Whosoever Will

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by OldRegular, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. OldRegular

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    Scripture closes with the invitation from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:

    Revelation 22:16, 17, KJV
    16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
    17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

    Just who is included in the whosoever will is a question that has plagued and divided Evangelical Christianity for several hundred years. Why? Why do some people respond to the Gospel while others reject it outright. Are some people inately superior to others morally? Scripture clearly tells us: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [Romans 3: 23] Furthermore, we read in the Gospel of John

    And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. [John 5:40, KJV] If this passage is taken literally we are faced with the question, not who will be saved, but who can be saved?

    So we have two statements that are apparently in conflict:

    1. whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

    2. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

    However, since Scripture tells us [1 Corinthians 14:33] For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. there can be no conflict between these two statements. We must simply learn what God is teaching us.
     
  2. OldRegular

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    1. whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.[Revelation 20:17]

    2. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.[John 5:40]

    Because God is not the author of confusion He does not leave us confused about the apparent conflict between the above Scripture, if we will accept what God teaches us.

    In the Gospel of John we read:

    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.

    John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

    We see from the above two passages that no man can come to Jesus Christ for Salvation, consistent with John 5:40 above, unless the ability to come for Salvation is given by God the Father. Those to whom the Father gives this ability are the whosoever will of Revelation 22:17. These are the ones that Scripture identifies as the elect or the chosen.

    We find additional information concerning the elect, the whosoever will, elsewhere in Scripture.

    In the book of Acts we read: And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. [Acts 13:48]

    In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus we read:

    Ephesians 1:3-7, KJV
    3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
    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:
    5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
    6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
    7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

    Those chosen in Jesus Christ by God the Father before the foundation of the world are the whosoever will. We read further in the letter to the Ephesians:

    Ephesians 2:1-10, NKJV
    1. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
    2. in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
    3. among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
    4. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
    5. even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
    6. and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    7. that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
    9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
    10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    We see in verse 5 that when we were dead in trespasses God made us alive together with Christ. We were spiritually dead and walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. To be blunt we were lost in sin and bound for damnation.

    But, praise God, He made those on whom His love had been set before the foundation of the world spiritually alive, the spiritual resurrection spoken of in John 5:25: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Not only did God make us spiritually alive but he gave us the faith by which we believe [verse 8].

    The Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, summarizes the above in the following Scripture:

    Romans 5:29, 30, KJV
    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.
    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.

    Salvation, the blessing of grace, is that work of the Triune God by which He eternally redeems and reconciles to Himself those chosen in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world [Ephesians 1:4], freeing them from bondage to sin and His holy wrath. That Salvation is purchased by the blood of the Incarnate Son [Romans 5: 9; Hebrews 9: 14; 1 Peter 1: 18; 1 John 1: 7; Revelation 1: 5; Revelation 7: 14], the blood of the everlasting covenant [Matthew 26: 28; Hebrews 13: 20], and is made effective in the life of the elect through regeneration by the Holy Spirit and union with Jesus Christ [Ephesians 2:1-8]. Salvation from beginning to end is entirely by the Sovereign Grace of the Triune God. During his earthly ministry Jesus Christ expressed this truth by the following simple statements:

    John 5:21 NKJV
    For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

    John 10:26-29, KJV
    26. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
    27. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
    28. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
    29. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    Scripture is abundantly clear that the whosoever will are those chosen unto Salvation in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world.

    [ March 20, 2006, 05:37 PM: Message edited by: OldRegular ]
     
  3. OldRegular

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    Summary of an exposition on John 5:40 by C. H. Spurgeon

    ( From a sermon delivered Sunday morning, December 2, 1855, at New Park Street Chapel, London, England.)

    And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. [John 5:40, KJV]

    "Our four points, this morning, shall be, -

    First, that every man is dead, because it says, `Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.'

    Secondly, that there is life in Jesus Christ - `Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.'

    Thirdly, that there is life in Christ Jesus for every one that comes for it - `Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life,' implying that all who go will have life.

    And fourthly, the gist of the text lies here, that no man by nature ever will come to Christ, for the text says, `Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.'

    So far from asserting that men of their own wills ever do such a thing, it boldly and flatly denies it, and says, 'Ye WILL NOT come unto me that ye might have life.' Why, beloved, I am almost ready to exclaim, Have all free willers no knowledge that they dare to run in the teeth of inspiration? Have all those that deny the doctrine of grace no sense? Have they so departed from God that they wrest this to prove free will, whereas the text says, `Ye WILL NOT come unto me that ye might have life.' "
     
  4. OldRegular

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    John Dagg, a Southern Baptist preacher of the 19th Century and author of the first book on theology by a Southern Baptist, writes in that book A Manual of Theology [page 322] on the natural man’s inability regarding salvation, as follows:

    “Every proposed method of salvation that leaves the issue dependent on human volition is defective. It has always been found that men will not come to Christ for life. The Gospel is preached to every creature; but all, with one consent, ask to be excused. The will of man must be changed; and this change the will cannot itself effect. Divine grace must here interpose. Unless God works in the sinner to will and to do, salvation is impossible.”
     
  5. Helen

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    Thanks for this kind of opening post, OldRegular.

    Both of those statements (1 and 2) at the end of your post refer to 'will'.

    I spent about two years reading the Bible over and over again (about ten years or so ago) to see how God reconciles this. What appeared to me to be the answer is in Romans 1. That famous passage about God's wrath being poured out on those who SUPPRESS the truth...

    It occurred to me that one could not consciously suppress what one was not consciously aware of. We read just a bit later that no man has an excuse. In Romans 10:16-18 (really impostant to include that last verse), Paul makes direct reference to the fact that ALL have heard the Gospel message by referring to Psalm 19, which states of the heavens: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

    We are also aware of the fact that both creation and flood stories came through in every ancient culture. It appears from what we have found that all men have had enough truth presented to them, one way or another, to be able to respond to that truth by wanting more and following it, or by suppressing it.

    If we combine this God-given chance and ability to choose with John 6, we see that all whom the Father leads to the Son will be saved. So who would the Father lead to the Son but those who want the truth?

    Those who suppress the truth, particularly by their actions, are quite clearly refusing to come to God, who is truth -- He is the final destination of all real truth. But those who want the truth, and follow it, will be led by the Father to the Son and the water of life is theirs, to drink of freely.

    At any rate, that is what the Bible appears to be saying to me. I cannot avoid the verses regarding foreknowledge, but neither can I avoid the verses regarding the command to seek God, to harden NOT your hearts, and to choose whom we will serve.

    I know that it's bigger than we can wrap our minds around, but I also know that God truly has loved the whole world and truly is not willing that one should perish. Because so many do suppress the truth and choose to perish means that God, in His omnipotence and by His own choice, has allowed us a will of our own. I think Jesus demonstrated this in the Garden when, as the second Adam, He prayed that not His will, but the Father's be done. Adam chose his own will. Jesus, with a fully human nature as well as a divine nature, also had a human will, and this He subjected to the Father.

    If we want it, He will give us that strength and courage to follow Him, and to be His.

    It is the want that is ours, not the ability. But we are free to want -- and that many, many unsaved people want something better than what they have is evident as witnessed by so many religions in the world, all of which try to tell the man how he can be better. If a man had no desire to be good, or better, or saved, or exalted, etc., then why all the religions?

    But Jesus did it for us. In Him we are better -- we are saved -- we are transformed. THIS is why He invites ALL who are burdened to come to Him.

    I think some are not burdened. They have hardened their hearts and made so many excuses for themselves that they want no part of being any better than what they are.

    But a lot of people do want to be better; they have an image of themselves, at least, which is quite different from what they currently see in themselves, and they struggle so hard to try to get there! These are the people I think Jesus calls, "Come to Me..."

    Many ARE called. Those who respond to Jesus' call with something akin to "Please help!", are then chosen.

    That is what I see as not disagreeing with any of what the Bible says. I don't think that ignores the implications of any passage. We do know that those God knew would be predestined to become adopted into His family because, as John 1 says, that is HIS choice and not the choice of any man. We do know that those who are His are predestined to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, and to be made holy and blameless.

    But the idea, which I know you hold to, that God somehow actually chose who would be saved apart from any will of their own before creation seems to go so strongly against so much in the Bible as well as the very character of God Himself that I cannot accept that view.

    I hope, without sounding horridly judgmental, I have explained why I believe as I do.

    Thank you for the opportunity.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    Helen

    You must use more than two fingers to type. [​IMG] [​IMG] [Of course you might say that my two fingers work as fast as my mind can, but you won't.] Anyhow, thanks for the response.

    You say:
    Adam was the first and only man with a free will. Since Adam's sin the will of man has been in bondage to sin even if he is not aware of it. This truth is made abundantly clear in John 5:40 and the passage below. Scripture aptly describes fallen man in the 1st chapter of the book of Romans and later states:

    Romans 3:10-18
    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
    13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
    14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
    15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
    16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
    17 And the way of peace have they not known:
    18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.


    Helen, you and I agree on many things and I always enjoy your posts because they are so gracious, so well written, and so thoughtful even when I disagree.

    If I told you I understood Election I would be lying. I think anyone who made such a claim would be either lying or deluded because they would be claiming to understand the mind of God. Nevertheless, I believe that the Bible teaches that before the foundation of the world God chose certain unto Salvation in Jesus Christ, otherwise no one would be saved.

    A passage of Scripture that I dearly love is:

    Matthew 11:28-30
    28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


    Why is it that some who labor and are heavy laden come to Jesus Christ for Salvation while others do not?
     
  7. Helen

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    I think it is as I mentioned above, OldRegular, that those who are burdened and heavy-laden are doing everything they know how to do to improve themselves, somehow, some way. And they can't do it. Every religion but Christianity tells them some formula for rescuing themselves from their current state, and it is Jesus who calls to those "Come to me..."

    Why do some of these come to Him? Because they are willing to strip themselves of their pride, I think. They are willing to be humble enough to admit they need help, and desperately.

    Now, why some are so proud and some willing to humble themselves? I'm just playing around with thoughts here, but isn't pride mostly a form of fear? Isn't is the self-defense that fear puts up? Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of powerlessness, etc....? (I just turned to Barry at his desk and asked him what he thought about this thought and he and I had quite a discussion for several minutes and he is inclined to agree with me on this one -- at the core of pride -- of arrogant pride especially -- is the stimulus of fear). If this is true, it certainly explains that perfect love casts out fear.

    Perhaps this is one of the places where it is important to mention the vital role parenting has in a child's life. If that child is loved and accepted and trained in that love and acceptance, he or she will not be afraid of correction in the future and the felt necessity of a defense of pride due to fear would be much less. And I recall, as I write this, that the sins of the fathers are visited on the children -- they pay the price for it.

    And so maybe we have people who live their lives in fear and longing both....are some of these the 'deathbed conversions'? A life of longing but almost drowned in fear? I don't know. As I said, I'm playing with some thoughts here as to why some people are so proud and refuse Jesus' call (remember the TV ad, "Please, mother, I'd rather do it myself!"), and others are willing to face their fears and open up a bit, at least.

    On the Romans 3 passage, we often try to take it of itself, but Paul is referring to Psalms -- and the Jews of Rome knew what he was referring to. It starts with a reference to Psalm 14, which is talking about the fool who says there is no God. Verse 4 emphasizes, "will evildoers never learn....?"

    The next part of the passage in Romans 3 is a quote from Psalm 5, where it is talking about David's enemies, not all people.

    The next part, about their tongues being the poison of vipers is from Psalm 140, where it, again, is talking specifically about "evil men...men of violence." Again, this is not all people that either David or Paul is referring to.

    The next part, about their mouths being full of cursing and bitterness is from Psalm 10:7, where the direct reference is to the wicked man who hunts down the weak, "He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God...His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue." And it goes on.

    The section about their feet rushing to sin is from Isaiah 59:7-8. This section is a strong condemnation of Israel in her rejection of the way of the Lord. The reference goes back to verse 4 where "No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil...Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood."

    Paul closes with a quote from Psalm 36:1, where it is again describing 'the wicked.'

    These references, chosen by Paul in Romans 3, show that both Jew and Gentile can sink to depth of wickedness and depravity and violence, but the quotes are from passages in the Bible well-known to the Jews and are describing without exception the fool who says there is no God, the wicken and violent men who prey on others. It is not describing all people, for we can see in other Psalms mention of those who care for the widow and orphan, not to mention the widows and orphans themselves.

    So to take the Romans 3 passage and say it describes all people is to use it in a way Paul clearly did not intend, for everything he quoted involved direct references to the hardened wicked people who hated God and their fellow man as well.

    This does not describe all people at any time.
     
  8. OldRegular

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    Helen, I agree, and a perfect example of what you say above is presented in the following parable by Jesus Christ:

    Luke 18:9-14
    9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
    10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
    13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


    However, in John 5:40 Jesus Christ said: And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. He did not make any exceptions! Therefore, some outside influence must make people willing to be humble enough to admit they need help, and desperately. The publican was influenced, the pharisee was not.
     
  9. mima

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    These words "whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" speak volumes about soulwinning and salvation! First the whosoever will must by definition include anybody and everybody. Second the let him take the water of life freely wording very eloquently states that there is no prize to be paid by the receiver. Acceptance of what the Jesus Christ is already done on our behalf is the "price". Another words you get a free ticket. Why? Because Jesus has already bought you one.
     
  10. OldRegular

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    We have to take all of Scripture mima. You are ignoring what Jesus Christ said in John 5:40 : And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
     
  11. genesis12

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    It's grammar, Old Regular. There are conditional statements and there are imperative statements, among others. Understanding Greek and incorporating context is helpful. Or... you could toss your hat into Helen and mima's ring. That'll work. [​IMG]
     
  12. npetreley

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    Quite the opposite. Whosoever will states "those who will" and that's all. It therefore does NOT include anybody and everybody because it specifically excludes whosoever won't.

    The question of WHO WILLS TO COME and WHY THEY IN PARTICULAR WILL TO COME (as opposed to those who won't come) is unstated in this passage.

    It is stated elsewhere, however. "All the Father gives me WILL COME TO ME." Those are the whosoever who will.
     
  13. OldRegular

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    Quite the opposite. Whosoever will states "those who will" and that's all. It therefore does NOT include anybody and everybody because it specifically excludes whosoever won't.

    The question of WHO WILLS TO COME and WHY THEY IN PARTICULAR WILL TO COME (as opposed to those who won't come) is unstated in this passage.

    It is stated elsewhere, however. "All the Father gives me WILL COME TO ME." Those are the whosoever who will.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Amen! [​IMG]
     
  14. JackRUS

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    What then did Jesus mean when He said?:

    "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him
    in the last day." John 12:48

    and...

    "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Mt. 23:37
     
  15. OldRegular

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    I am happy to say that Helen and I have our hats in the same ring on many issues, just not election. Don't know about mima yet but I am sure that as Christians we agree on more than we disagree.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    JackRUS quoted Mt 23:37

    This is not a passage one should use to discuss free will. Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders but did not say he wanted to gather them under his wings as a mother hen. He said he would have gathered their children As a matter of fact, many people (their children) flocked toward Jesus, but the leaders through every roadblock in their way. Jesus didn't say that the children would not, he said "ye" would not. Big difference.

    Tom B.
     
  17. Helen

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    The children of Jerusalem is/are the population of Jerusalem. The children of Israel are the Israelites, etc.
     
  18. OldRegular

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    Those who reject the Salvation offered by Jesus Christ are held accountable for that rejection. Why do people reject Jesus Christ? The answer is given in John 3:19, 20 presented below.

    Periodically throughout history Israel had turned away from God. Why? Jesus Christ tells us in John 3:19, 20:

    19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
     

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