lord doesn't owe, neither is He obligated to give each and every person a chance to be drawn. You are dealing from an emotional/sentimental perspective -- not a biblical stance.

    You really need to do a complete overhaul of your view of God's righteousness.
     
  14. stilllearning

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    Hello Rippon

    Let me first agree with you:

    You said.......
    This is a very true statement.

    But it does not take into consideration, the reason God sent His Son to earth to die for us.

    Yes, God would be Holy, to condemn each of us to hell, with no opportunity for salvation, but He didn’t do that, did He!
    --------------------------------------------------
    You also said..........
    Here is where you are wrong.
    God has obligated Himself, by giving us His Word:
    (The only thing God can not do, is to sin, by going against His own Word.)

    And regardless of Calvin’s interpretation of Scripture, God has promised us, that if we trust Christ as our Savior, that He is “OBLIGATED” to take us to heaven.

    And this obligation is clearly seen in........
    Revelation 20:12
    “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

    If God was not obligated, there would be no need, for a great white throne.
    --------------------------------------------------
    As you can see, I have given you a respectful response:

    Boy am I glad, that I am not a “Rippon”!
     
  15. grahame

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    Hello stilllearning. So you are interpreting these verses as saying that everyone in the world has heard the gospel already? Is that right? And the reason they have not believed is not that they haven't heard it, but that they do not obey it? I thought that these verses were speaking about the Jews? For the very first verse says, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is , that they might be saved." and the rest of the chapter explains that they have had every opportunity to believe, but their whole life has been a catalogue of rejecting God, culminating in the rejection of Christ. I don't think it is speaking about the world in general?
     
    #15 grahame, Jan 20, 2010
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  16. stilllearning

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    Hi grahame

    You said..........
    No.

    What I am saying is that this passage, through V.13, is talking about salvation:
    (Telling anybody and everybody, one aspect of how to get saved:)
    -Giving us more light, on the subject of salvation.-

    Then we come to verses 14 & 15...........
    Romans 10:14-15
    V.14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
    V.15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

    --------------------------------------------------
    Now God had just said in verse 13..........
    Romans 10:13
    “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    And in the next two verses he repeats an excuse some rebellious Jews were using, for not getting right with God.

    And continues through the end of the Chapter, explaining how they are without excuse:
    Because they have had every opportunity to get saved:

    Ending with these words........
    Romans 10:21
    “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”

    --------------------------------------------------
    This thread has developed into a discussion about free will:

    I have been saying that EVERYONE will have an opportunity to get saved, because God is going to draw EVERYONE, at one time or another.

    We will not be forced to yield to God’s drawing;
    But these moments in a lost person’s life, when the Holy Spirit is convicting them of their sin, are the moments when God is drawing them to Him.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Now you have said, that this can’t be true, because not everyone on earth, is going to have an opportunity to hear the Gospel preached.
    (So God can’t say, that all men will be drawn.)
    And you used Romans 10:14, as a proof text.

    All that I have been saying, is that V.14 is not a condition for salvation at all:
    It is an excuse that some people will use, for not getting saved.......
    “The preacher never came to my house”, or “There was not a Church in my town” etc.

    And God is pointing out here, that this is no excuse:
    (Because creation itself, cries out to the unsaved, that God is real and we aught to come to Him.)

    Now I NEVER SAID, that a person could get saved, from Natural Revelation alone:
    (But Natural Revelation will reveal people’s need for God to them, and if they seek the LORD, He will be found by them, because He will bring them to someone with the Gospel!)
    --------------------------------------------------
    I have never even suggested that I believed in universalism.
     
  17. Grasshopper

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    I can only assume you have no answer for Romans 8 and universalism?
     
  18. stilllearning

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    Hi Grasshopper

    I am glad you are still here.
    --------------------------------------------------
    You originally asked.......
    And I responded in #7......
    Then you responded........
    --------------------------------------------------
    It appears that you were baiting me, with your first question, but that’s OK, because I answered.......
    “Scripture would seem to say so..........”


    This is still a good question: and upon further reflection, will say “No”.
    (Being drawn, is not the same as being called!)

    Because everyone that is called, is saved!
     
  19. Grasshopper

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    So all are drawn but few are called. Why are some called and others not?
     
  20. grahame

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    Oh right. I see what you are saying now. But I didn't use that text to prove it cant be true. What I said was that when our Lord said to the Jews "If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me" He didn't mean literally "all" men as in all men in the world. And I gave the reason why that interpretation cannot be what our Lord meant. Just as when the Jews said that the world had gone after him. They didn't mean literally the world as meaning everyone in the world. Because for one thing they themselves had not gon after him. So sometimes the words used do not mean what they seem to mean.

    God may use natural means to call people to himself. Paul the apostle said as much to the people at Athens when he said, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed , and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him , though he be not far from every one of us"

    But this means God has used since before the gospel. Men will only hear the gospel if we preach it to them. That is the difference. All men have a natural witness within them, the conscience. This of course can be seared and numbed and men then become atheists and the like. But man in his natural state as you said is called every day to an awareness of God through this natural means. That is why man is as someone has said, "Incurably religious".

    This is why there are so many natural religions in the world as I'm sure you acknowledge already. But when Christ was crucified something changed and God calls upon all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. But this will not happen naturally. That was why our Lord appointed apostles and preachers so that men might be saved by the "foolishness of preaching". Foolishness being the operative word, for the man who is without grace will see the message as just that, "foolish".

    But concerning chapter 10 of Romans. Pauls argument actually concernes primarily the Jews and their election and runs from the beginning of Romans 9 to the end of Romans 11. He is explaining why the Jews as a nation has rejected their Messiah. The salvation (or grafting in) he gentiles are only brought in to strengthen his argument.

    But the fact that "all men" as meaning every man in the world is not what our Lord meant is evident. Because although in this modern age of television and the internet we are able to reach millions od people. The plain facts are that although people have a kind of natural inclination towards God, )although without the gospel it cannot be the true God) there are still millions who have never even heard of Christ. So that interpretation by default cannot be the right one.

    I still contend that our Lord is speaking about the universality of his salvation. That not only the Jews, the chosen people of God shall be saved (in the Acts of the apostles we see 1000's of Jews coming to faith in Christ) but that this salvation shall extend to the gentiles also. And this I contend is what Jesus means here by "all men".

    Strangely though,this also seems to be the underlying message of Romans chapters 9-11. The Jews rejected their messiah. The gentiles are grafted in until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled and so all Israel shall be saved, albeit by the election of grace. In fact if you read through chapters 9-11 of Romans you will discover that salvation to both the Jews and the gentiles is only by the election of grace alone. For if Israel is saved it will only be by God grafting them in again, just as He grafted in the gentiles. As he says in verse 25 of Romans 9, "I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved , which was not beloved."
     

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