Etikettarkiv | sovereign

Is it God’s responsibility to KEEP US, even by force?

John 8.jpegGod and his ”responsibilities”

There are some Christians who erroneously believe that it is God’s responsibility to make sure that born again believers are kept, and some even believe in the concept that God keeps us from falling (sinning). They might suggest that if a true Christian falls away and is no longer a child of God, then God’s power was not great enough to keep him, as though the Bible says it is God’s responsibility to keep people by force.

The truth is that we have a free will and we are therefore able to walk away from God without him preventing it from happening. If we on the other hand repent and come to him (or return back to him) he will accept us (keep us) us rather than rejecting us. Had it been up to God to make sure that we do not fall (sin) then we would of course not sin a single time for the rest of our lives. If we sin, it is always our fault and never God’s fault.

God created us to seek him and come to him, which means that we can. We have also been provided with the ability to repent, which we are all requested to do.

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;— 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27That they should SEEK the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though HE BENOT FAR FROM EVERY ONE OF US. — 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Clearly not everyone seeks God, nor repents, which means that God has chosen to create us with free will and with the ability to both obey and disobey. This does not hurt his ”sovereignty” (a non-Biblical word – KJV).

But what about verse 2 Thess. 3:3? Does it not suggest that God in fact is the one who keeps us, and does so no matter what we do? No, he can indeed keep us from evil, but he does not promise to do so unconditionally – and he does not promise that we will never be affected by persecution or pain. If we walk our own ways and even seek to be tempted, then we cannot expect to be kept from the snare of the devil since we have chosen to remove ourselves from God and his protection.

2 Thess. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Examples 1

The word ”keep” in the above verse is  a translation of the Greek verb φυλάσσω (Strong’s 5442, phylassō). The same word can also be translated observe, bewaresave, guard and watch.  

When we read the examples below (words in green are based on another verb) where this word is used, we can see clearly that what is ”kept” is not necessarily kept unconditionally or for ever. A choice is involved. We can for instance read that shepherds ”keeping” watch over their flock, but this does not mean that sheep can never ever stray away and be lost. We can also read warnings such as ”Little children, keep yourselves from idols”, which is evidence of that we can not sit back and expect God to take this responsibility instead of us. If some of us do to get involved with idols, then we can be certain of that it is not due to God lacking in power but due to our own choices when we oppose God’s commandments.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Mark 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. (+ Luke 18:21)

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. — 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. — 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. — 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.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.18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. — 19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

Acts 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for TO KEEP, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

Rom. 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

Gal. 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

1 Tim. 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

1 Tim. 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: — 20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keepthat which I have committed unto him against that day.13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

2 Pet. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

choiceExamples 2

There is also another verb often translated ”keep”, which is τηρέω (Strong’s 5083, tēreō). This word can also be translated observe, reserve guard, watch, preserve, hold fast, etc – i.e. it is often used interchangeably with the verb φυλάσσω above. The examples show that there is a choice involved in this case as well.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Matt. 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matt. 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there

Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.— 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 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.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. — 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. —24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: — 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

1 Cor. 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

2 Cor. 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Eph. 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. — 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Ti. 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

2 Ti. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Ja. 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Ja. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. — 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev. 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations

Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. —8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. — 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Rev. 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Rev. 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Rev. 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. — 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.  

We also have a noun tied to the the above Greek verb, which is τήρησις (Strong’s 5084, tērēsis):

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

We also have the verb παρατίθημι (Strong’s 3908, paratithēmi), and in this verse we can clearly see that the righteous are not forced to remain righteous by God as though they would lose their ability to sin. It is true that it is not likely that a born again Christian would like to return to the world and his/her old vomit, but once in a while it still happens:

1 Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

God works all things after the counsel of his own will? Eph. 1:11

secret willGod’s will is that man should use his free will and seek him (see Acts 17)

God has a sovereign freedom to accomplish whatever he chooses, like guaranteeing the proper inheritance to the children of God (which are those who are following Jesus). The promise is to those and no one else.

The following verse is a popular Calvinistic proof text, often quoted (by itself) to support the idea that everything under the sun occurs precisely according to God’s plans, down to every single detail:

Eph. 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel  of his own will

The verse of course say no such thing (that God’s will always happens), unless we are talking about his will to give man free will and make man responsible for his own actions. Note that it says ”works” all things and not ”cause” all things … The verse does not say that all thoughts, words and deeds are predestined by God, but it rather explains what God does, in terms of providing wonderful promises through Christ.

Councel in Eph. 1:11 is a translation from the Greek noun βουλή (boulé, Strong’s 1012) and could also be translated deliberate wisdom. This noun derives from the verb βούλομαι (boulomai, Strong’s 1014) and means will, intend, desire or wish. 

Some theologians claim that it is also about God planning and arranging all physical circumstances in order to achieve his exact plans which always take place down to the finest detail. This is something the Bible does not say.

The noun boulé occurs 12 times in the KJV Bible. Examples:

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

Quite clearly God’s counsel can be rejected.

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 

If God caused and scripted Calvary in all details, why does the text not say so? Instead we can read that his foreknowledge was involved. Knowing about future events is not the same as causing future events.

Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Paul is clearly not a Calvinist since he does not relax and trust that God’s will always happens and that the elect will remain elect (and the non-elect remain non-elect). He warns people with tears night and day because disciples will be drawn away from the gospel. Why does he do that if nothing can go wrong but always turn out as God wants? Paul rather believes the scriptures, and understands that prayers can make a difference!

Acts 27:12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. — 41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.

1 Cor. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.  

Unfortunately Calvinists usually believe that God decrees ”whatsover comes to pass” and are keen to interpret “work all things after the counsel of His will” as though everything pans out exactly as God wills it, both good and bad. That would include God deterministically scripting every murder, rape and abortion that will ever take place! The text, however, must not be read in this sweeping and all-inclusive way. The “all things” refers to all things that God accomplishes in Christ (in a general sense) because this is what the previous verses talk about.

Eph. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ

Paul provides examples of the above mentioned blessings and promises, which are only meant for those who are IN CHRIST which is the condition for salvation. The eternal purpose is that God’s children, his church will be able to look forward to a guaranteed inheritance waiting for them in the heavenly places. Again, the condition is to be IN CHRIST, and if someone does not endure to the end that person is no longer IN CHRIST and the promises are therefore not tied to him. The ”salvation bus” is predestined to go to heaven and guaranteed to be blessed, but who is in and who remains to the end? That is totally up to us and we know the conditions which are presented to us. Those who are in Christ are considered to be his holy children. The text does not say that the promises are provided with no conditions.

It might be a help to ask oneself what is predestined according to His purpose. In order to get the answer one must of course go back to the previous verses, because a verse can never be read in a vacuum. The answer is again ”the inheritance in Christ! The verse right (v. 12) after says ”That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ”, and v. 13 continues to talk about ”trusting” and ”believing”. It is possible that Paul includes the very first belivers in this sentence, and we should note that ”trusted” is an action that people might choose to do. God will not ”trust” for us or instaed of us. It is rather a condition for salvation. V. 19 says ”the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe. The believers are in Christ – again, the condition.

If I would tell someone about my work and say that ”all things” worked out perfectly fine – maybe even after the counsel of my will – the listener would not assume that I just claimed that every single thing in the entire world worked out absolutely great, and that I have solved all the world’s problems. Neither would the listener assume that I claimed to be the cause of all things that I said took place.

Compare:

Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Paul is here talking about being content no matter what state he is in (in both good and bad circumstances) and to be able to do the good works which God has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10). Paul is not including everything under the sun in ”all things”, but the term must of course be understood in its context. The verse certainly does not say that byall things” you can do all forms of evil and wickedness through God who strengthens you. Similarly, Eph. 1:11 does not say that the “all things” would include evil and wickedness.

All things work out for good for all people  -more than in a general term?free will 3

Paul promises us in Rom. 8 that all things work out together for good to them that LOVE GOD, which of course is a condition for salvation. If Paul had meant that all things work out for good for all people everywhere, including all details from God’s perspective, then he could have skipped the condition of having to love God.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

In the same chapter Paul explains which conditions that apply for escaping condemnation: 1) You must be IN JESUS, and 2) you must not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit. This is something that WE must make sure to do, and God will not do it for us:

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. — 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

He goes on to explain, that if we live according to the flesh (not an obligation), we cannot please God. The solution to the problem is of course to NOT live according to the flesh but after the Spirit:

Rom. 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Paul explains that we definitely do not have to live after the flesh. The choice is clear; if you live after the flesh you will die, and if you live after the Spirit you will live. Who are the sons of God? Those who have chosen to be led by the Spirit of God. If someone lives after the flesh, he can certainly not blame God for it but only himself. The better option is always to live by the Spirit in order to get life:

Rom. 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Paul tells us about the same wonderful promises of glorification just as in Eph. 1, but again, only for those who are God’s children who live after the Spirit:

Rom. 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Paul repeats again that all things work together for good to them that love God. The ”calling” is widespread because we know from the parable of the King’s wedding feast (Matt. 22) that many of those who were called to participate in the feast (they were even on the guest list) declined to go. One person who actually did go to the feast was still thrown out because he had neglected to wear appropriate clothes (his own responsibility). We are justified when we are cleansed from our past sins, and after this point our goal is to be conformed into the image of Jesus which is something to look forward to. We have an assurance in the hope of salvation while on earth, as long as we abide in Jesus of course. Rom. 8:29 is referring to those in v. 28, who love God. Do read about Rom 8:28-30 here.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God provides provisions and works all things after the counsel of his will, but he does not cause people to act according to some predestined plans. If God forces people to think and act in a certain way, what is the point of judging them for things they cannot possibly avoid?:

1 Cor.10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would prefer that they would repent in order to live:

Ez. 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?

If someone ends up with an interpretation which makes God the greatest culprit and a lover of sin, this is clearly an erroneous understanding. A religion that blames the sin of all mankind on God is clearly incorrect. We should rather use this verse as a filter:

Ja. 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, NEITHER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN 

We are requested to not excuse our sin by suggesting ”God made me do it”. God does not tempt anyone, much less causes anyone to sin, but in order to save the philosophy of Calvinism God must be blamed for the sin of all mankind even though it is blasphemy? Calvinists might try to solve the problem with ”it’s a miracle” or ”God’s ways are higher than our ways”, but in that case anyone can introduce contradictions into the Bible and excuse them by saying ”God’s ways are higher than our ways” and ”who are we to question God?”. 

It is a lot safer to agree with the Bible which says that God’s will does not always happen. Yet, he is still in control (does not mean micro management) and all things work out wonderfully for those who love him.

Calvinists and their focus on a sovereign God who must submit to Calvinism

calvinism 38God is sovereign, but what does it mean?

Calvinists have a huge focus on God’s sovereignty, which would not be a bad thing had they not interpreted this unbiblical word in a very unfortunate way.

The Calvinist R.C. Sproul for instance wrote:

”If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled. ”R.C. Sproul.

Also freewillers believe that God IS sovereign but certainly not with the Calvinistic interpretation. God is so sovereign and powerful that he is able to create us in any way he likes, including creating us with free will where we are responsible for our own actions (rather than blaming our shortcomings on God). Or is this too difficult for him? Must he ask someone for permission before he can create us with free will?

While freewillers also believe that God is sovereign, their main focus is rather on God’s holy character and the fact that he does not tempt anyone, much less causes anyone to sin. This means, that if someone suggests that God directly or indirectly makes people sin (or endorses sin in any shape or form), it is clearly a huge misunderstanding and an attack on God’s character. Many would call it blasphemy. The fact that sin does exist is evidence of that God’s will does not always happen, which is quite clear in the pages of the Bible. God is in control of his creation even though he does not act through micro managing human beings.

”Sovereignty” and ”sovereign” are words not found in either the KJV nor the NKJV Bible (except for ”sovereignty” mentioned once in the NKJV but not in relation to God).  ”Sovereignty” is however found in the NIV in a couple of cases where it does not refer to God (Dan 5:18, Dan 7:27) and ”sovereign” is used multiple times referring both to God and others.

It is therefore not incorrect to say that ”sovereignty” and ”sovereign” are not Biblical words, if you exclude modern translations which many Christians are reluctant to use. When Calvinists are told about the lack of these words in the Bible, they usually bring up the trinity and say something like ”The trinity is not mentioned in the Bible either! Does this mean that it’s false?!”. They neglect to notice that the freewiller does not claim that absence of these words in the Bible automatically means that God is therefore not sovereign. What the freewiller does say is that the word must mean defined before we can conclude if it is a correct description of our holy God or not.

What if I asked a Calvinist if he believes that God is sympathetic. Yes, or no? Is he? The Calvinist might say that yes, ”sympathetic” could very well be one of many definitions applicable to God. What if I then said ”See?! Therefore God would never send anyone to hell! That would not be sympathetic at all but truly unkind!”. Then the Calvinist might rightly protest and say that this interpretation does not automatically follow. Of course God could still be sympathetic even though he rightly judges people’s hearts and sends some to hell due to their evil actions and refusal to submit under him. So the Calvinist might admit that God is sympathetic but he certainly does not admit to God being the sort of sympathetic that I propose. What right do I have to define the word ”sympathetic” in such a way? Therein lies the problem.

Non-biblical words must be defined or else you would not know whether you agree with them or not. Who has the authority to define unbiblical words, add them to the Bible with a strict definition tied to them? It is not always a watertight solution to let theologians define such words (even though they are usually right on target). If we truly want to learn and understand God’s true character, it is a lot safer to pay attention to the descriptions and examples which are used in the Bible. Or else anyone can select various unbiblical words, insist on a preferred meaning and add them to the Bible.

Atheists might suggest that if God is all-powerful and sovereign, he should be able to do absolutely everything, including performing logically contradictory ideas such as creating a square circle or even ceasing to be God. This is what one of my daughter’s  science teachers taught his high school science class, with the summary and conclusion that this is proof for God’s insufficiency and therefore non-existence. (For some reason  schools are supposed to be neutral when it comes to religion, but atheism can freely be taught with no consequences?). Although, the God of the Bible never promised to be this sort of omnipotent being who likes to perform ridiculous things – and by the way ”omnipotent” is mentioned once in the KJV Bible (Rev. 19:6) in relation to his reign.

The point is of course that both Calvinist and atheists make the mistake to insist on a certain definition of words which may not even be included in the Bible. They might erroneously assume that everyone sides with their understanding of these words.

Read more about 15 Bible verses Calvinists misinterpret in relation to God’s SOVEREIGN WILL

15 Bible verses Calvinists misinterpret in relation to God’s SOVEREIGN WILL

tulips 3Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, YE DO ALWAYS RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: as your fathers did, so do ye. Acts 7:51 

15 examples of failed attempts to show that God’s will always happens below, but first this…

The best way to avoid misunderstandings, such as the preposterous idea that God decrees absolutely all things, is to read the context! Anyone can take a Bible verse here and there and build any doctrine at all, but it is a lot safer to read the entire chapter to see the intent of the author. It is particularly important to not build a new doctrine based on poetry or proverbs, since such wordings might be vague and oftentimes should not be taken literally. Also books like Job contains large amount of poetic expressions, such as this example:

Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and NAKED SHALL I RETURN THITHER: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

We might also be able to find intentional hyperboles or intentional exaggerations to make a point:

Matt. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

It is clear that God’s will does not always come about in this world:

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.

Notice that John writes ”he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”. If all people everywhere and at all times did the will of God, then all people would abide for ever. Clearly all people will not be saved, and that is due to their disobedience – due to acting contrary to God’s will.

This is the filter we should use when reading the Bible:

Ja. 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, NEITHER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

God does not tempt anyone, much less causes people to sin. We should never blame man’s sins on God at any time. In order to be consistent with TULIP, Calvinists must disagree with all verses which tell us that sin happens against God’s will. For example, Calvinist R.C. Sproul says:

“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.” (R.C. Sproul, Chosen By God: Know God’s Perfect Plan for His Glory and His Children)

”Sovereign” and ”sovereignty” are words not included in the Bible (KJV), which means they must be defined. Free-willers do not have a problem with a sovereign God, but they certainly do not agree with the Calvinistic interpretation of this word. Calvinists normally understand this word to mean something like ”God decrees ALL THINGS at all times, resulting in that every single action taken by man always turns out exactly as God wants. He can do anything at all and nothing is too difficult for him – except from creating man with free will”.

Some favorite verses by those who prefer blaming God for man’s sin

Example 1:calvinsm 49

Rom. 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

My comment: Has it ever happened throughout history that someone has found fault in God and his actions? Yes, right? The Bible is replete with examples of people who refuse to obey him, rebel against him and cause him to be angry. So this verse is not what man cannot do but should not do. If God’s will is to offer salvation also for the gentiles (showing mercy also to them) and make faith the condition for salvation rather than being born a Jew under the Mosaic law, then who is able to resist this decision? No one. Who can resist his will? The context and the rest of the Bible render it impossible to interpret Rom. 9:18 as ”Therefore he makes salvation possible for only some individuals, whereas he blocks the rest from ever being able to seek him or find him.” Such an interpretation would make God alone guilty of man’s unbelief, and hell would be a place where innocent and rejected people would end up who had no chance to be saved (since God successfully prevented them from believing in him). Does that sound like the God of the Bible? You can read more about Romans 9 and Pharao’s heart here, here and here.

Example 2:

Eph. 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,— 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

My comment: The promises in Eph. 1-2 are tied to those who are IN CHRIST, and being IN HIM is an essential foundation and the condition for salvation. From the creation of the world God knew there would be a ”body of Christ” (the church, consisting of believers), and a special place is prepared for them in God’s kingdom where this body of Christ is predestined to go. So the ”salvation bus” is certainly going there, but who will be the passengers on the bus and who will endure to the very end? That is up to us. If we are in Christ we know that we are heading for God’s kingdom if we remain in the bus. The ”us” spoken about in the verse are true believers and therefore ”adopted” as God’s children. (This type of adoption should not be compared to what we call ”adoption” today, where parents are being promised a baby who they later legally adopt as their legal child.)

Compare also with this verse:

”John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

So the order of even is 1) receive and believe in him, and then 2) become children of God. You can read more about Eph. 2 here.

Example 3:

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

My comment: We are totally lost without Jesus who is our Savior, so he is rightfully the author and finisher of our faith. He made the wonderful salvation plan possible for us (he died for us on the cross), and he has promised to never cast us out but rather give us a crown of life if we endure to the end. It is Jesus from start to finish. Hebr. 12:2 should not be interpreted as ”Jesus causes certain people to have faith and is responsible for guarding their faith to the very end, whereas the rest are doomed from birth since Jesus never died for them or enabled them to get saved”.  Read more here.

Example 4

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure

My comment:

The verses surrounding the above verse are:

”Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness”

Also this passage focuses on God’s mighty power, and that there is no one like him. Knowing things in advance is not the same as predestining things in advance. Calvinists make a hen out of a feather when it comes to the word ”declaring”, as though this would mean that God predestines all things. According to v. 12 there are apparently people who are stouthearted and far from righteous, which is normally something God does not approve of. It is a silly idea that God would predestine people to be stouthearted. ”My councel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”. Does this include creating man with free will and making man responsible for his actions, and sometimes even punish man for his sins?

Example 5:

Dan. 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Comment:

Yes God does according to this will, and since he is our Creator and knows best. It would not make sense to argue with him or suggest that he should not have done things the way he did. Unfortunately, people have indeed complained to God and continued to question his motives (and sometimes his mere existence), so this verse is not about what man cannot do but should not do. Could it be God’s will to punish the fallen angels (who acted contrary to his will), and to create man with free will? Or is this outside his capabilities?

Example 6:

Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

Comment: The above verses are from KJV, just like the rest of the verses. There are other Bible versions which Calvinists might prefer because of other expressions, but John 42:2 only confirms that God knows everything there is to know.

Example 7:

Lam. 3:37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

Comment: This is also about a general statement about God’s magnificent power rather than a teaching that God predestines all of our steps (including sin). We can continue reading in the same context:

”39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned.43 Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.”

Here we read about man complaining about the punishments for his sins (apparently it is possible to complain to God after all), and ”sins” would be activities against God’s will. The advice to ”turn again to the Lord” means that people previously turned their backs on God. The fact that people ”transgressed and have rebelled” yet again means that we are able to act contrary to God’s will. Furthermore, we can read about God being ”angry” and have ”persecuted” people due to their actions (transgressions and rebellion), which is more evidence of man’s free will.

Example 8:

Exodus 4:11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?

Comment: The context concerns Moses’ reluctance to becoming Israel’s leader due to his (Moses) shortcomings in relation to his ability to public speaking. Moses said: ”O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” God can accomplish things despite our shortcomings, and he can even heal people. If he asks us to do something, we can totally trust that he will help us overcome our weaknesses. That seems to be the gist of what God wanted to express when Moses argued against God about his shortcomings. Moses had to be persuaded, and he finally gave in after a conversation with God. God is not suggesting that he is the one who forces people to be deaf, blind, poor, etc, but he rather explains that he is the author of all Creation and he can be trusted.

Example 9:

1 Sam. 2:6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.

Comment: The surrounding verses are these:

6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.— 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”

This is a description with poetic expressions describing God’s power and his future judgment of mankind. Depending on how we choose to live our live, based on our situation and opportunities, we will be punished or rewarded. Read what the author says about the poor. Will God always lift up the beggar and set him among princes here on earth? No, this is not a universal promise for the present dimension but for the future.

calvinism 40Example 10:

Isaiah 45: 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Comment: The above is in the KJV, but in the NKJV and in many other Bible versions it is rather ”calamity” instead of ”evil”. The Hebrew word could mean both, as well as a few other alternatives. God can indeed cause physical calamity just like he did when he caused a global flood to hit the earth. Physical pain or punishments caused by God does not mean that he causes people to sin. There is no darkness in God.

Example 11:

2 Chron. 25:20 But Amaziah would not hear; for it came of God, that he might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.

Comment: Apparently the reason that ”it came of God” that Amaziah would not hear – resulting in that he and his people were delivered into the hand of their enemies – was because they turned to other gods in Edom. There you have the reason. Did God want them to turn to false gods? Hardly. The most important commandment is to have no other gods but God. Compare with Romans 1 where we can read about God giving up people to a reprobate mind due to their ungodly attitudes. At one point Amaziah followed the Lord, but he later turned away.

”27 Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the Lord they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.”

Example 12

Jer. 10:23 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to DIRECT HIS STEPS

The context is this:

”21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.Behold, the noise of the report has come, And a great commotion out of the north country, To make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals.—25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.”

Comment: Notice above that that there are people who have not sought God, like heathens or families that did not call on the name of the Lord. Clearly this is not according to God’s will. A man is not supposed to turn his back on God by not seeking his guidance, and walk on his own ways. If a man does not seek God, he will not be guided on the right path. Read more here.

Example 13

1 Sam. 2:25 If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them.

Comment: According to Adam Clarke the particle ki, translated ”because”, is better translated ”therefore” just like it does in many other parts of the Bible. (Young’s literal translation reads ”though”.) This means that God wanted to kill the individuals in the story due to their refusal to listen to their father’s voice. This is a more logical translation than rendering the passage as though God wants to kill certain people for no reason, and manipulates them into not listening to their father and then proceeds to take this as an excuse for killing them. That would be circular reasoning and would turn God into an unrighteous criminal. Sadly many Calvinists would rather turn God into a monster than letting go with their precious philosophy of Calvinism.

Example 14 – Psalms

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

Psalm 135:6 Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

Psalm 33:10 The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

My comment: Psalms often contain poetry which mirrors the reality in many ways, so we must approach the verses with this in mind. Yes, God has always done whatever he has pleases, but naturally this could include creating man with free will. What the context of these psalms has in common is the declaration that God is the great and magnificent Creator, and that false gods (which are no gods) cannot compete with his wonderful powers.

Psalm 33:15 says ”He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works”, which is a description of how God has originally made man and also judges their work. It does not say that God micromanages every single step that man takes, nor that man does not have a will of his own. If you think ”The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought” means that God first manipulates the heathens to come up with various evil schemes, and then turns around and ”heroically” halts these plans that he himself initiated, then you are mistaken. It is just a poetic description of God’s power which the heathens cannot interfere with. The verse does not say that God either prevents people from sinning, or predestines their sin. During Jesus’ second coming, he will only have to breathe on the son of perdition to destroy him completely (2 Thess. 2:8), so the power of God is indeed great.

Example 15 – Proverbs

Prov. 16:4 The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. (NKJV)

Prov. 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

Prov. 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

My comment: Also proverbs contains poetry, so we must keep this in mind. Instead of having to ignore loads of verses which show that God is angry with sin and where he desires all men to obey his commandments, it is better to read the more vague proverbs and psalms in context and not superimpose them over clear verses. The first verse just shows God’s right to handle all judgment of mankind, whether people are righteous or unrighteous. Read more about these verses here. Neither of these verses contains promises that God predestines every all things. That would put all the blame on God.

calvinism 27If God’s will always happens, then why does the Bible say the opposite?

Mark 3:35  For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.

I thought all people did the will of God? Are all people his brothers, sisters and mothers?

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”? If everyone would always do the will of God then everyone would enter the kingdom 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”? 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, unless sinning is according to his will.

1 Timothy 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Has this so far happened?

Heb. 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:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Clearly people constantly act against the will of God. Today and in the past.

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.

Make yourself a new heart, for why will ye die? (Ez. 18:31)

love3God can clean us up and give us a new heart, but in order for him to do this we must choose to repent, come to him and place him as No 1 in our lives. WE are actually asked to cleanse, purify and circumcise our own hearts (which we can if we cast away our sins). 

Ezekiel 18:31 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?

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Jeremiah 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.

Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

Amos 4:6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

Ezekiel 24:13 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

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

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.

Matt. 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

James 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.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

To be regenerated is to be cleansed. We are not clean before we come to Jesus and repent for our sins, and we can’t get the Holy Spirit unless we are born again and have purged hearts. We must choose to come to Jesus to be born again and leave our old man behind. John the Baptist preached about repentance for the remission of sins, and Jesus picked up after him and did the same – by preaching about repentance and faith in him as the promised Messiah and son of God. Jesus work was to call sinners to repentance so that they could get life and he taught his disciples – and all of us – to continue preaching this gospel throughout the whole world. The path that you should walk is 1) come to Jesus and believe in him and his work on the cross 2) confess your sins and repent 3) you’re now cleansed, purged, regenerated and born again 4) you’re given the Holy Spirit as a Helper. A person can never be considered clean as long as his sins are not washed away, and the Bible doesn’t teach ”once cleansed, always cleansed”. We must endure to the end to be saved.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 And ye are witnesses of these things.49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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.

Thanks to Jesse Morell for the below concerning regeneration after faithheart3

Regeneration requires consent and cooperation. A man’s free will must be synergistically involved in his regeneration. God cannot change a man’s character without the cooperation of the man himself. That is why God said, “I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged” (Eze. 24:13). This is because unless a man is willing to have his moral character changed, it will and cannot be changed. It is impossible for Omnipotence to change a man’s moral character without the consent of his will because this would involve an intrinsic contradiction. Therefore, God and man both have an active role in regeneration. This is why the Bible says that God gives us a new heart (Eze. 11:19; 36:26), while also saying that men should make for themselves a new heart (Eze. 18:31). When a sinner’s will is changed from being disobedient to obedient, both God and the sinner have an active role in bringing about that change. God’s role is His gracious influence upon our will. Man’s role is the yielding of and obedience of his will.

Jesus said, “Cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:26). For Jesus to tell men to clean themselves on the inside (change their intention), takes for granted that it is their choice and that they can do this. Jesus was actually filled “with anger, being grieved, for the hardness of their hearts” (Mk. 3:5). This indicates that the state of man’s heart is man’s own fault, that the state of his heart is something which he causes and which he has control over.

The Bible even commands men to make unto themselves a new heart. God said, “make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die…” (Ezekiel 18:31). “Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved” (Jeremiah 4:14). “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).

What does it mean to change your heart? To change your heart is to change your intention. It is to change the motives for all your actions. It means that you are no longer living for yourself or have a selfish motive but are now living for God and the well-being of His universe, thus having benevolent motives.

Men are even commanded to circumcise their own hearts (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4). Since they are commanded to do so, this means that it is their own responsibility and choice. To circumcise your heart means to repent or put off your sins (Col. 2:11). Therefore, to circumcise your heart means to repent of your sins but to have an uncircumcised heart is to have an impenitent heart.

When Stephen was open air preaching, he said to the crowd “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). Stephen was rebuking them for disobeying a specific commandment, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10:16).

Why would Stephen rebuke them for being uncircumcised in their heart unless they were capable of circumcising their hearts? Why rebuke them for breaking a commandment unless they were capable of obeying the commandment? Why rebuke them for having uncircumcised hearts unless having such hearts was their own free choice? Why would he rebuke them for resisting the Holy Spirit unless they were capable of yielding to the Holy Spirit? Unless they were capable of doing these things, why rebuke them for not doing these things?

Stephen seemed to take for granted or assume the ability of his audience. He blamed them for their impenitent which must mean that their impenitent was their own free choice. You cannot rebuke a man for something which is not his choice. A man cannot be blamed for that which is beyond his control or for what he cannot help.

Calvinism is man-centered, and elect individuals have reasons to be proud

proudDue to my concern for christians trapped in Calvinism (and others who are at risk), I include the below text parts from Jesse Morell. I believe that the doctrines within Calvinism unfortunately and inevitably encourage christians to remain in their sins, but that doesn’t mean that I believe that all who call themselves calvinists must be major sinners. Still, the doctrines are dangerous (which all gnostic teachings are) and must be exposed in order to save souls. If we love each other, we would like to help each other on the right track. 

Calvinism is totally man centered. ”I am saved by nothing I do,” ”I cannot be lost by anything I do,” etc. It is all centered on man being saved no matter what. It gives religious sinners eternal security. It itches their ears. There is no choice of total repentance from all sin required, just believing. There is no necessity to labor and run and persevere unto the end. There is no threat of going to hell through sinning. It itches the ears of those who want this man-centered gospel. You don’t have to love God supremely. You don’t have to totally commit yourself to God. You can live in compromise and sin every day in word, thought, and deed, and still be saved. Calvinism doesn’t glorify God, it comforts religious sinners and in doing so it dishonors God. 

Which system really glorifies God? The one which says God is the ultimate cause of sin and that men do not need to stop all their sinning, or the one that says each individual is the cause of their own sin and we must all repent of our sins and live holy lives glorifiying to God? Which doctrine of grace really glorifies God? The one that says grace means being saved while we continue to sin, or grace is the means of being saved from our sin? One of these systems glorifies God while the other system greatly dishonors Him. What of the Westminster Catechism that says no man is able, either of his own power or by any grace received in this life, to perfectly keep the commandments, but does daily break them in word, thought, and deed…? Well, that covers all the bases. I mean, the devil couldn’t do any worse than that. That excuses all sin, of any kind. Calvinism certainly does make ”a broad stroke that intentionally misunderstands and maligns Christ.” How man-centered is this theology! Now, the power of man’s sin is even greater than the power of God’s grace! God’s grace cannot overcome man’s sin! Wow, talk about a man-centered sin-excusing theology.

Glorification is the perfection of the body. Sanctification is the perfection of the heart. We are not commanded to be glorified in this life. This is not an obligation. We are not sinful for failing to have glorified bodies. Even Jesus did not have a glorified body until after the resurrection. But we can sanctify ourselves to God. We can set ourselves apart from the service of sin to the service of God.

We are not born with a sinful nature

We are born into a sinful world, but sin itself is a choice of our own will. You are not born a homosexual, drunkard, etc. That is choice. Paul said sinners will be ”without excuse” on Judgment Day. They cannot say, like Lady GaGa, ”I was born this way.” God forms our nature in the womb and He does not form us as little sinners. We become sinners at the age of accountability, by our own free will. As the Bible says men are sinners ”from their youth” which means ”juvenile” not infant.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Ps. 139:14. We are not guilty of the sin of Adam: “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.” Eze. 18:20 We are commanded to sanctify ourselves: “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” Lev. 20:7. This verse is quoted in the New Testament as well. Jesus can forgive us and cleanse us, not from some sin, but from all sin: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I Jn. 1:9. Just read the rest of 1 John. He that sins is of the devil. Whosoever has been born of God does not commit sin. Etc. The Word says that the grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to live free from sin in this life. Our fallen bodies do not make us sin, so we don’t need a new body to be free from sin. Romans 6 says Jesus sets us free from sin in this life. Hebrews says Jesus was made in all things liken unto his brethren.

Jesus did not have a sinful nature, so neither did we. Jesus lived a holy and sinless life and Jesus said come and follow me and He is our example to follow. If we sin after our initial conversion, we must repent or perish as Jesus taught his disciples. We never have to sin, as God never allows us to be tempted above our ability (1 Cor. 10:13). To say that we can never life free from all sin in this life is to make the power of sin greater than the power of the cross and greater than the power of God’s grace. Certainly, we still have a free will after conversion so we are still capable of sinning. But with the help of God’s grace, we can choose to overcome and persevere. Men are sinners by choice, as the Bible says all we like sheep have gone astray and turned to our own way. And therefore, we can cease to be sinners by choice. Hence, God’s command for us to repent and His appeals of grace. We cannot have glorified bodies in this life, and so we have not attained physical perfection. That comes after our race is done. But we can have sanctified bodies in this life, as Paul said we can yield our members as instruments of righteousness, present our bodies a living sacrifice, that God can sanctify us wholly spirit soul and body, etc.

Certainly we are not forgiven before we repent, and if we sin God clearly sees it. But when we think upon what Jesus Christ has done to make forgiveness available for us and for everyone, we should love Him and turn from all our sins as a consequence. Once we do that, God forgives us through Christ. Calvary makes us willing to do what creation made us capable of doing. And what the law could not do, the gospel was able to accomplish. Legal motives of self-interest were insufficient to perfect the heart, but the motives presented to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from all sin. Every day we make the choice to sin or not, and certainly our salvation depends upon our perseverance in holiness, but when we look upon the cross and see how much God has loved this world, we see how worthy He is of our worship and service and we love Him in return with our obedience.

Romans chapter seven

Rom. 7 gives us a description of what occurs when the mind of an unconverted sinner is convicted by the law. Using a literary technique, Paul uses the present tense to tell the narrative. As many stories begin with “once upon a time,” Paul said, “For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (Rom. 7:9). He then proceeded in his narrative to discuss what happens when an unconverted sinner encounters the law of God. Some suppose Romans chapter seven to be a description of the Christian life, as opposed to a description of an unconverted state. But we know Paul is not referring to his own converted state because he already said that Christians have been made “free from sin” (Rom. 6:18, 22). The man in Romans seven was not ”free from sin” and, therefore, he was not a Christian. Paul also said that, “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Yet the man in Romans chapter seven was under condemnation and therefore needed to be saved by Jesus (Rom. 7:24-25).

And Paul said that, “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6). But the man in Romans chapter seven said, “I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). Therefore, the man in Romans chapter seven did not have eternal life. And finally, Paul said that as a converted man he lived with a good and pure conscience that was void of offense (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; 2 Tim. 1:3). The man described in Romans chapter seven is deeply disturbed by his conscience (Rom. 7:16). Therefore, the description given in Romans chapter seven was not of the converted life of the Apostle Paul. It is a narration describing what happens when an unconverted sinner’s mind encounters the law of God and is convicted by it.

So it is a sin to inherit a weakness to commit sin? How is that a sin? chosen

  • Jesus died for everyone, but only those who repent and believe are forgiven through it. So if a believer sins, they must repent and ask God for forgiveness.
  •  Forgiveness of future sins is nothing more than a license to sin. God only forgives us of our sins after we have repented of them. And since we are not yet guilty of future sins, we have nothing to be forgiven us. Not only would forgiveness of future sins be unwise, it is also impossible. Sins must be dealt with as they occur. Hence what we read in 1 John 1:8-9. If a believer sins, we must repent or perish.
1. How can David say he was wonderfully made and God’s works are marvelous if God formed him in the womb with a sinful nature?
2. How can it be said that Jesus was made ”in all things liken unto his brethren” if we are born with a sinful nature and he wasn’t?
3. How come our sanctification is spoken of in the same tense as our justification?
4. How can inheriting a weakeness to commit sin be a sin itself?
5. If we are forgiven of all future sins at conversion, have you ever asked God to forgive you since your conversion? If you were already forgiven, why do you insult his grace by asking for forgiveness?
6. What would a license to sin consist of, if not forgiveness of unrepented future sins? What is a license but permission to do an action without fear of legal prosecution?
7. If Romans 7 was Paul’s Christian life, how can he say that he lived with a conscience void of offense?

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We were not capable of sinning before the age of accountability, as Jesus said if you were blind you would have no sin. Infants are not under the wrath of God, as the wrath of God comes upon those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Those with knowledge are without excuse, but as infants have no moral knowledge, they are with excuse for their behavior. As they grow, they make free will choices. Hence we are told to teach them, disciple them, etc. If their nature caused their actions, teaching them would be useless and discipline would be cruelty and pointless. Only if their free will makes their choices can teaching and disciple change their behavior.

The perfection that God requires is a perfection that we are capable of. It is purity of motive – a perfection of heart. The Bible commands us to love God and love our neighbor. The Bible speaks of men who were ”perfect in heart” which shows it is possible for man in this life. The commandment is directly proportationate to our ability, as we are command to love God ”with all” thy ability and love your neighbor ”as yourself.” We are not commanded to love with more ability than we have, but with all the ability that we have. So it is not impossible. If it were impossible, God’s law would be unreasonable and unjust. Damnation would be infinite cruelty. But as God is just and as He does punish sinners, this shows that they were capable of avoiding their sin

Which is greater, the power of sin or the power of the cross and the grace of God?

If the power of the cross is greater than the power of sin, why can’t you stop sinning? Does not the cross make you love God? And if you love Him, you will obey Him. When you are tempted, just look at the cross. Put your faith in God and you will overcome sin.  As love is the fulfillment of the law – a complete satisfaction to our moral obligation. Love is perfection. God does not want us to have an imaginary holiness but an actual holiness. The Bible never says that Christ’s works of the law are imputed to us. That is not necessary as we are not justified by works of the law. The ”imputed righteousness of Christ” is a cliche and a myth. If you sin, God see’s it. Nothing is hide from His eyes the Bible says. He says, ”I know your works, be zealous therefore and repent.” Don’t dream that you are covered by the imputed righteousness of Christ while you continue to sin, thus making his work a license to sin. Rather, repent of your sins and then you will be pardoned by His grace and mercy.

Paul taught that we were not under the law, as in the Torah, but not that we were free from all moral obligation. As Paul said we are obligated to love God and love our neighbor. God is not an anarchist or an antinomian. He does not promote lawlessness. As Paul said, not without law to God but under the law of Christ.

God does not impute our trespasses to us when He forgives us and pardons us. This is conditional upon our repentance and faith. Holiness, in terms of the Christian, is an internal attitude of submission and obedience whereby we are set apart from sin and to the service of God. And Jesus not only saves our souls, He changes our lives. He is not only our justification, He is also our sanctification.  Justification by works of the law is impossible. Obedience cannot atone for past disobedience. Hence, we need gracious justification. God can declare us pardoned. He commands us to repent and believe and when we are converted He pardons all our past trespasses through the atonement of Christ.

”By nature children of wrath” in context is about how we previously lived a sinful lifestyle. The Greek word for nature in that passage can mean that which by long habit has become nature, according to Thayer which is one of the best Greek-English Lexicon available. The Bible also says that the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, which show the work of the law written on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness. Doesn’t sound like they were born totally depraved with a sinful nature. Conscience is part of our nature, and it tells us to obey God.

The Bible is clear that Jesus died for everyone but not everyone is saved because not everyone repents and believes. It is possible for those for whom Christ died to perish. As Paul said you can cause a brother to perish for whom Christ died. And you can deny the Lord who bought you and bring upon yourself swift destruction.

The atonement does not give us a license to sin or make salvation automatic for anyone. Pardon through the atonement is conditional. The Bible says repent, believe, and persevere unto the end. If we fail any of those points, we cannot expect God’s mercy but His wrath. Jesus said He that perseveres unto the end shall be saved. That speaks of salvation in the future tense. There are others passages that speak of it as past and present. I am saved. I am being saved. And I will be saved. The Bible says eternal life is to know God. And it says by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says I know Him and keeps not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in Him. So those who are obedient to God have eternal life and those who are disobedient do not. As it is written, He is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.

He tasted death for EVERY man it says. He is the propitiation, not only for our sins, but for the sins of the WHOLE world. Just as the serpent was lifted up for WHOSOEVER to be saved through it, so God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him would be saved, etc. There is no limited atonement in the foreshadow sacrifices.

People attack biblical holiness and the born again experience as self-righteousness and confuse biblical repentance with justification by works of the law. If a person is living in sin, aka sinning every day in word, thought, and deed, than it should be obviously that they haven’t put their faith in Christ. If they had confidence in His character and trusted Him they would do whatever He asks. As Hebrews 11 says by faith Abraham obeyed. Abraham was justified by an obedient faith, or a faith that resulted in obedience. What sins do you have in your life that you cannot stop? What sins do you have in your life that Christ cannot set you free from? Or really, what sin do you have in your life that you are unwilling to repent of?

Obedience can never atone for disobedience

We could never make up for our sins by obedience and we could never earn or merit salvation. It must come by grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. But it is conditional. We must repent and believe to receive it. I say that we must repent and believe (obedience to the gospel) but that our obedience to the gospel does not merit or earn salvation. ”By faith Abraham…obeyed” Hebrews 11:8. Abraham was justified by an obedient faith. There is a difference between conditions and grounds. Our obedience to the gospel is not the grounds of our salvation. It does not merit or earn salvation. Peter said, ”repent of this thy wickedness that the thought of your heart might be forgiven thee” and ”save yourselves from this untoward generation. Was Peter teaching heresy by telling them to save themselves? Certainly not. Repentance is a condition of forgiveness. We can only save ourselves, through the atonement of Christ, by repenting and believing.

Justification by works of the law is regarding the Torah and merit. It is not about repenting of your sins to be pardoned by grace and mercy. We do not need to obey the law (Torah) to be saved. But we must obey the gospel, which demands that we repent of our sins and trust in Christ. If good works are the evidence of faith, then bad works are the evidence of unbelief. There is no condemnation for those who walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. If you are living in sin, aka walking after the flesh, there is condemnation.  By faith you can live a pure and holy life. By faith you can overcome all sin and be perfect in heart. The same faith that justifies also sanctifies. Under the New Covenant we are not under obligation to the Torah, but only to the moral law of God. The New Testament does not command us to be circumcised, but to love God and love our neighbor.

“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Gal. 2:14

“To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” 1 Cor. 9:21.

We are not under the law of Moses, but under the law of Christ.

“For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Heb. 7:12.

“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things” Heb. 10:1.

The external and physical laws of the Old Covenant, like the clean and unclean food, circumcision, etc, were figurative of the internal and moral change that occurs under the New Covenant. Thus, the New Covenant fulfills the Old Covenant. These Old Covenant laws were figurative, but in the New Covenant that which is better has come. Hence,

“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;” Heb. 10:16.

You can read more from Jesse Morell on his website.

”Any theology that gives man a legitimate excuse for sin and maligns God’s holy character CANNOT, by definition be ‘God centered'”  (Kerrigan Skelly)