Tag Archives: will
God cannot be in control of some things. He can’t be in control and sovereign over nature, except when hurricanes happen. He can’t be in control and sovereign over wild life, except when they attack children. And God can’t be in control and sovereign over conception (Hosea 9:11-14) and the death (Job 14:5) of humans, but nothing in between. Are we really about to admit that it is God that determines when a person is born, and when that person dies, but He has no sovereignty over any action in the life of that person? This would be a disastrous and patently unbiblical conclusion.
The view concerning man’s will is one of debate among Arminians and Reformed theologians. Arminians believe that man has the ability, the free will, to choose Christ. Reformed theologians believe that due to the bondage of the will to sin, man does not have the ability to choose Christ without the regenerating work and effectual calling of the Holy Spirit. This distinction has been the source of much debate between these two theological groups.
Before moving forward, it is important to understand that it is a universally agreed upon fact that man has a will and can make choices based upon that will. However, what is not true is that man has the ability to freely choose Christ based solely upon his own free will. Let me explain the difference.
In these verses we come to understand that the will of man is bent on evil and rejection of God. There is no one that will, of his own free will, choose God (Rom. 3:10-19). In fact, the human will is so captive to sin that no man has any desire for God and prefers the darkness over the light (John 3:19). This means that the idea of free will is true. But it also means that if given a choice man will always choose sin, the darkness, and always choose to reject Christ.
When given the choice between sin and Christ, man will always choose sin.
Regarding salvation God’s sovereignty is a critical aspect that is misunderstood by many Christians. Some choose to reject the biblical doctrine of election because, in their words, “it’s not fair.” But, as we will see, the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty cannot be divorced.
Concerning election and God’s sovereignty, we understand that God freely elects some to saving faith in Jesus while others are destined for eternal destruction. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans this way:
Some would say that if we only make our churches cool enough, make them “inclusive,” or “approachable,” that people will come and will find Jesus. But this understanding of the Gospel and the purpose of the church is wrong. The Bible makes it clear that “no one seeks God.” (Rom. 3:11) Even more blunt than that is the truth that Jesus spoke when He told us “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44) In these verses we have clear teaching that no one is seeking God, no one is looking for salvation in Jesus. In fact, no one has the ability to “find Jesus” unless the Father first draws that person. And Judas is a perfect example of this truth.
Judas was a devil.
The fact that God chose Abraham out of the many He could have chosen makes the concept of biblical election clear. This example also shows us that election is an act of God’s sovereign will, having nothing to do with the person being chosen (elected). Abraham didn’t petition God to be elected, God chose Abraham before Abraham chose God. But, and this is important, once God chose Abraham, Abraham then chose God. When God called Abraham to leave his country, Abraham obeyed. This is the perfect picture of election because God chose Abraham, then Abraham chose God, just as the American people choose their president and then the “president-elect” chooses the American people by accepting the position.
You see the doctrines of election and predestination don’t eliminate the preaching of the Gospel or evangelism because those are the only means by which any person can be saved. And since, as Keller points out, no one knows who is and who is not part of the elect, we have a responsibility to preach the Gospel to “all men.” It is not surprising that the Bible calls “all men” to repentance on many occasions. We see the Apostles in the New Testament often preaching to large groups of people and calling them to repent and be saved. And on many occasions Jesus preached to large crowds. More than once we read of many people being saved, but not all. But at every opportunity all were called to repentance and no one was singled out as part of the elect.
I will be the first to say that the doctrine of election and predestination is one that will require much wrestling. It is not a doctrine that you will one day wake up and fully accept. It is a doctrine that will take time, prayer, study, wrestling, and conversation. And, chances are, you will need to ask God some very difficult questions along the way. That’s ok, God doesn’t mind.
Let me first commend to you this article by Tim Keller. Pastor Keller is a highly respected pastor, theologian, and Bible teacher. Dr. Keller has written a short commentary on three of the most asked questions regarding the doctrine of election and predestination. I highly recommend you read the entire article. The questions Keller addresses are:
If you believe in election, doesn’t that leave you with the problem of why God doesn’t choose to save everyone?
But if everything is fixed and certain, why pray, evangelize, or do anything at all?
I believe the Bible and I see all the teaching about election, but why do I still dislike it?
I’ve been following the judicial activism in states with traditional marriage laws as federal judges, acting alone, usurp the will of the people and enact sweeping changes unilaterally. For previous comments on states that have had marriage redefined for them within the past year or so, scroll down to see an earlier post. (Or click here for my first post on the subject.)
The first post centered around 13 states – conservative states – where marriage was being threatened by judicial activism. Since that first post, much has changed. Two more states were added, Georgia and Wisconsin. Of the original 13 both Utah and Indiana have now had marriage redefined for them – along with Wisconsin.
All in all this means that 15 conservative states where marriage laws protected natural, one man one woman marriage by a vote of the people have now had those laws wiped out by a single judge. That fact should trouble ever freedom loving American that believes our Constitution stands as a barrier to such radical activism.
For news regarding the decision in Indiana you can click here. For news on what is happening in Wisconsin you can click here. For news on what is happening in Utah you can click here.