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A Response to Free Will

freewill

Hi Ms. A,
Thank you for your inquiry and interest in biblical truth. I will attempt to extrapolate on the facts as God’s word lays them out. You mention that your friend is struggling with the idea that God forces men to believe in Him and in doing so, God assaults that believers ‘free will’. I can understand your friend’s position. I come out of a similar Christian setting and recall using accusations like she has. Part of the problem your friend faces is that she is only parroting what the majority of people are told. The general Christian consensus is the same. You must remember that the majority of people who call themselves Christian are people who have been influenced by Charles Finney and his errors. How do I know this? Because I used to use the same arguments and same clichés in the past; they are Arminian and highly flawed theologically.

This is the summary of her charge to you:

“She says I’m being brainwashed and is in a cultish movement. I wanted you to help me refute her accusations. Here are some of the things she tells me that we believe in….

…She claims irresistible grace means God forces us to believe in Him and humans are not allowed free will.

…That babies will go to hell if not saved.

…predestination means of God created some people who he knows will ultimately  go to hell.”

Historically speaking, Arminianism is heresy. The synod of Dordt condemned the claims of Arminius. Why anyone wants to embrace a heresy is suspect. Christ says that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him and that ‘truth’ will set you free. Rejecting a systematic teaching, called Calvinism for us who hear, is akin to unbelief as the gospel is tied up in the Calvinist doctrines of TULIP.

http://www.semperreformanda.com/creeds/synod-of-dordt/

I will address your friends charges, starting with the will of man.

Argument #1

“Man has free will! The Calvinist holds to irresistible grace-how can man have free will if God forces them to believe in Him against their will?”

It is important to understand that since the fall, all men are guilty. None are without sin, not even the squeaky clean infant.

Rom. 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Since all men have sinned, all are, by default, condemned. All men deserve hell; this is an important distinction to understand. God did not have to send a savior; He could have just sent all men, continuously, throughout all generations to hell, because of Adam’s transgression.

Rom. 5:12   Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned….

Psa. 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies bgo astray from birth.

Having said this, all men deserve hell. The fruits of this labor are evident:

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death….

Job 4:7 “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed?

No man deserves heaven, period. You have to wrap your brain around this fact else your theology will suffer.

Example: Look what happened in Genesis:

Gen. 6:5   Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

God was ‘sorry He had even created mankind based on their depravity; God then sets the wheel into motion to destroys every living thing; this to include infants at the breast and even in the womb. Notice that the passage says that the ‘thoughts’ of men were continually evil; the Hebrew is defined as  ‘without any pause’.  ‘The wickedness of man was great, without any pause-continously’.

The next verse says much:

8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Only Noah ‘found favor’? What of his family, weren’t they saved as well-doesn’t the scriptures show that?

You may ask, “Scott, To understand your perspective, do you believe that everyone on the ark was elect?”
The scriptures say that the Ark ‘saved’ those who were in it. The ark was a type of Christ!

1Pet. 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

God is a covenant keeping God:

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

In Ezekiel we see:

Ezek. 14:12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying: 13 “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. 14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord GOD.

Ezek. 14:15 “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts, 16 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord GOD, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate.

Ezek. 14:17 “Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land,’ and I cut off man and beast from it, 18 even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says the Lord GOD, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered.

Ezek. 14:19 “Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, 20 even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says the Lord GOD, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

IN essence, this passage shows that the righteousness of Noah, Job and Daniel was NOT enough to save anyone else but themselves. *This righteousness can only be found in Christ Jesus. So if God destroyed all the Earth and saved ‘eight souls’ during the flood, each of those souls were saved through singular righteousness in Christ alone. Hence, all who were on the ark, were saved and everyone else, perished.

In Hebrews it validates my assessment:

Heb. 11:7   By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

The word used here in Hebrews, ‘saved’ in the Greek is:

GK G5401 | S G4991   σωτηρία   sōtēria   46x

a saving, preservation, Acts 27:34; Heb. 11:7; deliverance, Lk. 1:69, 71; Acts 7:25; salvation, spiritual and eternal, Lk. 1:77; 19:9; Acts 4:12; Rev. 7:10; a being placed in a condition of salvation by an embracing of the Gospel, Rom. 10:1, 10; 2 Tim. 3:15; means or opportunity of salvation, Acts 13:26; Rom. 11:11; Heb. 2:3; ἡ σωτηρία, the promised deliverance by the Messiah, Jn. 4:22 salvation.

Question: Was Noah any less sinful than those God destroyed? Not technically. The same stain from Adam was upon Noah and his family. Remember what Romans 5:12 said. ‘All have sinned’.

Well, you may be thinking: “This is not the God whom I worship! The God I worship would not do this-the God I worship is a God of love!”

You have, in this assessment, broken the 2nd commandment and have created a God not of the scriptures, but a God of your own imagination:

Ex. 20:4   “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.  5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,  6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Lets see what the word of God actually says in regard to the actual facts:

Rom. 9:19   You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”  20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”  21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Who are you to ask God why He has made you? Who is the creature to complain to the creator? No one can resist His will. This is exactly what this passage teaches.

Look what God says to Job when he attempts to question the almighty on what He is doing?

Job 38:1   “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,  2 “Who is this that darkens counsel

By words without knowledge?

3 “Now gird up your loins like a man,

And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

Tell Me, if you have understanding,

5 Who set its measurements? Since you know.

Or who stretched the line on it?

6 “On what were its bases sunk?

Or who laid its cornerstone,

7 When the morning stars sang together

And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 38:8   “Or who enclosed the sea with doors

When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;

9 When I made a cloud its garment

And thick darkness its swaddling band,

10 And I placed boundaries on it

And set a bolt and doors,

11 And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;

And here shall your proud waves stop’?

Job 38:12   “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,

And caused the dawn to know its place,

13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,

And the wicked be shaken out of it?

14 “It is changed like clay under the seal;

And they stand forth like a garment.

15 “From the wicked their light is withheld,

And the uplifted arm is broken.

Job 38:16   “Have you entered into the springs of the sea

Or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17 “Have the gates of death been revealed to you,

Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?

18 “Have you understood the expanse of the earth?

Tell Me, if you know all this.”

God is the creator and He has the right to do as He pleases: He rightly rebukes Job for his foolishness and puts him in his place.

Job 23:13 “But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does.

Psalm 115:3 3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Rom 9:18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

In this instance of Noah, God saves him the same way all men have been saved; By grace, through faith in the man Christ Jesus. He justifies the sinner by grace, through faith.

It is important to understand that all men in the flood perished:

Gen. 6:17 “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.

Gen. 7:21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind;

1Pet. 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

These above verses clearly show that there is a difference between those who were ‘saved’ and those who ‘perished’. This perishing is not akin to just death but as well that which comes after death.

Heb. 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

All that died in the flood, were immediately judged in Christ Jesus. Since Noah was the only one who found grace, those that died outside of grace, perished rightly.

It could be posed that some of those that ‘perished’ in the flood were of the elect. This is problematic in that God Himself says ‘the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ It is problematic, in light of what God says of Noah, that Noah found ‘grace’ in the eyes of God. There are not two types of grace; there is only one. Noah found grace and the elect that were in the flood found grace? No. There was no grace given in the flood else God would have spoken of it additionally to the grace given, Noah. Noah ‘found’ grace, no one else did.
So, we have established that all are affected by the fall. All men deserve hell. Just like the people in the flood, no one deserves anything less.

Having said that, what If God wanted to save some of the people that were in the flood, like Noah’s family; Is that bad? Romans Chapter 9 illuminates this concept easily:

Rom. 9:6   But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,  7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” Rom. 9:10   And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),  12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” Rom. 9:14   What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!  15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.  17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Notice the passage says that God chooses, calls and saves those whom are His and the rest he ‘hardens’. Did he not do the same with Pharaoh?

Ex. 4:21   The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

Rom. 9:19   You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”  20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”  21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of destruction.

God has made all things for His glory; This to include the people suffering rightly in Hell. He has made one vessel for honor and one for dishonor. How clear is that?

Let’s talk about the doctrine of Irresistible grace and the will of man.

Having already undertaken the doctrine of original sin, acknowledging that all men are sinful and at enmity with God outside of Christ, what kind of will do men actually possess? Is it random? For example, do men have the ability to choose good over evil? Sure, evil men even do good things from time to time. I am sure Hitler was not absolutely bad; did he not cater to the German people. Have you heard of the BTK killer? Dennis Rader was a member of Christ Lutheran Church and had been elected president of the Congregation Council. He was a serial killer between 1974-1991. He was known for his pot luck dinners. He killed ten people that we know of. In the same way, believers do evil things? Are they evil akin to Rader? Jesus said that if you are angry with your brother without cause, you have essentially committed murder. What believer has never gotten angry with his brother at one time or another? It happens. Gossip? Covetousness? Lewd thoughts of the mind are akin to adultery. The question is, what does our nature say of these propensities? What are we inclined to do-that is the thing.

The scriptures tell us that we are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness; you cannot be both.

John 8:34   Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”

Rom. 6:6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

Rom. 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?  17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

Rom. 6:20   For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Eph. 2:1   And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,  2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

2 Peter 2:19 – They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Galatians 4:8-9 – Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 – We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Romans 7:14 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

2 Timothy 2:25-26 – God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Jer. 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots?”

Calvin writes on this verse:

“God declares in this verse, that the people were so hardened in their wickedness, that there was no hope of their repentance. This is the sum of what is said. But it was a very bitter reproof for the Prophet to say that his own nation were past hope — that they had so entirely given themselves up to their vices that they were no longer healable. But he uses a comparison, — Can the Ethiopian, 355 he says, change his skin? Blackness is inherent in the skin of the Ethiopians, as it is well known. Were they then to wash themselves a hundred times daily, they could not put off their blackness. The same also must be said of leopards or panthers, and we know that these animals are besprinkled with spots. Such then is the spotted character of the leopard or panther,356 that whatever might be done to him he would still retain his color. We now then see what the Prophet means — that the Jews were so corrupted by long habit that they could not repent, for the devil had so enslaved them that they were not in their right mind; they no longer had any discernment, and could not discriminate between good and evil.”

Example: If we caged a lion and fed him grass or veggies, would he eat it? How about if we caged sheep and fed them meat, would they eat the meat? Neither would eat that which is against their nature. Both would starve to death and die eventually. Creation follows the order which is intrinsic to their nature.

The Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 9:4

“When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of Grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do what is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly nor only will what is good, but also wills what is evil.”

Relevant passages on the doctrine:

Romans 1:24-27 – Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Ephesians 2:3 – we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Proverbs 21:10 – The soul of the wicked desires evil

John 3:19 – And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”

Titus 1:15-16 – to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.

Romans 7:18 – For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

Isaiah 1:5-6 – The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.

Is. 64:6    But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

Having established that the will of the sinner, outside of Christ is a slave to sin and bound by evil thoughts and desires, ‘continuously’, what kind of will does those who do not have Christ? A will that is enslaved to unrighteousness. Their predisposition is to evil only. Is this will free? Even their good deeds are but filthy rags. It is not a will that is ever free. All mankind is either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness; there is no in-between. So ultimately, man’s will is never free.

John Hendryx writes:

“If the natural man has a free will to believe the gospel, then why does he need grace? If his will is naturally free then it would do away with the need for grace altogether…To teach that the natural man has a free will overthrows the gospel … it is precisely because man is in bondage that he needs Christ to set him free.” (John 8:34, 36)

“The fact that no man can choose to live a sinless life is proof positive that he has no free will. He is held captive under the yoke of sin and thus he sins willingly and of necessity … and he cannot do otherwise.”

C. H. Spurgeon writes:

“Free-will or Free-grace?; The Bible says that men are born again, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13); that it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy (Rom 9;16); the work of faith is the operation of God according to the exceeding greatness of his power, who works in man both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13) “Free will I have often heard of, but I have never seen it. I have always met with will, and plenty of it, but it has either been led captive by sin or held in the blessed bonds of grace.”

Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will, pg. 270

“All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with “free-will”, and these are countless … For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because “free-will” can do nothing.”

More from Luther:

If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.

John Calvin writes:

“…human will does not by liberty obtain grace, but by grace obtains liberty.”

 

“We are all sinners by nature ,therefore we are held under the yoke of sin . But if the whole man is subject to the dominion of sin , surely the will , which is it’s principal seat , must be bound with the closest of chains. And indeed if divine grace were preceded by any will of ours, Paul could not have said that ,” it is God that worketh in us to will and to do ‘ (Phil. 2:13)

“…we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. We do away with coercion and force, because this contradicts the nature of the will and cannot coexist with it. We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. And from this it is possible to deduce what a great difference there is between necessity and coercion. For we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced. We locate the necessity to sin precisely in corruption of the will, from which follows that it is self-determined.”

Above quotes taken from: http://www.monergism.com/topics/free-will

Argument # 2

The next issue she raised has to do with infants.  The previous section addresses infants. Are infants saved in another way than the rest of mankind because they are young? No, all men are saved in the same fashion. There is only one gospel and there is only one truth. All men are judged in Christ, the age of the person is irrelevant.

I will quote the Westminster Confession on the issue:

Chapter 10:

III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

Notice that the confession uses the term ‘elect’ infants. In light of this term, I believe we will have to address what the doctrine of election is as to come to a conclusion on this subject.

You do recall, as mentioned earlier when we discussed sin, how in the flood, there were assuredly infants involved.  These infants were not elect infants.  Only Noah found ‘favor’ with God. The children in the flood did not find ‘favor’.  Noah was elect.

Lets look at some foundational verses in regards to this doctrine:

Eph. 1:3   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,  6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

This word, ‘chose’ in the Greek is:

1586. ἐκλέγω eklego; from 1537 and 3004; to select: —choose(4), chose(7), chosen(8), made a choice(1), picking out(1), select(1).
This is essentially the same word here when we speak of the word ‘elect’.

1588. ἐκλεκτός eklektos; from 1586; select, by impl. favorite: —choice(2), choice man(1), chosen(10), Chosen One(1), elect(8).

The word elect, elected, election, elect’s is used in scripture some 28 times-not mentioning other English usages beyond the term. The doctrine cannot be avoided.

Here is one interesting example:

Rom. 11:7   What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

and here:

Matt. 24:22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

And here:

Col. 3:12   Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

David Dickson writes:

“The reason why there is no unrighteousness in election, is this: Because it is the most supreme and free pleasure of God to exercise His mercy; He hath free power to do what He will with His own, as it appears out of the word of the Lord to Moses (Exod. 33:19). Therefore there is no unrighteousness in God, seeing that in election He does with His mercy what He will.”

Exodus 33:19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”

What and who exactly are the ‘elect’?

The Covenant of Redemption:

R. C. Sproul writes:

“The covenant of redemption is the agreement made between the members of the Trinity in order to bring us salvation. We find allusions to it in several biblical texts. Under this covenant, the Father plans redemption and sends the Son in order to save His people. The Son agrees to be sent and to do the work necessary to save the elect (John 10:17–18), and the Spirit agrees to apply the work of Christ to us by sealing us unto salvation (Eph. 1:13–14).”

This covenant comprises only the elect of God.  You recall the passage in Ephesians that I provided above. That passage says that God chose, elected us in Him, prior to the foundation of the world, predestined to an adoption as sons, by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to His will.  Read that again. Well, you may be thinking, ‘God elects based on what he sees me doing. When I utilize my ‘free will’, God sees that outside of time and elects me based on that. God looks down the corridor of time and chooses me based on my choosing Him!’

John Hendryx of Monergism says:

If I understand the “foreseen faith” position correctly, the following three ideas express the central concepts that this position holds:

1. The salvation of individuals is ultimately the result of their choice rather than divine appointment (alone).

2. Election is based upon God foreseeing the faith of certain individuals rather than only being in accordance with His pleasure and merciful will.

3. Election is conditional, based upon the acceptance of Jesus Christ and not the determination of God, even though God’s grace is certainly involved in this process.

How does one reconcile this passage in Titus 3:

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,  5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,  6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Again Romans chapter 9:

Rom. 9:10   And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),  12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

Do you get what this passage is saying? Before the children were even born, God elected and predestined Jacob as a son of promise and excluded his brother, Esau from that promise. God hated Esau! Jacob, He loved. Outside of Christ, does God love men?

Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;  You hate all who do iniquity. 6 You destroy those who speak falsehood;  The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. 7 But as for me, aby Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house,  At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.

The verse in Titus shows that God chose us in Him, not based on anything we had done. What could He have seen us doing down the corridor that would have inclined Him to save us? Nothing! That’s what this scripture says. As well, who actually chose?

Jesus said plainly:

John 6:70   Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

John 13:18   “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’

John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Does God choose all infants or any particular peoples group? No, He does not. Think like Jew for the moment. During Jesus’ ministry, was salvation of the gentiles? What happened to Gentiles prior to the cross? Sure there were some gentiles that were amidst the elect; However, by and large, salvation was of the Jews.

Jesus again settles this:

John 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

Calvin writes:

“Because salvation is from the Jews. By these words he means that they have the superiority in this respect, that God had made with them a covenant of eternal salvation. Some restrict it to Christ, who was descended from the Jews; and, indeed, since all the promises of God were confirmed and ratified in him, (2 Corinthians 1:20,) there is no salvation but in him. But as there can be no doubt that Christ gives the preference to the Jews on this ground, that they do not worship some unknown deity, but God alone, who revealed himself to them, and by whom they were adopted as his people;”

The gentile inclusion had not happened yet. Let’s take this a step further; What about the children of the Egyptians, Samaritans, etc.? No, they had no part in God’s plan. Israel was God’s people. So what happened to the infants that Israel killed in battle? God commanded Israel at times to kill everyone in the enemy camp, this to include even their animals.

1 Samuel 15:2 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.  3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”

Having said all of this, one can come to the conclusion, based on the doctrine of election and the doctrine of original sin that God saves whom He will and in that alone. All peoples outside of this elective decree perish for their sin. They are outside of the covenant.

Argument # 3

‘God predestines some men to Hell’.

Well, this is a hot topic, but needful.  This biblical fact rests in lapsarianism; That being, did God decree a thing before the fall or because of the fall?  Lets look at Romans chapter 9 again:

Rom. 9:10   And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),  12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

God predestined, according to election, Jacob as a son of promise and excluded Esau from the promise. This exclusion in itself is an election unto reprobation. If God leaves a man in his sin, by not bringing that man to Christ, he is in essence damning that man. Since the Covenant of Redemption happened outside of time, before the foundation of the world, it can be logically said that men are then predestined either to salvation via election or damnation via election. There is no other conclusion one can draw. If you hold to the doctrine of election, and mind you, as we have proven easily, the word and doctrine is highly scriptural,  by default exclude people. Not all are elect.

As well, keep in mind, recall what we discussed in the beginning of this paper, all men have sinned, all men deserve hell; who can complain against God if he saves some men? No one. Even now, being thankful for God’s grace and mercy in my life, I still acknowledge that I deserve hell. If you do not think like this, you are disregarding God’s word on the matter.

lets talk a bit about God’s grace; God’s grace is irresistible as it goes hand in hand with these other doctrines.

Argument #4 God forces men against their will to believe in Him.

Psalm 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in holy splendour:

John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not 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 Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

The statement by Christ shows that the Covenant of redemption, between the Father and the Son was predetermined. God the Father gives God the Son a peoples for Himself; This is better known as the church or the Bride of Christ. ‘All that the Father gives me, will come to me and I will lose none!

John 6:43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

R. C. Sproul writes on this passage:

“Some have said that draw only means “woo” or “entice.”… This interpretation of John 6:44 is impossible, however. In James 2:6, we read, “Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” In Acts 16:19 we find,” They… dragged them into the marketplace.” The same Greek word is used in all three verses. Obviously, mere enticement is not in view here. Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, a standard scholarly work on New Testament Greek, tells us that the word translated draw in John 6:44 means “to compel by irresistible authority.” It was used in classical Greek for drawing water from a well. We do not entice or persuade water to leave the well; we force it against gravity to come up by drawing it. So it is with us. We are so depraved that God must drag us to himself.”

You following R.C.? The same word used in Acts is used to describe how the apostles were ‘dragged’ into the marketplace is the same word used in the passage in John about God drawing the sinner to Himself. This word is an aggressive ‘dragging’; a pulling or tugging as if one was yanking on a rope pulling one’s boat to shore.

Lets look at it:

Acts 16:16   Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.  17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”  18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.  19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

The above is the same dragging that occurs under God’s irresistible grace.

Lydia’s heart was opened of God. Think John 3:3

Acts 16:14 14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, ba worshiper of God, was listening; 1and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

John 1:9   There was the true Light 1which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.  10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,  13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

You get that? Not born because a man walked an aisle or because of his personal will to be saved, neither because of his blood line, but born solely on God’s will.

Here is a good paper on aisle walking and decisions of the flesh:

http://www.semperreformanda.com/doctrine-2/decisional-regeneration-by-james-adams/

1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Heb. 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

John 3:3   Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The words ‘born again’ in the Greek shed light on irresistible grace.

Born: GK G1164 | S G1080   γεννάω   gennaō   97x

to beget, generate, Mt. 1:2-16, et al.; of women, to bring forth, bear, give birth to,

GK G540 | S G509   ἄνωθεν   anōthen   13x

from above, from a higher place, Jn. 3:31; of time, from the first or beginning,

You following this; ‘Unless a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. The new birth is irresistible and comes down from heaven. It cannot be welled up by men appealing to you to walk an aisle. I will note however that some men are saved in this novelty. God having regenerated them prior to their thinking that their decision was based on their flesh. More times than not, this novelty brings about false assurance and it is highly unbiblical.

The story of Lazarus is instrumental in understanding the creators power when he calls.

John 11:33   Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.  34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” John 11:35   Jesus wept.  36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” John 11:37   And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” John 11:38   Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” John 11:40   Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Could Lazarus have resisted?

What about the Apostle Paul? He is heading in one direction and God turns him around in his tracks. he is a slave to sin and then he is slave to righteousness.

Acts 9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:3   As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.  4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Acts 9:5   And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 9:6   So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:7   And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.  8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.  Acts 9:10   Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”  Acts 9:11   So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Acts 9:13   Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.  14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” Acts 9:15   But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:17   And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”

I suppose Paul could resist? When God speaks, life responds accordingly.

Gen. 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Daniel 4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

Psalm 115: 2 Why should the Gentiles say,

“So where is their God?”

3    But our God is in heaven;

He does whatever He pleases.

4    Their idols are silver and gold,

The work of men’s hands.

5    They have mouths, but they do not speak;

Eyes they have, but they do not see;

6    They have ears, but they do not hear;

Noses they have, but they do not smell;

7    They have hands, but they do not handle;

Feet they have, but they do not walk;

Nor do they mutter through their throat.

8    Those who make them are like them;

So is everyone who trusts in them.

Contrasting views:

Resistible grace

If God’s grace can be resisted, what does this say for His power? The creature becomes the creator. If God left the plan in our hands, we would destroy everything. If salvation is left up to us, possibly none of us would come as we discussed, our depravity is total. We would never want God if not for His dragging us to Himself. Left up to us, it is possible that heaven would be empty, Envision this, God up in the heavens wringing his hands in anxiety while waiting on His plan to unfold, dependant on his creatures to fulfill it.

Conditional election

God chooses men based on their height, color, works, nation, etc. This is silly at best. What could be found in men that would make God choose them? Some may say, “God chose me because I chose him, because I love Him!’. Well, we just went over all those verses about God choosing us based on nothing we did; that He loved us first; hence this is the only reason we love him. The view of conditional election is totally preposterous. conditional election is Arminian; it is based upon works and we know that works do not save. If works save, why did Christ have to die? If Christ died, was it insufficient? Is it Christ and works that justify? No, it is Christ alone; our works are what flow from the justification in Christ alone.

Sadly to say, most people understand scripture in this flawed fashion. Most people do not get it. Thats as well is predetermined. Jesus Himself said it best:

Matt. 7:13   “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

 

 

I pray this paper encourages you, strengthens your walk and reveals more of the grace of God.

For more on TULIP, Go Here: http://www.semperreformanda.com/doctrine-2/tulip-the-synod-of-dordt/ 

For a more extensive treatment on the doctrine of the Will, go here: http://www.semperreformanda.com/doctrine-2/a-paper-on-jonathan-edwards-books-religious-affections-and-freedom-of-the-will/

 

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