Etikettarkiv | choose

A new heart which will cause us to perfectly walk in God’s statutes? Ezekiel 36:26-27

Ja 4

Ez. 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Calvinists normally love the idea that God randomly chooses some individuals out of a crowd of people and give the former a new heart, a new Spirit, which will enable them to have faith in God and to be able to follow him. (Who cares about the rest, right?) Unfortunately they run into problems within the same verse when we can read about being caused to walk in God’s statutes. In NIV it reads ”move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws”. So if Calvinists are among those who have been given a new heart as per Ez. 36:26-27, does this mean that they always obey God’s decrees without failing even once? Have they completely stopped sinning? It is a relevant question because Calvinists are usually more keen than others to teach that all men ”always sin in thoughts, words and deeds”.  Or can we conclude that God fails at times when he tries to cause his elect to walk in his statutes, knowing that also Calvinists can choose to sin at times?

I think the better solution is to side with the Free-will option which suggests that it is the holy Spirit which is referred to here as the great Helper which can guide us (move us) on the right path, but not necessarily unconditionally or without our participation. Hebr. 10 phrases it as ”I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them”. ”Causing” could signify ”forcing” but it could also mean ”influencing” which would here make a lot more sense. That would also help the Calvinists who must try to explain why God fails to ”force” people to always obey him, as they suggest the verse says. On the other hand, loads of Calvinists confess that they believe God also causes people to sin (since nothing happens against his will) so whether people avoid sin or not, God would still be the one who makes them behave the way they do. This leads to another question:

If some people are given a particular heart that suddenly makes them obey God and walk in his statutes (which would here include sin), does this mean that prior to this moment they were not forced to walk in his statutes and in whatever way God wants them to walk? If they were forced to obey God also prior to the new heart, what difference did the new heart really make? If God chooses some people (his elect) to always walk in his statutes, will the rest (the non-elect) be able to deviate from God’s preferred path and walk their own ways?

The promise of a new heart is by faith, and concerns the holy Spirit in our heartsBlood of Jesus

The promise of a new purified heart is by faith as can be seen in the verses below and it can be cleansed in the blood of Jesus. The new heart is in reference to a heart that is dedicated to God and the holy Spirit indwelling in our hearts as well as through participation of a the covenant which Paul describes in Rom. 8. It is through the power of the Spirit that the believer can put to death the misdeeds of the flesh and live according to the Spirit. This is the fulfillment of the promise given in Ezekiel 36:26-27, but we can also read about other prophesies in the same chapter (concerning the promise that the dispersed Israel will be able to come home). The passage is in harmony with the Bible’s teaching that the promises and benefits of the new covenant are by faith (not being born as a Jew under the law of Moses) and include a new heart and the holy Spirit which we will get in response to our true repentance.

The author of Hebrews encourages us to draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith. How do we get a true heart? By having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. How can this be achieved? By repenting of our sins which God expects us all to do (Acts. 17:30):

Hebr. 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;21 And having an high priest over the house of God;22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

The covenant referred to above is the one mentioned in Jer. 31. Here we can read about a former covenant which Israel broke:

Jer. 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

We are also asked to cleanse our hands and purify our own hearts

Ja. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. CLEANSE your hands, ye sinners; and PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, ye double minded.

So how our WE going to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts? By standing on faith and by confessing sins, repenting and thus become cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We do not have the authority to forgive ourselves for breaking God’s law, but it is up to us to repent and start living a holy life with the help of the holy Spirit given to us after our conversion.

Peter speaks about the heathens and their possibility to also receive the Holy Ghost (without having to go through a circumcision of the flesh) and explains that our hearts are purified BY FAITH:

Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts BY FAITH.10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Through the mercy of Christ we can be forgiven for our past iniquities and thus be cleansed from our sins and be complete. Sinning will always cause spiritual death, but we can be quickened (becoming spiritually alive) if we decide to repent from our sins. We can be risen with him ”through faith”!:

Col. 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

repent 4The order of salvation: pursuing faith, confessing sins, repenting, being cleansed (regeneration), being born again, getting the holy Spirit and becoming a child of God

Peter makes it clear that the order of salvation is 1) having faith, 2) repenting, 3) resulting in cleansing/washing (=regeneration), 4) resulting in being born again, 5) resulting in getting the holy Ghost and becoming a child of God. God will certainly not declare us cleansed and righteous while we are still living in sin:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Also John says that we must confess our sins (repent) in order to be cleansed from them:

1 John 1:9 If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And below we can read that his own received him not (strange if people are chosen to be chosen elect from the foundation of the world) but that those who a) received him were given the power to b) become the sons of God (those who believe in his name). It does not say the other way around that the sons of God were given the power to believe and receive him:

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Below we can read about Paul’s disappointment concerning some Galatians (for whom Jesus was crucified) who risked to believe in vain despite having begun in the Spirit. He asks ”who has bewitched you?”, and if Paul was a Calvinist he should have known that the answer must be ”God did, because he directs all of our steps” if nothing happens against God’s will. Paul also asks if they received the Spirit by works of the law (the law of Moses) or by the hearing of FAITH, indicating that they were not first given the Spirit and afterwards given faith. No, naturally faith is first and then we are provided with the Spirit:

Gal. 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

Other information in the same chapter – Ez. 36

Hes. 36:5 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.

What would be the reason for God’s jealousy if all things turn out God’s way?

17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it:19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

Wow, above we read about Israel (God’s elect) defiling land, worshiping false gods, profaning God’s name, and this naturally cause God’s fury. Why would God be furious about things that turned out the way God wanted? We can read ”according to their way and according to their doings I judged them”. I thought it was always God’s doing if nothing ever happens against his will? And why judge people who constantly obey God whether they avoid sin or not?

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Also above we can read about Israel turning to filthiness and idols which they must be cleansed from. After the washing of sins, the holy Spirit is the great Helper.

31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.33 Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

Above we can read about ”your own evil ways” and their doings that were ”not good”. Why were they not good if God made them act the way they did? No, here we can once again read about people who have walked on their own ways, against God’s will. They have been guilty of iniquities and abominations before God, and obviously a righteous God would not cause anyone (must less Israel) to perform wicked abominations. Why does God suggest they should be ashamed and confounded for their own ways, if their ways always lined up with God’s way?

Examples of hardening of a heartlove4

Deut. 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward

Jer. 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Hebr. 3:7 Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness

Ps 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Pro 28:13He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.14 Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

2 Chron 36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORDhis God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.

Deut 15:7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

Deut 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (Notice that God will circumcise their hearts AFTER they return to Him which is a condition.)

1 King. 8:58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.—61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

2 Chron. 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.

Read about Pharao’s rebellious heart here.

Annonser

If God only loves SOME – his elect – why cannot also we love SOME people?

love4

Why not loving only SOME people if our God only loves SOME people?

We are told to love one another because God loved us and to be merciful as him, but if the truth is rather that God only loved SOME of us – his elect – then why would it be wrong for us to act in a similar way by loving and being merciful to only a select few?

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God—11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

The calvinistic view is that God chose some to be elect and others to be non-elect (ending up to be wicked sinners unwilling to repent) from the creation of the world, and surely it wouldn’t be accurate to say that God ”loved” the non-elect since he predestined them to be damned? Some calvinists might insist on that ”he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45) means that God pours out his love and blessings also on the non-elect. However, that’s like saying it’s true ”love” to invite someone out for a delightful picnic with lots of wonderful treats, just to push the same person off a cliff when the dinner is over. (It’s a better choice to trust the Bible which says that God doesn’t want anyone to perish and whose only son died for everyone.)

The Bible says that ”IF God so loved us, we ought to love each other”, but what if he did not love us? Wouldn’t this give us a logical reason to not love everyone? It certainly sounds as though we are only expected to love God if he loves us, and if God fails to do his part (loving us) then we are not bound to do our part either (loving one another). So the point remains the same however you turn it. If it’s ”love” for God to show mercy and good intentions only on some people (creating most people for hell), then why would it be wrong for us humans to act in a similar way by being selective about which ones to love?

Calvinists might protest and say that unlike God we don’t know who is elect or non-elect and therefore we should be merciful and loving to everyone, but wouldn’t this at least show that you would not be speaking the truth if you told non-christians that you (or God) love them? There is a huge risk that they might remain non-christians throughout their lives, and if they died as non-believers it would prove (if we want to be consistent with the ”God-loves-some-doctrine”) that God in fact did not love them but predestined them to be fuel in the fire. So why would you have concern for their souls and love them if God doesn’t love them? Do you have a greater heart than God?

The Bible tells us that there will be few people who find the narrow way that leads to life (Matt. 7:14), and that means that there is a greater chance that God does not love a person than that he loves him/her (again, if we want to be consistent with this doctrine). The Bible however, tells us repeatedly that God ”loves” Israel, despite that some Israelites were later destroyed by God due to being disobedient. Apparently it’s possible to love people who will later perish.

What if we truly behaved just like the calvinistic God – and showed the same kind of ”love” and ”mercy” as he does – and selected some unfortunate individuals to torture and even kill. We would still not reach the same horrible type of love and mercy as the calvinistic God, because he turns people in to non-elect sinners (with no choice whatsoever) and sends them to suffer for eternity. Note, that they won’t suffer due to their sins, but due to having the nerve to be born as the non-elect wicked sinners as God predestined them to be.

Greater love has no man than the one who lays down his life for his friends says John. 15:13, and there are even agnostic/atheistic soldiers who have done this both for friends and for others despite not really knowing them well at all. Many atheists would gladly die for anyone of their children, regardless if the children were good kids or not. Do agnostics have a greater love than Jesus who apparently didn’t lay down his life for all people even though he could? What if a father treated some of his children really well and left the rest to suffer, and defended his case with ”I’m just showing the same type of love as God does”? 

The question is; if God can be selective about the ones he decides to love and be merciful to (by making a certain amount of people elect and much-loved), then why can’t we do the same? Why would it be wrong for us to select certain individuals that we decide to pour out our love on, while turning our backs on the rest? Are we not told to be merciful as God, to be perfect like him, and to love one another just the way God does?

Some verses to studygreatest commandment

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Suffice to say that the loving and merciful God of the Bible is completely different from the made-up calvinistic God, whose ”love” is both frightful and harmful.

Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.—33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, 

Our neighbors might be both believers or unbelievers, but Jesus tells us to love them period.

Ezek. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?—32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.—21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.—11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.—18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.19 We love him, because he first loved us.20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

1 King. 10:9 Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

1 Chron. 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

God will judge us based on our faith and KNOWLEDGE

calvinism 13

I believe that we all have a chance to be saved, including those who have never had a chance to hear about Jesus Christ – like the oft-mentioned jungle people. The Bible teaches us that we will be judged based on what we know, and also IF we are striving to get more knowledge about our Creator, his mighty deeds and his eternal power. We are encouraged to believe the truth (and to DO the truth) and to come to the light.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.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.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

We are not able to choose between believe or believe not unless we have reached a certain mature age, which means that babies and small children are not able to make such a decision. Babies (whether born or unborn), are not able to lose their souls because they are not aware of the law and they have no ability to sin. Hell is for unrepentant sinners, and not for innocent blood.

Deut. 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

Rom. 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Those who lived during the old testament were not able to believe in a person who had not appeared in the flesh yet (Jesus Christ), but they were of course able to believe in GOD (which Jesus Christ also is) and to get to know his will. In the old testament it was faith in God and living holy lives which could save a person, and just like in the new testament, people were able to REPENT and be restored back to life again. God is merciful!

Is. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,—7 And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;8 He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.—18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.—20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.—26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Isaiah continues on the same note a few chapters later:

Is. 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. —8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.—10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?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?12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.-–31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

Our conscience bears witness of what is in our hearts, and we will be judged accordinglyproverbs

Paul warns us about ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, but in order to act in a wicked way we must first be old enough to be aware of the law and choosing to be disobedient (despite that we could have chosen to be obedient). We will be judged according to our choices and actions, but babies are not able to make any choices whether good or bad. If we repent for our sins, ALL our transgressions will be forgiven and we are completely cleansed!

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:—28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;—:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It’s possible to by nature DO the things in the law, even if we do not have the law. This is revealed by the law written in our hearts, and what our conscience and thoughts reveal about us.

Romans 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another😉

We will be judged based on what we know, what we don’t know, and our willingness to get to know God and his ways. If we are blessed with lots of knowledge and abilities, much is also required from us.

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, NEITHER DID ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, shall be beaten with many stripes.48 But he that KNEW NOT, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

If we are able to see mighty works of God, God expects more from us.

Matt. 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

The parable about the servants who were given different amounts of talents. It shows us that we might start out in a way that might not seem equal, but we will be judged based on what we do with what we have. Our permanent life is not spent on this planet, but in the afterlife.

Matt. 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You would have no sin if…

John. 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 

Not everyone is doing 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.

1 John. 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 Cor. 7:6 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin,[b] does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better. (NKJV)

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.

Do we seek knowledge or do we refuse to fear the Lord?

Prov. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.—22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Prov. 2:5 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

FREE WILL is in the Bible, as well as CHOOSE

narrow gateIt’s interesting that words such as sovereign, sovereignty, depraved and depravity are not mentioned in the Bible (KJV), but free will, and choose are used several times – in relation to man’s ability to choose between two or more options. These words must not be present in the Bible for them to be true, because the Bible is replete with people who make choices – and often very bad choices against God’s will. We certainly can’t accomplish all the things we want in this world, but free will is often labeled as the ability to make contrary choices.

The lack of a word in the Bible is of course not necessarily evidence for that the concept of this word is non-existent in the Bible, because most christians believe in both monotheism and the trinity without the actual presence of these words. However, if the words themselves are not present in the Bible, then at least the concept of them must be there – just as the case is with monotheism and trinity. Problems start to arise when people change meanings of words, or add ideas into the Bible that simply aren’t there.

God is ”sovereign” but certainly not in the way that reformed believers suggest. A sovereign God can do whatever he wants, including creating man with free will.

Matt. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into thekingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

He who does the will of God the Father? I thought 100% of all people always did his will – in the calvinistic world?

Free will in the Bible

The following verses are mainly about man’s free will offerings, but if all of our offers are based on God’s decree and predestination, why even using expressions such as ”and of every one that willingly offered a free will offering unto the Lord” as though there is a free will and an actual choice involved? In the reformed view, are not 100% of all offers based on God’s will alone? So why all these confusing ”free will” terms? Isn’t it also strange that words must change meanings in order to fit with a preferred doctrine? It seems like some words have one meaning outside of the Bible, and another meaning inside the Bible – such as the term Free Will. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Leviticus 22:18 Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering;

Numbers 15:3 And will make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the Lord, of the herd or of the flock

Ezra 3:5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the Lord.

Ezra 7:16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

Psalm 54:6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O Lord; for it is good.

Hosea 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him

Revelation 22:17 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.

”Choose” – chooseExamples where God is asking man to choose between options, and/or indications of that man can choose the wrong path

Deut. 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.—14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.—19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.—27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

2 Sam. 24:10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me. (+ 1 Chron. 21:10-11)

Prov. 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Prov. 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Is. 41:23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.

Is. 56:4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Is. 65:12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

Is. 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Ez. 21:18 The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying,19 Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city

Phil. 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which isfar better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, (NKJV)

”Chose” and ”chosen” – Examples in past tense, where God is asking man to choose between options, and/or indications of that man can choose the wrong pathcalvinism 4

 Gen. 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Gen. 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other

Jud. 10:13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation

1 Sam. 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.—18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; (1 Sam. 12:13)

Ps. 119:173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

Is. 66:3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Jer. 8:1 At that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:—3 And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the Lord of hosts.—5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 14:7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. (NKJV)

Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Acts 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Why did God create us, despite knowing we would mess up?

A parable about a party invitation for ALL

Some christians feel it’s strange that God would let his son die for people He knows ahead of time will never believe in him, and that’s why they prefer to believe that Jesus only died for SOME people who will DEFINITELY be saved because they are specifically PRE-CHOSEN to be the lucky ELECT. But I don’t find dying for ALL people despite knowing the risks/results involved is a paradox at all. What about those who DO choose to believe in him? They will be heirs to the kingdom, and the thing is that ALL are given this opportunity so no one is left out or is unfairly treated. God is totally fair and merciful to all!

Most young couples are aware of the risk that some of their future children might not turn out as obedient and morally upright human beings,  but they are willing to take this risk since children (and not robots) are a great blessing and a good company. Even if a married couple would be told that two of their ten not yet born children will end up as unbelievers, they will likely decide to have their children anyway. At least THEY (the parents) don’t force their children to become unbelievers. They might bring them up in a wonderful christian home and teach them all things about Christ and the Bible and how to be good moral people. If they still one day reject this teaching and become wicked individuals, then THEY (the children) are to be blamed and not the parents.

(We also have ”Open theism” as a possible factor, where God indeed knows ”all things” but only what is ”knowable”. Read more here. )

I’d like to compare God’s salvation offer to everyone with a party invitation even if it’s not a perfect analogy.

Let’s say I decide to have a party in my house. Of course I’m entitled to set up the rules and conditions myself, and I don’t need to ask anyone for advice or permission how to run things since I’m ”sovereign” over my own house  (sovereign is a word which is not in the KJV Bible but still…). I decide to invite EVERYONE in my entire neighborhood, and to use a RSVP (respondez s’il vous plait) on my invitation cards. I also PROMOTE my party and tell everyone that they would miss out big time if they will not come. My party is totally free of any costs, but I still have conditions. The following conditions/restrictions apply:

  • Had I not decided to have this party, there would not be a party. I personally initiated a ”drawing” or ”calling”.
  • All are invited but ONLY those who REPLY as per the RSVP may actually come
  • And out of those who reply affirmatively as per the RVSP, only those who SHOW UP at my party will be let in!
  • And those who have replied affirmatively and showed up must also be acceptably DRESSED to be let in.

(Maybe I could add that they must also BEHAVE during the entire duration of the party so they won’t disturb and ruin the party for the others, but when we will end up at the big wedding party in heaven all troublemakers will already be sorted out. It’s a good thing that ”sinners” are not welcomed to the big wedding party or else it would not be a pleasant time for the others.)

Even though I have all those conditions, the party is still totally FREE OF CHARGE. The guests could not do anything themselves to be invited to my party. Nothing we believe or do can ever merit salvation. We don’t deserve to be saved, but our Lord has enabled salvation to all of us in our totally lost state.

I could of course have arranged things differently…

I could make personal  invitations to CERTAIN people in my neighborhood and FORCE them to come to my party which I make MANDATORY for those I invite. I could also REFUSE to allow anyone else to come to my party EVEN THOUGH I have PLENTY OF ROOM, food, beverages, entertainment, etc for EVERYONE in the entire neighborhood.

The thing is though that I PREFER to invite ALL and to let THEM make up their mind if they want to come or not.  That means that whosoever wills can come and it would bring me much happiness to know that people have used their own minds when accepting my invitation. I would not feel good about having people around me who have no other choice but to be there whether they like to or not. God has created us in his image, and we are able to reason and make options depending on various circumstances.  God has also created LIMITATIONS to our free will. We simply can’t fly to March and back just because we have this desire and will. 

Is my party a total failure because all who were invited did not come? Can we say I was totally helpless and in the hands of the people I invited? Did someone make the rules instead of me? Did someone thwart my plans? Did I lose control? Did something happen unexpectedly which I didn’t think of? Did I not calculate the risks properly? Did I treat someone unfairly? Am I a wicked person because I did not force people to come? Should we feel sorry for those who did not come despite that they knew the truth about it? Am I illogical in my behavior? Did I at any time resort to Plan B?

Of course not! We would all have a great time at my party, and I would feel good about knowing that I made sure that ALL had a fair chance to come. I wouldn’t even want people at my party unless THEY had a sincere desire to come and to get to know me.Why is it out of the question that our sovereign Lord created us with the ability to accept/reject him and obey/disobey?

Compare also with the analogy of the wedding party in Matthew 22. Note that those who were bidden to come chose to NOT come, and those who did choose to come were called ”chosen”. Notice that no one is forced to do anything. Both good and bad were called but they were all required to wear WEDDING CLOTHES in order to be acceptable to the wedding party. We must repent from our sins and be holy and righteous and dressed in white undefiled garments. 

1. And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,And sent forth his servants TO CALL THEM THAT WERE BIDDEN to the wedding: and they would not come.Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14 For many are called, but few are chosen. 

Free will is Biblical, and the same as moral ability

MAN’S MORAL ABILITY AND THE RELATION IT HAS TO THE MORAL LAW
By Jesse Morrell (A section from the booklet “Free Will & Conscience”)

Moral ability and free will are synonymous terms, being identical in nature and meaning. Inability and free will are antonymous terms, being contrary in nature and meaning. Free will is the power of contrary choice. A man is able to do only what a man is free to do; and a man is free to do only what a man is able to do. Freedom speaks of the contingent, not of the necessitated, of that which was voluntarily chosen under liberty, and not that forced by necessity. A freewill choice is a choice that did not have to be chosen, but that was voluntarily chosen when the person could have chosen the opposite.

To be required or obligated to do better, and to be accountable or judged for failure to do better, one must be capable of doing better. To be capable of doing better, one must be free, or able, to do better. What a man is free to do, a man is capable, or able, of doing. If a man is not capable, then a man is not able or free, and if a man is not a free agent, then he is a necessitated agent who can no more have moral character than a puppet or a machine can have moral character. Moral character relates to voluntary or intentional choices commanded or condemned by the God-given intelligence, knowledge, revelation, or conscience, and moral accountability relates to moral character. Therefore, what a man is accountable for, he must not have been necessitated to do, but must have voluntarily committed.

A man is responsible only for that which he is intentionally the cause of, and a man is only the intentional cause of that which is voluntary, since what is voluntary is intentional, and what is intentional is voluntary. And since moral character consists only in free, voluntary, intentional choices, and moral accountability is according to moral character, a man is only accountable for his free, voluntary, intentional choices.

Thomas Chalmers said, “The morality of any act is with its willfulness.” And then again, “That an action then be the rightful object, either of moral censure, or approval, it must have had the consent of the will to go along with it. It must be the fruit of volition – else it is utterly beyond the scope, either of praise for its virtuousness or of blame for its criminality. If an action be involuntary, it is as unfit a subject for any moral reckoning, as are the pulsations of the wrist.”1

Respecting the moral government of God (Isa. 9:6-7), or the ruling and reigning of God in the realm of morality over moral agents (Lk. 17:21), in which God is the Governor (Matt. 2:6), the moral commandments of God never exceed the moral ability of men. The commands of God are directed to the ability of man, being instructions as to how a man is to use the liberty of his will, or how a man is to properly use his ability.

Since God’s moral commandments are directions for man’s moral ability, as to how to use this God-given ability, God’s moral requirements never exceed this God-given moral 3ability. Since God’s Moral Government is the governing of man’s moral agency (through persuasion and influence, not through force or necessity), God’s moral commandments never can, never do, and never will exceed man’s moral ability or moral agency. Because God’s commandments are directions to man, as to how a man is to use his ability, God’s commandments are in fact a declaration or a revelation of what man can do and what man should do.

The moral law of God’s Moral Government is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37) and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). The moral law of God, in essence, is the law of love, love being the total and complete fulfillment of the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8).

The law of love, or the life of love, is commanded, and the law of selfishness, or the life of selfishness, is condemned. Love is not an involuntary emotion or feeling, but it is a voluntary, impartial committal of the will towards the highest well-being of all (Jn. 3:16; 15:13); it is the intention of the heart, and is synonymous with “good will” (Lk.2:14; Eph. 6:7; Php. 1:15), and is the same as benevolence.

If love is truly love, it must of necessity manifest itself into action and conduct whenever possible and whenever necessary, performing the required means to secure the end of the well-being of others. The “readiness to will” results in the performance” or in the “doing” (2 Cor. 8:11). If the inside of the cup (inward intention) is first clean, then the outside of the cup (outward actions) will be clean as well (Matt. 23:26), because what is inside will manifest in what is outside whenever possible. A good tree can only produce good fruit, while a bad tree can only produce bad fruit (Matt. 7:17), because the heart, or intention, determines the outward life (Matt. 12:35; Lk. 6:45).

Love, good will, or benevolence satisfies the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8), but selfishness or self-centeredness is a total and complete violation of the whole of the law (Jas. 2:10). To break one letter of the law is to break the whole spirit of the law; which the entire letter of the law is derived from. The letter of the law is derived from the spirit of the law; therefore, to break one letter of the law is to break the whole spirit of the law. He that breaks the one breaks the whole. Therefore, to “offend in one point” is to be “guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10).

Notice that God does not command that we love Him with faculties that we do not possess, but rather that we love Him with all that we currently possess, “with all thy,” as opposed to with that which is not currently yours. The commandments are  directions to man as to how he is to use his ability. The commandments of God are not impossible, demanding that we love Him with a heart, soul, mind and strength that we do not have. Rather, it is possible to keep the law of God, which demands that we love Him with all of what we do have, with all that we are capable of, to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less. It is possible to keep the law because we are capable, and we are capable because it is possible to keep the law; our God-given commandments and our God-given ability directly correspond with each other. The command of God is that we 4love to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less, and therefore we are able to keep the law of love; we are able to keep the commandments of Jesus (1 Jn. 2:3; 3:22; 5:2-3; Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). Obedience is always possible, and disobedience is never necessary or unavoidable. The highest that our ability is capable of is all that the law of God commands, no more and no less. The law of God is the law of our ability, to love Him supremely and our neighbor equally, according to our ability, with all of our ability, “with all thy.”

Clemens of Alexandrinus said that the call of “the Divine word – requireth but that which is according to the ability and strength of every one.”2 Gordon Olson said, “The words -all thy’ express our obligation. It is the exertion of -thy’ personality and ability that is required – all’ this ability.”3 Charles Finney said, “Entire obedience is the entire consecration of the powers, as they are, to God. It does not imply any change in them, but simply the right use of them.”4 Again Finney said that the law “simply requires us to use what strength we have. They very wording of the law is proof conclusive, that it extents its demands only to the full amount of what strength we have. And this is true of every moral being, however great or small.”5 And Asa Mahan said, “the law, addressing men -requires them to love God with all their – mind and strength,’ that is -with the power they now actually possess.”6

God commands that you use “thy heart” and “thy soul” and “thy mind.” Clement of Alexandria said, “What the commandments direct are in our own power”7 The command of God is directed towards our current faculties, and it does not exceed the limits of those faculties. We are to love him with “all” of these faculties, not with less or with more than those faculties are capable of. Man is not responsible for more than he can perform, and so man is not accountable for more than he can perform. Man’s responsibility is in accordance with all of his ability, and man’s accountability is according to his responsibility. Therefore, man will not be accountable for that which was beyond his power because man is not accountable beyond his responsibility, and his responsibility is never beyond his ability.

Man’s moral ability is naturally and obviously limited by moral possibilities; therefore, God’s moral commandments never require moral impossibilities, for that which is morally impossible cannot be morally commanded. God cannot morally demand a moral impossibility. Augustine said, “God does not demand impossibilities.”8  Charles Finney said, “The law of God requires nothing more of any human being, than that which he is at present naturally able to perform, under the present circumstances of his being.”9

The extent of God’s commandments is the exact extent of man’s ability, and the extent of man’s ability is the extent of God’s commandments; each one establishes and determines the limitations and boundaries of the other, and since man will be judged by the commandments, the extent of man’s accountability will be the extent of man’s ability. A man will not be accountable for that which he was not capable of; he will not be judged for that which was outside of the realm of his control. 5

The law of God is therefore the law of our ability: to love Him supremely and our neighbor equally, according to our ability, with all of our ability, to the highest of our ability, no more and no less. There is, then, no inability in which a sinner can hide behind as an excuse, no commandment that a sinner can point to as tyrannical, since all the commandments of God can be kept, without exception.

All sin is, therefore, inexcusable since all sin is voluntary and avoidable; that which brings moral guilt is always voluntary and avoidable. What is unavoidable is excusable, but what is inexcusable must be avoidable. What is punishable must voluntary, and what is voluntary must be avoidable. What is punishable must be vice, and what is vice must be voluntary. Only sin can be punishable, and only what is voluntary and avoidable can be sin. Therefore, sin is inexcusable and punishable because sin is voluntary and avoidable, and it is voluntary and avoidable because God has given man free will.

Justin the Martyr said, “We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishment, chastisement, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is ur own power. For if it is predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise and the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions – whatever they may be – for neither would a man be worthy of praise if he did not himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.”10

Charles Finney said, “Moral agency implies the possession of free-will. By freewill it is intended the power of choosing or refusing to choose, in every instance, in compliance with moral obligation. Free-will implies the power of originating and
deciding our own choices, and of exercising our own sovereignty, in every instance of choice upon moral questions, of deciding or choosing in conformity with duty or otherwise in all cases of moral obligation . . . unless the will is free, man has no freedom; and if he has no freedom he is not a moral agent, that is, he is incapable of moral action and also of moral character. Free-will then, in the above defined sense, must be a condition of moral agency, and, of course, of moral obligation.”11

Miner Raymond said, “It is axiomatic that that for which any agent is morally responsible must be within his control. If man be responsible for obedience or disobedience to the divine commands, then obedience and disobedience are both equally
within his power. Which of them shall result is not determined by any thing external to him. His own power of choice selects the one, it being at the same time a power equally adequate to select the other. That for which an agent is morally responsible must be an election; that is, a selection with an alternative.”12 L. D. McCabe said, “Accountability necessitates the origination of choice between obedience and disobedience.”13 And again, “A free, original, independent, conscious choice between good and evil, is the sine qua non [condition] of every act that involves morality.”14

A man is only accountable for his moral character. His moral character is his heart or intention (which necessarily manifests into action whenever possible). A man’s intention is within the realm of his control (or else it cannot be his). Intention must be voluntary, and what is voluntary must be avoidable.  Therefore, a man is only accountable for his intentional, voluntary, avoidable choices or intentions.

God holds men accountable to their responsibility. What God requires of man God expects from men, what God expects from men is possible for men, and what is possible for men is the same as what men are capable of. Accountability implies requirement, requirement implies expectation, expectation implies possibility, and possibility implies capability. Man is accountable for choosing sin only because he is capable of choosing righteousness over sin. A man is accountable for choosing darkness over the light onlybecause he is capable of choosing the light over darkness. A man is accountable for disobedience because he is capable of choosing obedience over disobedience.

A man is accountable for rejecting Jesus only because he is capable of following Jesus. A man is responsible and accountable according to that which is within his realm of control, according to that which is within his power. A man will be judged by his ability, no more and no less, since the commands of God require nothing more then that which is within man’s moral ability, that which is within the realm of moral possibilities.

Consider the great disappointment of God over mankind (Gen. 6:5-6, Ps. 81:13, Eze. 6:9). Now consider the logical implications of disappointment. Disappointment requires expectation, and reasonable expectation requires capabilities or potential.
Disappointment arises when failed expectations, which were based upon potential possibilities, occur. God’s great  disappointment with mankind is rooted in mankind’s great potential, moral capabilities, or open possibilities, which were given to mankind by God Himself. And if God’s disappointment comes from God’s expectations, and if God legislates according to His expectations, that is, if God’s requirements are the same thing as His expectations, then all of God’s requirements are perfectly matched by mankind’s capabilities or potential because God’s expectations are according to man’s capabilities or potential. Once again we clearly see that God’s requirements never exceed man’s capabilities. What God genuinely requires God must genuinely desire. And if God genuinely desires it, then God will enable man to do it.

Irenaeus said, “God made man free from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the commandments of God voluntarily.”15 If God does not grant man the genuine ability to obey it must be because God does not
genuinely want man to obey. But if God genuinely wants to be obeyed it must be understood that God grants man the ability to genuinely obey. If God wants man to voluntarily obey, God must make it possible for man to voluntarily obey since it is in His
power to make this ability available to man. That which He requires He supplies the ability to achieve. If God commands the parting of the red sea, God will supply the power to do it (Ex. 14:26-27). If God commands moral perfection of heart from men (Gen. 17:1, 7Deut. 18:13, Matt. 5:48) God supplies the ability for it to be achieved (1 Cor. 10:13). Those whom God holds morally responsible and morally accountable are those whom God has made or created morally free, morally capable, or morally able with open possibilities and natural potential.

So man has a free will because man was made with one, because man was made in the image of God. Winkie Pratney said, “Free choice is a reality with man because it is a reality in God.”16 Gordon Olson said, “God designed man’s constitution, with its
profound abilities and reactions, to enable him to achieve great heights of comprehension and moral nobility in the imitation of his Creator.”17

*1 Thomas Chalmers; The Bridgewater Treatise by T. Chalmers, 1835 Edition, p. 272,
273, published by Corie, Lea, & Blanchard
*2 Clemens of Alexandrinus; An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism by John
Fletcher, Volume Two, p. 204, published by Carlton & Porter
*3 Gordon Olson; The Kindness of God Our Savior, p. 10, published by Revival
Theology Promotion
*4 Charles Finney; Finney’s Systematic Theology, 1878 Edition, p. 129, published by
Bethany House
*5 Charles Finney; Finney’s Systematic Theology, 1878 Edition, p. 134, published by
Bethany House
*6 Asa Mahan; The Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 118, published by Truth in
Heart
*7 Clement of Alexandria; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p.
295, published by Hendrickson Publishers
*8 Augustine; Joy and Strength, 1929 Edition, p. 192, published by Grosset & Dunlap
*9 Charles G. Finney; Lectures on Systematic Theology, 1851 Edition, p. 35
*10 Justin the Martyr, First Apology Chap. 43
*11 Charles G. Finney; Lectures on Systematic Theology, 1851 Edition, p. 46-47
*12 Miner Raymond; Systematic Theology, Volume One, 1877 Edition, p. 520-521,
published by Granston & Stowe
*13 L. D. McCabe; Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity, p. 67
*14 L. D. McCabe; Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity, p. 74
*15 Irenaeus; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 286, published
by Hendrickson Publishers
*16 Winkie Pratney; The Nature and Character of God, 1988, p. 205, Bethany House
Publishing
17 Gordon Olson; The Kindness of God Our Savior, p. 61, published by Revival
Theology Promotion