God’s will or man’s will? Bible verses showing clear FREE WILL examples

matt. 12

Verses used to suggest that God’s will always happens

The Bible is replete with verses that show how God is warning, begging, urging, persuading and pleading with people to do his will, and other verses which show his anger, disappointment, sadness, etc, when they do not. Man’s free will choices are very apparent in the Bible, and yet there are christians (like calvinists – if they want to be consistent with their doctrines) who believe that man is not able to act against God’s will at any time. The article would be too long to include all verses which show man’s free will (isn’t that close to 1/3 of the Bible?), but further down below are a few examples.

First a few verses which calvinists often use to support the idea that God’s will (whether people sin or not) always happens. For the most part they try to defend the bible contradictions they themselves produce by suggesting that God has two wills. (Just as though our Lord has conflicting wills, and just as though at least one of them wants man to sin and be evil…). If God’s will always happens – what is SIN? Surely not breaking the God’s commandments which can’t be broken?

Rom. 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

The topic is God’s prerogative to bring about salvation in any way he wants, and Paul is trying to make the jews understand that they are not saved only because they are born jews – Rom 9:2-9; 24-33. He mentions that he has grief in his heart due to being deeply concerned about his countrymen (something that should not bother him, had he trusted in that God’s will always happens), and that the blood line of Jacob will brought forth the Messiah. He also emphasizes that people are being saved due to God’s mercy – but certainly not unconditionally. God has the right to show mercy on those who choose to believe, and harden those who stubbornly sin like Pharaoh did. (The mere fact that God chooses to harden people shows that their hearts were not fully hardened to start with.) If God decides to arrange his salvation plan in this particular way, there is no way anyone can resist his will because it’s his exclusive right. That is the subject of  his ”will” here, and it does not say that God can not change his mind and/or let man’s will happen in other areas. We already know from the Bible that God has changed his mind in numerous occasions due to man’s actions – like in response to man’s repentance.

Ps 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Ps 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.6 Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.7 He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.

The above are psalms, and psalms can contain poetic language. That is why we should be careful to not use psalms and proverbs to start new doctrines. Yes, God has done whatsoever he pleases, but it does not say that he likes to micro manage human kind nor that he predestines every thing that happens. It could definitely have pleased God to create man with a free will. The point is that no one is like God, and it would not make sense to argue with him or try to find faults. God created man animals and the entire universe in exactly the way he pleased. It pleased God to create man with free will, despite knowing that man might use this will to disobey him. Israel often chose to do just that:

Psalm 81:11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me

More examples where God is described as the mighty one who has created everything exactly as he wants:

Is. 46:5 “To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal And compare Me, that we should be alike?6 They lavish gold out of the bag, And weigh silver on the scales; They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship.—8“Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors.9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’—12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: (NKJV)

Isaiah is referring to God’s creation in general terms. God may have created everything as he pleased (the foundation), but this does not mean that he programmed human beings to always obey him. A universe that works in that way (filled with programmed robots) would not please him. Above we can read that man can choose to worship false gods and be stubborn-hearted. They are referred to as transgressors. Transgressors of what? Surely the law of God? They are far from being those righteous people who God would have wanted.

Isaiah 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children BECAUSE of the iniquity of their fathers, Lest they rise up and possess the land, And fill the face of the world with cities.”—24  The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying,“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:25 That I will break the Assyrian in My land, And on My mountains tread him underfoot.Then his yoke shall be removed from them, And his burden removed from their shoulders.26 This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?” (NKJV)

The horrible events that Isaiah is warning about, are due to man’s actions. Isaiah suggests, that unless the children of the sinful fathers are not killed the same would grow up and act in the very same way as their parents and fill the world with cities (and their wickedness). Who else than a Creator could figure this out with certainty, and who else has the authority to do something about it? Apparently God is not pleased with either the fathers or how the bring up their children. What we can read ”will come to pass” above, is not every single detail under the sun, but those things listed in this context.

Jer. 4:27 For thus says the Lord:“The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end.28 For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black, Because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, Nor will I turn back from it.29 The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowmen.They shall go into thickets and climb up on the rocks.Every city shall be forsaken, And not a man shall dwell in it. (NKJV)

Job 42:2 I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. (NKJV)

Same thing here. It’s about showing that God can do anything he wants, and if he has truly decided to bring something about (like the global flood) it will happen. He might also choose to wait with his decisions depending on mans’ actions.

Eph. 1:7 IN HIM we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—IN HIM. 11 IN HIM also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted IN CHRIST should be to the praise of His glory.13  IN HIM you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; IN WHOM also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (NKJV)

The promises in Eph 1-2 are only tied to those who are IN CHRIST, and we are in Christ only if we believe in him – and naturally show our faith with our deeds. As children of God we have been given the holy Spirit and the promise/guarantee that we will enter the kingdom of God because we belong to the body of Christ. However, this promise is still hinged on the condition of faith/loving God. If we no longer believe or bear fruit (see John 15), we are no longer in Christ. If you get a guarantee receipt you need to read the fine print, and you can’t expect to make use of your receipt if you throw it away. God ”works all things according to the counsel of His will”, but this does not mean he has a desire to force salvation on someone, nor save someone who has turned to living in sin. It’s about his marvelous salvation plan, and the wonderful promises to those who are IN CHRIST.

Verses that show that God’s will does not always happenacts 17

Matt. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.

”He that doeth the will of my Father”? Apparently the Father’s will does not always happen, since Jesus seems to separate those who do the will of his Father from those who do not. If everyone would always do the will of God – whether good or bad – then everyone would enter the kingdom of God, according to this verse.

Matt. 12.50 For WHOSOEVER SHALL DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Mark 3:35)

”Whosoever shall do the will of my Father”? If everyone would always do the will of God – whether good or bad – then the same would be Jesus ”brother, and sister, and mother”. (Meaning universalism).

John 7:17 IF ANY MAN WILL DO HIS WILL, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

”If any man will do his will?” Apparently Jesus does not believe that everyone always does the will of God.

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and DOETH HIS WILL, him he heareth.

”If any man—doeth his will”? Again, apparently Jesus does not side with the idea that God’s will always happens. Jesus separates those who worship God and obey him (doeth his will) with those who are SINNERS. This suggests that sinners are not doing the will of God (quite obviously since ”sin” by definition is an action against God’s commandments).

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOR EVER. 

”He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”? If everyone would always do the will of God, then everyone would abide for ever. Since everyone does not get saved according to the Bible, it shows that some people are not doing the will of God, and God’s will does not always happen. Moreover, the previous verse tells us that ”the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”. No wonder we can read that such things are not of the Father since the things listed are clear sins (of the world). If such worldly things take place, they are obviously against God’s will and ”not of the Father” as John plainly states.

Hebr. 10: 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise (NKJV)

Why must we have endurance/patience? What happens if we lack in patience? Would that result in a scenario where we do not always do the will of God? Would we still receive the promise if we failed to show endurance? The author does not seem to think so. Why would he warn us about something that could never take place?

Col. 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Ok, and what would happen if Epaphras would not labor fervently for the Colossians in prayers with the aim to make them stand complete in the will of God? Would they stand perfect and complete in the will of God regardless of prayers? Why pray if everyone always performs the will of God at all times?

Mark 13:14“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing WHERE IT OUGHT NOT” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (NKJV)

”Ought not” according to whom? God?

Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Why did God call the rich man ”fool”? Surely it would not be foolish to accomplish God’s will perfectly? This parable seems to be there as a warning, but how could this be if it’s not possible to act in the foolish way that is described in the parable?

Rom. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Apparently Paul does not think it’s a good idea to be conformed to this world, and urges us to renew our minds so that we can learn what is the perfect will of God. This means it’s up to us to start this process. Paul continues to tell his readers what they ”ought not”, which suggests that they might act in an opposite way which is not approved by God.

Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart (NKJV)

Jesus does not suggest that only believers ought to pray, but ”men” (can be translated all mankind, or men and women) should always pray and not lose heart. We know that not all men do this, so God’s will does not always happen.

1 Tim. 5:13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, SAYING THINGS WHICH THEY OUGHT NOT. (NKJV)

So they were saying things which they ought not, according to Paul? Interesting.

Titus 1:10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they OUGHT NOT, for the sake of dishonest gain. (NKJV)

More people who are saying things which they ought not.

Hebr. 5:12 For though by this time you OUGHT TO BE teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (NKJV)

The author of Hebrews clearly does not believe God’s will always happens.

Jam. 3:Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

If they ought not to be so, then clearly God’s will does not always happen.

Ephesians 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Do we have any other option?

Col. 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But HE WHO DOES WRONG will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. (NKJV)

”He who does wrong”? In a world where God’s will always happens?

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. (NKJV)

Resisting the Holy Ghost is resisting God.

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Acts 13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

In 1 Sam. 8 we can read that God did not think it was a good idea to set up a king for Israel at this time. In fact, he thought it was a very bad idea and warned the Israelites against it. When they were still adamant about the project, God gave in to their wishes. Still, God ended up regretting making Saul to be a king (1 Sam. 15:11), and in 1 Sam. 13:14 we can even read the reason;  ”thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee, clearly showing that Saul did not act according to God’s will. King David did so much better as a King, and even though he did accomplish to be a faithful servant who obeyed God during all his life time we still know there was at least one exception in relation to the matter of Uriah and his wife (1 King. 15:5). That ordeal was evil in the eyes of God (2 Sam. 12:9) and therefore against his will.

Jer. 17:22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

More stiff-necked people who refuse to do God’s will, and God is unsure if they will ”hearken” to him.

Ez.  16:26 Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.27 Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way.

Why would God be angry at fornication and whoredoms if his will always come to pass? And why does God, due to man’s actions (Israel), deliver them ”unto the will” of their enemy? Why would he separate the will of Israel’s enemy with his own will, as though they would not be one and the same? This procedure certainly sounds like a punishment against Israel for the only reason that they did not obey God.

Is. 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit,Who leads you by the way you should go.18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.19 Your descendants also would have been like the sand, And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; His name would not have been cut off Nor destroyed from before Me.” (NKJV)

Why does God exclaim ”Oh, that you had heeded my commandments”? Why all the ”would have been”, had his people obeyed him?

Ps. 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

Why this urgent need? Does not God’s will happen if David is not sufficiently taught to do his will?

Lev. 4:22 When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty;23 Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:— .27 And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;28 Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.

”Things which ought not to be done”? I did not think that was possible in a world where God’s will always happens?

Deuteronomy 8:20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; BECAUSE ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

”Because ye would not be obedient…” That is the reason for perishing.

Jer. 19:5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:

Jer. 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Those couple of verses speak for themselves. People sinned severely and caused others to sin, which naturally didn’t even enter God’s mind that they would do. Throwing children in the fire as an offering to Baal is naturally an abomination and why would God force people to commit such a horrible sin?

Jer. 26:13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.

Ez. 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

If God’s will always happens, he would not be dependent on man’s actions.

1 Peter 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. (NASB)

We are asked to not use our freedom as a covering for evil. Peter does not believe God’s will automatically takes place.

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (NKJV)

But surely doing evil would be equally acceptable if all things happen according to the will of God?

Matt. 23: 47 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! + Luke 13:34

Exactly.

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