Free Will Proves The Sovereignty Of God

Posted: July 23, 2013 in Apologetics, Bible Doctrine, Calvinism
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J/A and Dr. Elisha Weismann

Seek ye the Lord while he may be foundcall ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9

There is a clear distinction between the mind of God and the mind of man. The struggle to define the boundaries of accountability and free choice is drawn between definitions of freedom. Free will is the ability to choose A or to not choose A without any compelling force that causes the choice, as opposed to determinism which is the view that God from eternity past has determined all things whatsoever comes to pass. Yet if determinism (viz, compatibilist freedom/soft determinism) is true, and our minds are simply following predetermined responses, then ultimately God is having a universal chess match with Himself.

Free will is important in distinguishing the difference between an infallible creator, and fallible humans. Permitting free will demonstrates that man makes choices that God would not make, and thoughts that God would not think, actions that God would not take. Free will shows that God’s thoughts and actions are infinitely superior to humans. By God allowing man to think and act independently without any external or internal compulsion, man proves that he is incapable of making the best and wisest choices. When man is given the choice to decide between A and B, and chooses B where God would have chosen A, man’s free will shows that he can not possibly be like God.

Free will proves the sovereignty of God far more than a deterministic system. If God determines that man chooses A, then ultimately man has not actually had the ability to make a decision that is independent from God, and if God controls the response as well as the decision, then there is no way to prove that man is not just as equally as intelligent as God.

In a compatibilist form of free will, compatibilists deny that man has the ability to refrain from choosing A or B, but only the freedom to incline and such inclinations being programmed into the man’s will. Thus man is still doing what he wants to do out of the will that he has been programmed with.

Thus, if a computer prints out the letters “ABCDEFG”, it does so not because it chooses to but because that is the manner in which the software has been designed to produce the sequence of letters. The computer is in effect printing what it wants to print based on the software that has given it its available options. However, if a glitch is introduced into the system that causes the computer to print “AXYZEFG” can the computer itself be blamed for its production?

The actions of the computer reflect the programming of the software designer. When a computer fails to produce what it was designed to produce, the creator of the software is held accountable because there is no distinction between the results produced by the computer, and the actions of the programmer. Thus ultimately, man who is pre-programmed to act out of a determined inclination can not be responsible or accountable for what he produces because his own actions and inclinations were not the cause or the ultimate origin of the glitches, but that of the programming.

For God to be the cause of man’s sinful actions and poor choices, deprives God of the ability to claim that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts because inevitably, our thoughts ARE His thoughts if our thoughts are the result of His determining. Compatibilist freedom is no more than a human philosophical attempt to be God. It turns our frailties into God’s attributes by proxy and extension.

Let God be true, and every man a liar (Rom 3:4). Albeit, man can not be said to be a liar if his thoughts and actions are concurrently dictated by that which God determines them to be predisposed to. Ultimately, God would be the cause of the lie, and could not consistently maintain His own truthfulness. The Bible shows an obvious distinction between choice and causation, yet determinism would opine that the 2 are equal:

“Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD” Deuteronomy 12:11

Only libertarian free will provides the distinction between God and humans. Only the permissive will of God that allows humans to act independently and autonomously proves that man is a complete failure in comparison to God. God proves nothing of Himself by determining men to fail. There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Prov 14:12. We see this concept often in our own families with our children. We often permit children to do things that we don’t always approve of, only for them to return later and say “Dad, you were right”. If we force them to do precisely what we desire, we can make no distinction between their reasons, will, and choices from ours. Thus we demonstrate that we are wiser than our children by allowing them to freely fail.

The concept of free will and accountability for choices is ingrained not only into our morals but also our governments. In the legal system, duress is a defense against actions that compelled the defendant to act otherwise than he would have chosen to. Likewise those who compel another to commit a crime are charged with conspiracy.The Bible is replete with examples of free will and accountability:

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8

“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9

” Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” Hebrews 11:25

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Luke 14:28

“Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.” 2 Samuel 24:12

” And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

” But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them….I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deut 30:17,19.

Furthermore, the Old Testament is full of moments where God shows anger for rebellion against Him. Isaiah 65:2, 2 Sam 4:21, Exodus 4:14, 2 Kings 13:3, Numbers 12:9, Joshua 7:1-13, 2 Sam 24:1, Isaiah 5:25, Judges 2:14. That fact that God reacts negatively to decisions that are made against His will show that God did not determine their actions. It would be absurd to imply that God is angry over actions that He determined and caused.

” 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.” Jeremiah 32:35

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

The fact that the Bible itself proscribes against compelling others to sin and choose to act negatively is telling of the character of God. Mark 9:42, Romans 14:21.

There are clear Biblical and logical reasons to reject any form of determinism and compatibilist freedom. Divine determinism is an affront to the sovereignty of God because it not only makes the human will and mind equal to God and provides no distinction between His thoughts and our thoughts as it only claims to limit capacity but not origin, it fails to prove that God always chooses that which is ultimately the best and wisest choices by eliminating any standard of comparison to that which is autonomously inferior, thus obscuring God’s own will as well as turning options themselves into a deity equally rivaling God’s omnipotence.

When determinism is compared to Scripture, and reduced to its logical denouement it fails miserably as a legitimate explanation of our relationship to God, our accountability and responsibility for decisions, the very existence of choices, and God’s own autonomy and omnipotence. No Christian should ever be a compatibilist. Only free will rightly provides the distinction that demonstrates the holiness and sovereignty of God.

__________________________

See also short excerpts from Dr. Elisha Weismann’s debate on secondary causation on our forum

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Comments
  1. For anyone who wants to hear an incredible display of ignorance and arrogance combined, here is Jason Wetherbee blaming God for his adultery. (nope….neither kidding nor exaggerating…listen for yourself) http://victorybc.org/bro-jason-wetherbee/

    • drjamesa says:

      Not really sure how that ties in with this article unless it’s implied somewhere in the message. If you could narrow down the @time that would make it much easier to determine what he said.

      • Brian says:

        I haven’t listened to the pod cast but I think the point that Jerry is making is because God gave human beings free will, it does not make senses to blame God when we do things that are wrong.

        I’ve also noticed that some people want it both ways……they want to exercise free will but they blame God for the evil that men do in the world.

      • drjamesa says:

        I have not listened to all of it, I have other things to do then spend 37 minutes trying to listen for dirt on someone. If the offense is obvious THEN I address it, but I skimmed through it in 30 second intervals trying to hear the story and didn’t hear it which is why I asked that if someone did listen to all of it, point out the time line (for example, “it is discussed at 27:39”).

        And you are right about the selective use of free will. Unfortunately there are many of the determinist persuasion that see God being behind every act as prove of His sovereignty (rape, murder, molestation, blasphemy) and their best response is “It’s a mystery, who are you to reply against God?”.

  2. Bert Craft says:

    I must state from the outset that I respectfully disagree with the author´s presuppositions, arguments and his conclusions. The author with words paints a low, humanized view of the glorious God of eternity, a distorted, high view of man, and a disconnected, disorderly, and unbiblical presentation of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. To avoid a long discourse, which will not be read by most, I briefly highlight several points which I feel obligated in my conscience to mention.

    1. Regarding the infinite, majestic, eternally glorious being, the triune God, our Creator, the God of glory, and my Redeemer and Saviour–He is omniscient and wise from eternity and His thoughts cannot be compared to those of any other creature. He is the God who declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done (Isaiah 46:9-10). His counsel shall stand, He will do all His pleasure, He has spoken and will bring it to pass, He has purposed and will also do it (Isaiah 46:11). These points are emphasized in contrast to the disparaging statement of the author: “…as opposed to determinism which is the view that God from eternity past has determined all things whatsoever comes to pass.” Throughout his article, he sharply criticizes the God who has determined all things from eternity. To deny this God is a gross form of idolatry creating a different, false god according to the corrupt thoughts of man.

    2. Free will is part of the personality of God. His personality consists of an intelligent mind, of holy emotions, and a free will of self-determination. Created in His likeness, man shares the same personality of mind, emotions, and free will. The free-will in God and man is the liberty of self-determination without external compulsions. However, this self-determination can only be expressed according to the nature of the one who is exercising it. If we understand free will as many propose, God would be free to sin and act in a way contrary to His holy, immutable nature. God forbid! In spite of his fallen state, man continues with the capacity of self-determination, but his free choice can only be exercised according to his corrupted nature. As Isaiah the prophet so clearly states, “From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in man.” Since the fall, man´s mind is darkened, his emotions are distorted, and his will has been perverted. Surely man´s free does not determine his eternal destiny, as the Scripture states: “…which were (spiritually) born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man (free will), but of God (John 1:12-13). “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16).

    3. Belief in the sovereignty of God does not in any way deny man´s responsibility. C.H. Spurgeon, the highly respected British Prince of preachers, made the following statement in his sermon entitled, “Sovereign Grace and Man´s Responsibility,” preached on Sunday morning, August 1, 1858 (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0207.htm): “If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is foreordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe that they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.” Like Spurgeon, I believe both. Yes, it is true that man is commanded to choose between life and death, to turn to the Lord, to repent, to believe, to come to Christ, etc. However, these evangelical commands, like all moral commands, only serve to expose the inability of man to truly obey and his need of the new birth. As the Psalmist so clearly states in Psalm 110:3 that His people shall be willing in the day of His power. Paul declares in Philippians 2:13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” By God´s grace alone in Christ, man is enabled to obey the commands of Christ from the heart for His glory.

    I invite you to consider these humble, Biblical thoughts in contrast to the author´s study of a low, humanized view of God, an exalted, distorted view of man, and a disconnected and disorderly understanding of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. Whether you agree or not, I invite your feedback at bfcraft@mac.com.

    • drjamesa says:

      Bert said:

      I must state from the outset that I respectfully disagree with the author´s presuppositions, arguments and his conclusions. The author with words paints a low, humanized view of the glorious God of eternity, a distorted, high view of man, and a disconnected, disorderly, and unbiblical presentation of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. To avoid a long discourse, which will not be read by most, I briefly highlight several points which I feel obligated in my conscience to mention.

      This is a rather “harpooning the jury” opening statement. Considering that the crux of the article is about proving the sovereignty of GOD instead of man, it is difficult to understand how you would attribute such a motive to “humanism”.

      Bert said

      1. Regarding the infinite, majestic, eternally glorious being, the triune God, our Creator, the God of glory, and my Redeemer and Saviour–He is omniscient and wise from eternity and His thoughts cannot be compared to those of any other creature. He is the God who declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done (Isaiah 46:9-10). His counsel shall stand, He will do all His pleasure, He has spoken and will bring it to pass, He has purposed and will also do it (Isaiah 46:11). These points are emphasized in contrast to the disparaging statement of the author: “…as opposed to determinism which is the view that God from eternity past has determined all things whatsoever comes to pass.” Throughout his article, he sharply criticizes the God who has determined all things from eternity. To deny this God is a gross form of idolatry creating a different, false god according to the corrupt thoughts of man.

      God DECLARING the end from the beginning is not the same as God DECREEING the end from the beginning. Calvinists interpret this verse as if God FORCES all event to occur simply because He foreknows them, and there is NOTHING in that verse to support that notion. That is actually far more humanistic than your accusation because it is philosophical fatalism and determinism. You have turned God’s foreknowledge into its own deity having its own independent attributes which rival God instead of simply defining foreknowledge for exactly what it means-to KNOW and to KNOW AHEAD OF TIME.

      Furthermore, God declaring that He will bring things to pass is ALWAYS in the context of a very specific prophetic event. And yet there are times when what God has declared that which comes to pass is based on MANS RESPONSE, not God’s deterministic foreknowledge. For example, Jonah 3 is clear that God DID NOT DO what He said He WOULD DO because the people of Ninevah repented at the preaching of Jonah. Jonah 3:8-10. Also, In 1 Samuel 23, David inquired of the Lord whether or not Saul would “come down”. God told David that Saul “WILL come down”. David then altered his course and changed the destiny of what God said WOULD HAPPEN because in 1 Samuel 23:13, SAUL FORBARE and DID NOT COME DOWN.

      Calvinism is willing to accept that God does all things out of His good pleasure, but deny the possibility that God could have made man free out of His good pleasure. Yet you argument fails to rebut the point that I have made that Calvinist determinism does not provide any distinction between God and man. It is the standard Calvinist redefining of terms to fit their theology.

      Bert said

      2. Free will is part of the personality of God. His personality consists of an intelligent mind, of holy emotions, and a free will of self-determination. Created in His likeness, man shares the same personality of mind, emotions, and free will. The free-will in God and man is the liberty of self-determination without external compulsions. However, this self-determination can only be expressed according to the nature of the one who is exercising it. If we understand free will as many propose, God would be free to sin and act in a way contrary to His holy, immutable nature. God forbid! In spite of his fallen state, man continues with the capacity of self-determination, but his free choice can only be exercised according to his corrupted nature. As Isaiah the prophet so clearly states, “From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in man.” Since the fall, man´s mind is darkened, his emotions are distorted, and his will has been perverted. Surely man´s free does not determine his eternal destiny, as the Scripture states: “…which were (spiritually) born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man (free will), but of God (John 1:12-13). “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16).

      Saying that man’s will is perverted is a far cry from saying that man’s will is unable. You are attempting to inject total inability into an article that is not about this issue. Man’s fallen will does not remove his choice to act otherwise than he could if he wanted to. God created man upright (Eccl 7:29) but it is man that chooses to devise his own evils. Yes, man is depraved. No Non Calvinist denies this and we agree with the federal headship that Adam has over sinners regarding their nature, but depraved nature does not prove an unabled nature. God did not program man to sin against him, nor did He program man to reject Him. You are failing to see the logical implications of that if He did, which would be God being the author of sin. No amount of philosophical dancing can change that conclusion regardless of the Westminster Confessions attempt to preemptively dismiss this. Being depraved does not mean that a sinner can not do good, it does mean that he can not CONTINUE to do good consistently because he does not have the power to overcome his nature, and his best efforts are still short of the glory of God.

      But, this emphasis on the inability of man by Calvinists ignores the fact that God’s forgiveness is based on man repenting for what he IS, not what he DOES. Your argument in comparing God’s will to man’s will is an argument against options. God can not sin because that sin is not an option within His nature. Thus you can not say that such a definition of free will is compatible with mans free will because man has options that God does not and any such comparison is non sequitur and erroneous.

      And it never ceases to amaze me that Calvinists rely on John 1:13 and ALWAYS ignore the “ordo salutis” of John 1:12. John 1 clearly shows that Christ came to His OWN and His OWN received Him not. That alone destroys the Calvinist view of election, but furthermore in John 1:12, the receiving comes BEFORE the power to become the sons of God. The Calvinist reads this verse as “to them who are given the power to become the sons of God WILL receive Him”. That’s not what the verse says. It says to them that RECEIVE HIM to THEM gave he the power to become the sons of God.

      And “of him that willeth” in Romans 9:16 (one of the most misquoted verses in Calvinism) has absolutely nothing to do with free will. The verse does not say “So it is not of him that wills but of God that gives salvation”. What the text clearly says is that how God chooses to have mercy is HIS BUSINESS and if He wants to choose to have mercy on those who come to Him by faith, then He can. The context from start to finish is about Paul’s kinsmen according to the flesh, and debunking the argument that just because there are descendents who were born IN JACOB (Israel) does not mean they are OF Israel because the spiritual promises came through the line of Sarah, not Hagar (Romans 9:3-8). God chose Jacob over Esau to bless the nations of the world. The church received the spiritual promises through Christ, and Christ came from the line of Judah. But there is another promise that is being addressed in Romans 9-11 and that is the PHYSICAL promises that were given through the birthright of Ephraim in Genesis 38-39 which are not reckoned after the genealogy of Judah (1 Chronicles 5:1). This is the question that is posed in Romans 9-11: If the church inherited the blessings, and yet Israel was God’s elect (Isa 45:4), and yet Israel rejected Christ, then how is it that God’s promises are “without repentance” (Romans 11:28)? Did God cast away His people which He foreknew? The Calvinist see Romans 9 as individual salvation but somehow think that Romans says “Did God cast away His CHURCH which He foreknew?”. TO make Romans 9-11 apply to individual salvation, you have to perform hermeneutic gymnastics to reinvent all the verses about Israel.

      Romans 9-11 is about the difference between the remnant elect of ISRAEL (Romans 9:27) who are enemies of the gospel (Romans 11:27) during THIS TIME (Romans 11:25-26), but will be “raised from the dead” (Romans 11:15) because they are still beloved of the father’s sake concerning their previous election (Romans 11:28). That election has to do with a remnant that will be saved during the tribulation and inherit the physical promises of the kingdom that was promised through Ephraim.

      Thus the decision of God to show mercy on the Gentiles as a result of Israel’s rejection had nothing to do with the will of a Jew or their being the elect of God. The Jew was not an heir to the spiritual blessings simply because he was of the physical lineage of Jacob. Romans 9:16 is about God choosing a nation to inherit the promises that another nation rejected, and about His decision to choose WHO to bring those promises through and man’s will had nothing to do with God choosing HOW or through WHOM this would occur. It has NOTHING to do with man not having free will to believe in Christ. Romans 9:16 must be completely stripped from it’s context and privately interpreted in the most extreme manner to make it say otherwise.

      Bert said

      3. Belief in the sovereignty of God does not in any way deny man´s responsibility. C.H. Spurgeon, the highly respected British Prince of preachers, made the following statement in his sermon entitled, “Sovereign Grace and Man´s Responsibility,” preached on Sunday morning, August 1, 1858 (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0207.htm): “If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is foreordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe that they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.” Like Spurgeon, I believe both. Yes, it is true that man is commanded to choose between life and death, to turn to the Lord, to repent, to believe, to come to Christ, etc. However, these evangelical commands, like all moral commands, only serve to expose the inability of man to truly obey and his need of the new birth. As the Psalmist so clearly states in Psalm 110:3 that His people shall be willing in the day of His power. Paul declares in Philippians 2:13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” By God´s grace alone in Christ, man is enabled to obey the commands of Christ from the heart for His glory.

      It is not the sovereignty of God that Non Calvinists have a problem with, it is your view of sovereignty always being relegated to a mystery when there are contradictions in your theology that we have an issue with. Just because you say it isn’t a conflict does not clear up the contradiction because Calvinists simply refuses to deal with the implications of their theology.

      If 2 lines run parallel (panentheism) and both depend on actions of the other to validate them, then both are necessary to demonstrate the others existence, power, and attributes. This creates no distinction between man and God and you have not offered anything that refutes that conclusion.

      You have made the leap from depravity to inability without providing any logical connection that merely because man has a corrupted nature that he is unable to willing to what is right or hear and respond to the gospel without being regenerated first. When Adam was in the garden, he was dead in sin, and yet heard and responded to God (Gen 3:9) and notice that God provided a sacrifice (Gen 3:21, to make a coat of skins means an animal had to die!) for Adam AFTER Adam had responded to God WHILE HE WAS DEAD IN SIN.

      Psalm 110:3 has already been address in a previous response to you in another article, but I’ll say again:

      “Notice the verse says they shall be willing in the day of His power. But this verse is in reference to corporate Israel. It is a prophetic and predictable statement that once Israel has had enough judgment, they will be willing to follow God. The verse doesn’t say “Thy power shall make them willing” but that they will be willing in the day of His power.

      “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” Matthew 15:28″

      And Phillipians 2:13 there is no God working in you both to will and to do without the “work out YOUR OWN salvation” of verse 12. Whoever you yield to to obey, that’s who servant you become. WHEN you yield to the Holy Spirit, God works through you to will and to do. If these verse meant a deterministic imposition of the will, then you would never backslide which is another problem that the Calvinist faces in that: How is it that God predetermines your salvation but not your works? If God forces you to be saved then why isn’t He forcing you to walk in good works because if the Calvinistic definition of “ordained” was applied consistently, then Eph 2:10 would show that you should never be able to backslide. Thus Calvinists argue for compatibilist freedom when getting saved, and libertarian freedom when remaining in good standing with God AFTER salvation.

      Although most of your argument are simply other proof texts for different areas of Calvinism, your response really didn’t address the main issue of the article and it didn’t address ANY of the Biblical arguments raised.

  3. drjamesa says:

    And Bert, I’ll get to your comment later so I can respond to it timely. This is a comment section and you wrote a book LOL. But there are some points in your comment I want to address because they are commonly held objections by Calvinists that I have addressed on other forums that I would like to post here.

    • Bert Craft says:

      Hello, Dr. Ach! Just inquiring as to why you might be holding up my post when you have allowed others to give their response and you have even published new posts. Is there a character or word limit for the comment section? If there is, I am sorry because I was not aware of it. As Baptists I believe that we should be free to believe and express our convictions according to the dictates of our own conscience lest we be found to be of the spirit of the Protestants and Catholics who for centuries have censored other´s teaching. May God´s Word have free course for His own eternal glory! Greetings to you and yours. Bert

      • drjamesa says:

        No there’s no limit, but I read all of them first, and if it’s a lengthy comment, it may take a while for me to post it, because a lengthy comment obviously is going to merit a lengthy response. I don’t post responses that oppose the views that this site holds without an equal response, but I do post them, sometimes I just get busy and it takes a while. The other ones were posted because frankly, they were short!

        UPDATE 7/28

        I have now responded above to your comment. Hopefully you can see now why it took me longer to post it 🙂

  4. Jeff Thomas says:

    Bert said:”“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16).”

    The common error of the Reformist as shown in Berts comment, is in the predicated inference that Romans 9 is relative to salvation.. which is the justification from transgressions in Christ. This same false doctrine of predeterminism has even crept into non Reformed circles of thought which also assume calling and election pertains to salvation.
    The chapter is pertaining to vessels chosen or elected for SERVICE to/for God’s purposes, NOT for the determination of justification from transgressions.
    The Calvinist errantly uses passages out of this book (and others) to shore up dogma’s of man which establish the predeterminism or a “jews of the flesh” determination purpose by God. Rather, God shows in this chapter that it is not by the predetermination of the vessel in it’s creation ..that would be the works of the flesh or the jew of the flesh..but rather God determines vessels of SERVICE by the purpose of election (choice) in “PROMISE”.
    Paul establishes that all of the promises, glory, covenants, and service of God “pertained” to Israel according to the flesh (9:3), but that it is the jew of “promise” that inherits the blessing.

    Promise being defined shows that in order for a declaration by man or God to become “promise” it MUST have an object that hopes or expects the doing or forbearing of some future distinction. A declaration which does NOT have an object that exercises faith upon it, remains not a declaration only and NOT “promise”.

    Websters 1828 dictionary
    PROM’ISE, n.

    1. In a general sense, a declaration, written or verbal, made by one person to another, which binds the person who makes it, either in honor, conscience or law, to do or forbear a certain act specified; a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made, a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of the act.
    . Hopes; expectation, or that which affords expectation of future distinction;

    Paul shows:
    8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

    Quite frankly, Romans 9 utterly refutes the dogma of predeterminism in the flesh…the preordination of a created vessel to the blessing. This is the “jew of the flesh” doctrine which the unrighteous jew adhered to that being created a jew by the predetermination of God, therefore gave him a “birthright” and the gentile (all other people types) were dogs without and not the inheritors of the promises.

    Each and every individual in Romans 9 used in its examples, were vessels which were CHOSEN or ELECTED to serve God’s purpose…there is NOTHING in this chapter that pertains to justification from transgressions. Even the mentioning of Jacob and Esau (Esau embracing the “jew of the flesh” determination of a “birthright”…which God hated in him) was pertinent to the PROMISE made to Rebecca, that the elder would SERVE the younger…their creation having no bearing or “determination” on the matter. Because of Rebecca’s faith, she received a “promise” and the “seed” was determined thereby.
    And even in Pharaoh, a vessel ELECTED to serve God even as the Pharaoh that Joseph served under..to preserve life, not to destroy life… he (and all kings) being raised up for this purpose (to preserve the life,) and the recorded longsuffering and mercy of God being worked in him in striving with him repeatedly as a vessel in the hands of the Potter..a vessel unto honor in SERVICE.
    Yet despite the predetermninist “jew of the flesh” that Paul hypothetically chided with..that arrogantly stated that none can resist his will …and therefore God would be unrighteous to render mercy and longsuffering TO ALL MEN and then change his determinations having been rejected and make the SAME LUMP (vessel) a vessel “fitted” or adapted, to destruction.

    The chapter is about the vessels elected to service and shown to be vessels that are conformed to the purpose of God according to election or choosing and that choosing of the object to exercise faith in a declaration and thereby establishing the children of God, via “promise….NOT predeterminism in the flesh or preordination to a birthright.

  5. Jeff Thomas says:

    ” A declaration which does NOT have an object that exercises faith upon it, remains not a declaration only and NOT “promise”.”

    should read:
    A declaration which does NOT have an object that exercises faith upon it, remains a declaration only and NOT “promise”.

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