WARNING: Verbosity Alert
I agree in principle with this, there are many places where the Bible says GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plans will prevail and he will Ã¢â‚¬Å“surely bring it to passÃ¢â‚¬Â. But I believe these Old & New testament passages discussed in this thread show that God in his Sovereignty did create a somewhat counter-intuitive part of His grand plan Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he planned it so that men had the capability to reject His love, or His will in the sense of His desire that all men be saved (I realize we have already covered this ground, but I think it is again worth noting that it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make sense for God to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“longsufferingÃ¢â‚¬Â [2 Peter 3] for something he shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to suffer over if he has already determined who will be saved).
We are not as far apart as I once thought. Let's look at it from a slightly different angle. Romans 1:18-21 makes it clear that men have all they need right in front of their eyes. They can receive and accept it if they want to. They have a choice of the will. Their problem is that their wills are so corrupted that they absolutely will not
have God to rule over them. Apart, that is, from a regenerating of the heart which God must do before
a man can receive him. We are, as the Scriptures repeatedly teach, "dead in sins", and dead men have no power of self-revival. In 1 Peter 2:6-8 we have this (emphasis added), "Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; and A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
" Appointed. I.E. selected by God for disobedience. The reflexive position is obvious: God also chose some for obedience. Soverign election, Fred, wherein the wills of the elect are restored to their pre-Adamic condition, able to freely choose God.
... But like a gentlemen, he will invite people to his house and encourage them with great longsuffering that they come, but he will not force them to join the free party (it is His Will to not force them). They have to say yes. Note that it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Ã¢â‚¬Å“worksÃ¢â‚¬Â to say yes to a free offer, especially when you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t deserve that free offer.
Those who say yes do so by their free will. But only after they have been made able. And I am in certain agreement with you that such acceptance is in no way a work. On the other hand, those who presume on the Lord, are unrepentant, disobedient, etc., etc., but who style themselves Christians because they are church members, are guilty of trying to appropriate salvation by a work of their corrupt and fallen wills. Thier lives deny their confession.
The Calvinist position on the other hand is that God planned for the people of Nineveh to repent, they had no choice in the matter but to repent because GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will in this matter would not be thwarted. But the text does not support this in any straightforward way that I can see. It still has to be allegorized to get around this textual problem.
Allegorized? Not at all. God wanted them to repent and gave them the hearts necessary for it. All this is obvious from what we know with certainty of the fallen nature of man. All men are called to repent, but only those whom God has, to quote Peter, "appointed", will actually do so.
Another verse to throw into the mix:
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. - 1 John 2:2:
It would seem difficult to say this verse applies only to Ã¢â‚¬Å“the electÃ¢â‚¬Â, or those chosen for salvation. It just doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fit the Ã¢â‚¬Å“limited atonementÃ¢â‚¬Â of Calvinism.
Au contraire, mon ami. It fits beautifully. Bear with me because at this point I am going to get all scholarly.but also for the sins of the whole world;
"the Syriac version renders it, "not for us only, but also for the whole world"; that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote unto, but for the Gentiles also. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings than to call the Gentiles עלמא, "the world"; and כל העולם, "the whole world"; and אומות העולם, "the nations of the world" (l); See Gill on John 12:19; and the word "world" is so used in Scripture; see Joh_3:16; and stands opposed to a notion the Jews have of the Gentiles, that אין להן כפרה, "there is no propitiation for them" (m): and it is easy to observe, that when this phrase is not used of the Gentiles, it is to be understood in a limited and restrained sense; as when they say (n),
"it happened to a certain high priest, that when he went out of the sanctuary, כולי עלמא, "the whole world" went after him;''
which could only design the people in the temple. And elsewhere (o) it is said,
"amle ylwk, "the "whole world" has left the Misna, and gone after the "Gemara";''
which at most can only intend the Jews; and indeed only a majority of their doctors, who were conversant with these writings: and in another place (p),
"amle ylwk, "the whole world" fell on their faces, but Raf did not fall on his face;''
where it means no more than the congregation. Once more, it is said (q), when
"R. Simeon ben Gamaliel entered (the synagogue), כולי עלמא, "the whole world" stood up before him;''
that is, the people in the synagogue: to which may be added Ã‚Â®,
"when a great man makes a mourning, כולי עלמא, "the whole world" come to honour him;''
i.e. a great number of persons attend the funeral pomp: and so these phrases, כולי עלמא לא פליגי, "the whole world" is not divided, or does not dissent (s); כולי עלמא סברי, "the whole world" are of opinion (t), are frequently met with in the Talmud, by which, an agreement among the Rabbins, in certain points, is designed; yea, sometimes the phrase, "all the men of the world" (u), only intend the inhabitants of a city where a synagogue was, and, at most, only the Jews: and so this phrase, "all the world", or "the whole world", in Scripture, unless when it signifies the whole universe, or the habitable earth, is always used in a limited sense, either for the Roman empire, or the churches of Christ in the world, or believers, or the present inhabitants of the world, or a part of them only, Luk_2:1; and so it is in this epistle, 1Jo_5:19; where the whole world lying in wickedness is manifestly distinguished from the saints, who are of God, and belong not to the world; and therefore cannot be understood of all the individuals in the world; and the like distinction is in this text itself, for "the sins of the whole world" are opposed to "our sins", the sins of the apostle and others to whom he joins himself; who therefore belonged not to, nor were a part of the whole world, for whose sins Christ is a propitiation as for theirs: so that this passage cannot furnish out any argument for universal redemption; for besides these things, it may be further observed, that for whose sins Christ is a propitiation, their sins are atoned for and pardoned, and their persons justified from all sin, and so shall certainly be glorified, which is not true of the whole world, and every man and woman in it; moreover, Christ is a propitiation through faith in his blood, the benefit of his propitiatory sacrifice is only received and enjoyed through faith; so that in the event it appears that Christ is a propitiation only for believers, a character which does not agree with all mankind; add to this, that for whom Christ is a propitiation he is also an advocate, 1Jo_2:1; but he is not an advocate for every individual person in the world; yea, there is a world he will not pray for Joh_17:9, and consequently is not a propitiation for them. Once more, the design of the apostle in these words is to comfort his "little children" with the advocacy and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, who might fall into sin through weakness and inadvertency; but what comfort would it yield to a distressed mind, to be told that Christ was a propitiation not only for the sins of the apostles and other saints, but for the sins of every individual in the world, even of these that are in hell? Would it not be natural for persons in such circumstances to argue rather against, than for themselves, and conclude that seeing persons might be damned notwithstanding the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, that this might, and would be their case. In what sense Christ is a propitiation; see Gill on Rom_3:25. The Jews have no notion of the Messiah as a propitiation or atonement; sometimes they say (w) repentance atones for all sin; sometimes the death of the righteous (x); sometimes incense (y); sometimes the priests' garments (z); sometimes it is the day of atonement (a); and indeed they are in the utmost puzzle about atonement; and they even confess in their prayers (
, that they have now neither altar nor priest to atone for them."
(l) Jarchi in Isa. liii. 5. (m) T. Hieros. Nazir, fol. 57. 3. Vid. T. Bab. Succa, fol. 55. 2. (n) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 71. 2. (o) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 33. 2. (p) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 22. 2. (q) T. Bab. Horayot, fol. 13. 2. Ã‚Â® Piske Toseph. Megilla, art. 104. (s) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 90. 2. & Kiddushin, fol. 47. 2. & 49. 1. & 65. 2. & Gittin, fol. 8. 1. & 60. 2. (t) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 48. 1. (u) Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 11. sect. 16. (w) Zohar in Lev. fol. 29. 1. (x) Ib. fol. 24. 1. T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 38. 2. (y) T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 88. 2. & Erachin, fol. 16. 1. (z) T. Bab. Zebachim, ib. T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 44. 2. (a) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 87. 1. & T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 45. 2, 3. (
Seder Tephillot, fol. 41. 1. Ed. Amsterd.
See? All it takes is a little knowledge of Jewish idiom.
I think these numerous Old Testament passages we are discussing coupled with over 100 Ã¢â‚¬Å“allÃ¢â‚¬Â verses in the New Testament (such as 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 3, etc), do not fit well in a system where God picked individuals beforehand for hell, and others for heaven,
Even though that is exactly what the Bible says He did?
...without any chance whatsoever for man to have any say in that outcome.
What is often overlooked here is that men are born dead in sin. They are guilty from the womb. "As in Adam all died". God owes the guilty nothing except justice. That he has chosen to have mercy on some, but not on others is by no stretch of the imagination unfair. I know that is difficult, but I didn't say it.
Without a say, it strips love, because love is impossible where there is no free will.
The natural man does not, indeed can not, love God. If it were not that God loved us even when we were His enemies all would be lost. But you are right: without free will love is impossible. Fallen man can and does exhibit worldly love, but love toward God is a gift of the Spirit. Love toward God is part of the package received at the moment of conversion and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is not something the spiritually dead man can conjure up on his own.
Let me reiterate that the Bible makes it clear that we cannot attain our salvation, God has to draw us, but God did grant us the right to reject or accept the free gift (a free gift does not require works to obtain it).
God does draw us. But why did Jesus say, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me,
is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand (John 10:27-29, emphasis added) if we are not a chosen gift?
The real problem is that the majority of men will concoct their own god (or gods). IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve long said that SatanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s biggest lie is not evolution, but instead that Ã¢â‚¬Å“being goodÃ¢â‚¬Â gets you to heaven; an extension of which is Ã¢â‚¬Å“many paths lead to heavenÃ¢â‚¬Â.
True. Very true.
The world is not the source for knowledge of God beyond the fact that He is. What is the source? Jesus said, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4). Someone will say that that does not preclude the wisdom of the world, but it does because the world is fallen and completely corrupt. It His Word that will prosper, not the words of the world (Isaiah 55:11).
It seems you are agreeing with me here that we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t trust any idea that comes from the world; hence, you must now denounce Calvinism since immutability was widely taught by Greek Pagan philosophy.
Now Fred, that is a nice try but I ain't buying it. Every doctrine I teach is heavily supported by scripture. But you already know that. And immutability is no different. I close with this demonstration of that fact: Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.