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Divine sovereignty and mans will

Discussion in 'Bible Study Forum' started by Dave..., Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Dave...

    Dave... New Member

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    Divine Sovereignty and Human Will God's Words is not only unapologetic, but also relentless in teaching God's complete sovereignty over all He created, every rain drop that falls, every lot that is drawn, every sparrow that falls, none of these things happen contrary to God's decree. He ordains all to happen. His Word also teaches us that man makes responsible choices and will be held accountable for them. The Bible teaches both of these truths in the same breath more than a few times. Divine sovereignty and human will, Compatible or Incompatible? God's sovereignty is uneffected, no matter how free or how enslaved one might be (compatible). To pit God's sovereignty against mans freedom, as many do today, in reality doesn't solve anything and is also clearly contrary to scripture. One does not cancel the other out. Freedom cancels out enslavement, and vise versa. God sovereignty is unaffected through all of this. God is completely sovereign, while man, in his enslavement to his sinful nature, is free to follow his hearts desire, this is called "responsible choice."Compatibilism: Grounded in scripture."The compatibilist holds that every human action has a sufficient cause outside of the human will. Freedom in the compatibilist sense is the contention that even if every choice we make and every act we perform is determined by forces outside ourselves, and ultimately by God's ordaining guidance, we are still free, for we still act according to our desires."Taken from the book "Why I am not an Arminian"Incompatiblism: Grounded in the secular Humanist theory of "libertarian free will", believes that God's sovereignty and mans responsible choice (as they define it) are incompatible."Freedom as understood in the libertarian sense means that a person is fully able to perform some other action in place of the one that is actually done, and this is not predetermined by any prior circumstances, our desires or even our affections. In other words, our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature. All free will theists hold that libertarian freedom is essential for moral responsibility, for if our choice is determined or caused by anything, including our own desires, they reason, it cannot properly be called our decision or free choice. Libertarian freedom is, in fact, the freedom to act contrary to our nature, wants and greatest desires. Responsibility, in their view, always means that we could have done otherwise."http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/arti...ibertarian.htmlThat's the foundation of this discussion. We move on.The incompadibilist seeks to find some room for the sovereignty of God within the assumption of libertarian freedom. But incompatibilism fails badly as a way of understanding the relationship between divine sovereignty and human freedom. First, it assumes a libertarian view of freedom. Human beings always possess the power of contrary choice. Second, incompatibilism insists that such a notion of freedom is the necessary condition for moral accountability: I cannot be held responsible if I could not choose to do otherwise. Third, in this view the sovereignty of God is necessarily limited by human freedom. If God has ordained that I perform some act, I could not choose otherwise and thus I am not truly free. While this collection of assumptions constitutes a coherent whole, each is no more than an assumption. And while they are all taken as having self-evident power within Arminian theological circles, we can find no evidence that scripture teaches or assumes any of them.--- ---Scripture seems to deny the very sort of independence that the libertarian freedom demands. Human beings are never independent of God. Whereas incompatibilism holds that libertarian freedom--independence from all causes and forces external to the will--is the prerequisite for responsibility, the Bible seams to assume the opposite: responsibility is the necessary condition for freedom. The gift of responsible choice has meaning and significance not because of any connection to libertarian freedom but because it is an essential aspect of our imaging God. Freedom in scripture is not independence from God and His will but dependence upon God and our faithful participation in His Kingdom. True freedom, freedom in the Biblical sense, is the liberty to obey God without restraint, without sin standing in the way.--- ---Scripture teaches that the sinner is a slave to sin. A slave is not free but bound. Any discussion of freedom within a Christian or Biblical context must do justice to this fundamental Biblical principle: sin reigns over the unregenerate heart. The sinner is not free to please or love God. Biblical freedom, the ability to do that which is pleasing to God ( John 8:34-36; cf. Romans 6:15-23; 2 Corinthians 3:17 ), Freedom from sin, is given to us by the redemptive work of Christ.--- ---Jesus said: "The good man brings forth good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For out of the outflow of his heart his mouth speaks" ( Luke 6:45; cf. Matthew 7:15-20; Matthew 12:33-35 ). A person chooses and acts according to his character. The will is not independent of the person and nature who chooses. We do what we want to do ( Deuteronomy 30:19; Matthew 17:12 Jas 1:14), even though our characters, which are themselves determined by a myriad of forces external to us and outside of our control, determine what we want to do. Personal character is not nearly as spontaneous as those who see the will as a power of contrary choice like to suggest.--- (Taken from the book "why I am not an arminian") Instead of reading scripture and seeking for the Bilical answers, some people seek solve these questions by saying that God simply looked into the future to see what (libertarian free will) choice man would make concerning all things, even salvation, and then decreed them to happen. But this is nowhere taught in scripture and actually contradicts the clear Biblical teaching.Read here for discussion on "foreknew"http://jesusislordgod.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=99 Here are two very clear biblical examples of God's sovereignty and man making a responsible choice in action at the same time.Joseph speaking to his brothers who sold him into slavery said; Gen. 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (also Gen. 45:4-8) "One sinful action is in view. Josephs brothers meant it for evil. But in direct parallel, God meant the same action for good. Due to the intention of the hearts of Josephs brothers, the action in the human realm was evil. The very same action as part of God's eternal decree was meant for good, for by it God brought about His purpose and plan. One action, two intentions, compatible in all things. Josephs brothers were accountable for their intentions; God is glorified for His."(White) Acts 4:27 "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. "One action , the great sacrifice of the son of God, is in view. Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews were all gathered together against Jesus. Their actions were obviously sinful. Their intentions were evil. Yet, the Word of God is clear: They did what they did because God's hand and purpose predestined it to take place. Were they accountable for their intentions and desires? Of course. But was the certainty of the Cross and the sacrifice ever dependent upon man's will? Never. It happened according to the predestined plan of God and is therefore completely to His honor and glory. One action, part of the divine decree, sinful on the part of the intentions of the men involved, and yet fully in harmony with the holy purpose of God, to His glory and His praise. Man's will, God's sovereign decree, compatible with one another. This is the biblical teaching." (White)Most people probably acknowledge compatibilism without even realizing it. Before we eat dinner, we give thanks to our Lord for it, right? Do we sit at the table waiting for dinner to miraculously appear? No, We go out and do what we need to do to put dinner on the table, but we still thank God for it. Even though He allows us to be part of His sovereign plan, He is the cause for it. Do you pray for the salvation of others? Think about it.Compatibilism...The Bible tells us that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling Philippians 2:13-13, but does this make it any less through, by and from God? Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Jude shows the same... Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.Here is an obvious hurdle, one of many, that must be overcome by those who believe in a libertarian free will.(1) "According to libertarians, the power of contrary choice means that it is always within the ability of the human will to believe or reject the gospel. But if we have the natural capacity to believe or reject the gospel freely (in the libertarian sense) why is there the need for the Holy Spirit in salvation at all, especially when the gospel is preached? If you ask a libertarian whether he could come to faith in Christ apart from any work of the Spirit, like all Christians, they must answer ‘no’. In other words, even to a libertarian, it is not “within the [natural moral] ability of the human will to believe or reject the gospel.” There is still the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the sine qua non of the affections being set free from sin’s bondage. Therefore, they are forced to admit that the possibility of the natural will exercising faith would be inconsistent with basic Christianity, since we all know that the natural man is hostile to God and will not willingly submit to the humbling terms of the gospel. We all agree then, that left to himself, man has no libertarian free will to choose any redemptive good, since his affections are entirely in bondage to sin (until Christ sets him free) and cannot choose otherwise. So it ends up that libertarians must believe that, in his natural state (which is most of the time), man’s will is only free in the compatibilist sense, since, apart from the Spirit, he can only choose according to the desires (love of darkness) of his fallen nature. Unless, of course, they can offer another explanation of why one cannot believe apart from the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Christians all affirm that one must first hear the gospel in order to believe since general revelation is not enough to engender saving faith (Romans 10:13-15). But if it is always within the libertarian ability of the human will to believe, as they claim, then again, what purpose is there for the Holy Spirit while hearing? Doesn’t this reveal that they actually do believe we normally exercise choice according to the corruption of nature? [We must note, as an aside, that the Epistle to the Romans testifies that even those who have not heard the gospel know enough from general revelation to condemn them because “what is known about God is evident within them” and they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18-20).] By all accounts, then, no true Christian believes that a person has libertarian free will to believe the gospel apart to any work of the Holy Spirit. But, having deduced that libertarian free will must still be true, libertarians believe they resolve this problem by inventing a logical scheme (nowhere found in the gospels) where God grants something to all who hear the gospel called prevenient grace, which temporarily removes the sin nature by allegedly placing sinners in a pre-fall-like state where they have libertarian freedom to either chose or reject Christ, a choice undetermined by any desires or nature. Because the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the libertarian, is never sufficient in itself. To grace we must add choice. While we heartily agree with libertarians in the necessity of preaching for salvation so that the Holy Spirit can germinate the “seed” of the gospel, yet to dogmatize the belief that once having heard that one is forevermore wandering the earth in a semi-regenerate state with a libertarian free will is wild speculation at best. For a biblical example that pronounces the differences among us, consider when Paul was preaching the gospel to Lydia and “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14). A libertarian would argue this passage placed Lydia in a pre-fall-like state where she had libertarian freedom to believe or reject Jesus. But the passage plainly says that God opened her heart to respond, not so that she would hopefully respond. There is not one instance in Scripture when such language is used (where God acts) when people actually refused (see 2 Chronicles 30:11-12; John 6:37; 65). Rather, when God calls a person or opens a heart to respond, the matter is always settled biblically. Galatians 1:15 asserts that Paul was set apart and called by grace before birth. Can such a call be thwarted? Jesus call to Paul on the Damascus road was certain, not merely a possibility. When a person hears a preacher call for their repentance they can certainly resist that call. But if God gives an inner call no one resists (Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 1:23-24; Rom 8:30) nor does he want to. The biblical evidence for certainty in calling, then, is clearly on the side of the compatibilist in all cases the Bible reveals God’s intent. If we had libertarian freedom all the time when hearing the gospel then we could theoretically believe the gospel apart from the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. Yet I have not yet found one libertarian willing to admit this, for to do so would fall into the heresy of Pelagianism. In the end, we must note, that Scripture defines freedom, not as libertarians do, but as the freedom from the bondage to sin, since we are slaves of sin until the Son sets us free (John 8; Rom 6). Biblical freedom is the freedom to do what is pleasing to God (John 8:34-36; Rom 6:15-23; 2 Cor 3:17) and this freedom from sin is granted in the redemptive work of Christ. Yet the Scripture nowhere says anything about the freedom to choose contrary or apart from our desires altogether. We either desire Christ or we despise him, and if we choose Him, this is the result of sovereign grace giving us a heart of flesh, not a result of nature itself (John 1:13; Rom 9:16). The real difference between the two views, then, is not really the nature of the will for we all can agree that apart from the Holy Spirit, the will acts according to the affections of its fallen nature in a compatibilist sense. The real difference rather is the nature of God’s grace in salvation (what it does for us). This brings us to the next criticism…"http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/arti...ibertarian.htmlThe Holy Spirit is necessary in salvation, hence the idea of libertarian free will does not exist. Here is a non exhaustive list to get the idea across.The result of the fall of man into spiritual death.Genesis 2:16-17, Genesis 3:1-7, Romans 5:12, Ephesians 2:1-3, Colossians 2:13, Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, ( John 3:5-7 compaire to John 1:12-13 )Darkened minds and corrupt hearts.Genesis 6:5, Genesis 8:21, Ecclesiastes 9:3, Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21-23, John 3:19, Romans 8:7-8, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 4:17-19, Ephesians 5:8, Titus 1:15.Bondage to sin and SatanJohn 8:44, Ephesians 2:1-2, 2 Timothy 2:25-26, 1 John 3:10, 1 John 5:19, John 8:34, Romans 6:20, Titus 3:3.A universal bondage2 Chronicles 6:36 (Compaire to 1 Kings 8:46), Job 15:14-16, Psalm 130:3, Psalm 143:2, Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ecclesiastes 7:29, Isaiah 53:6, Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:9-12, (James 3:2, James 3:, (1 John 1:8, 1 John 1:10.)Inability to changeJob 14:4, Jeremiah 13:23, Matthew 7:16-18, Matthew 12:33, John 6:44, John 6:65, Romans 11:35-36, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Corinthians 3:5.The Spirit savesRomans 8:14, 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 3:6, 1 Peter 1:1-2.The Spirit reveals the Secrets of GodMatthew 11:25-27, Luke 10:21, (Matthew 13:10-11, Matthew 13:16), Luke 8:10, Matthew 16:15-17, (John 6:37, John 6:44-45), John 6:64-65, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 1:17-18, (John 10:3-6, John 10:16, John 10:26-29).The Spirit gives faith and repentanceFaith and repentance are divine gifts and are the result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48, Acts 16:14, Acts 18:27, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 1:29, 2 Timothy 2:25-26.The Spirit effectually callsIn addition to the general outward call, the Holy Spirit extends a special inward call to the elect. The general call can be and often is rejected, the special call always results in the conversion of those of whom it was made.Romans 1:6-7, Romans 8:30, Romans 9:23-24, 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Corinthians 1:23-31, Galatians 1:15-16, Ephesians 4:4, 2 Timothy 1:9, Hebrews 9:15, Jude 1, 1 Peter 1:15, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Peter 5:10, 2 Peter 1:3, Revelation 17:14.Salvation, Given by a Sovereign GodIsaiah 55:11, John 3:27, John 17:2, Romans 9:16, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 1 Corinthians 4:7, Philippians 2:12-13, James 1:18, 1 John 5:20.Perseverance is from GodIsaiah 43:1-3, Isaiah 54:10, Jeremiah 32:40, Matthew 18:12-14, John 3:16, John 5:24, John 6:35-40, John 6:47, John 10:27-30, (John 17:11-12, John 17:15), Romans 5:8-10, Romans 8:1, Romans 29-30, Romans 8:35-39, 1 Corinthians 1:7-9, 1 Corinthians 10:13, (2 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 4:17), (Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:13-14), Ephesians 4:30, Colossians 3:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Timothy 4:18, (Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 9:15), Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 12:28, 1 Peter 1:3-5, (1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:25), (1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:11-13, 1 John 5:20), Jude 1, Jude 24-25.Some more hurdles here. http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/arti...ibertarian.htmlEphesians 1:11 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,Do you believe that God "works all things according to the counsel of His will"?You must decide how sovereign is God as revealed by the Bible. Absolutely sovereign or with a reduced sovereignty.If we have the natural capacity to believe or reject the gospel freely (in the libertarian sense) why is there the need for the Holy Spirit in salvation at all, especially when the gospel is preached?"You must decide whether man can freely of his own free will decide for Christ or is he totally helpless - really blind, deaf, lost etc., - and must altogether rely on the free grace of God.Timothy 1:8-9 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,Eph. 1:4 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. What people are doing is taking one of the greatest truths of God's Word that has offered Great comfort to Christians since the Gospel began to be preached (God's complete sovereignty) and traded it in for a philosophy (libertarian free will) that has nothing to do with God's Word, but is grounded is humanist philosophy. This Freedom of mans will, as the libertarian defines it, is nowhere taught in scripture. To use that philosophy as a starting point, or as some kind of grid for all other scripture and doctrines to be tested by, (and if they fail this test they are rejected), is a mistake, to say the least. For those who love Jesus (Who is the truth), test this honestly. If you don't hold God's Word as your final authority, please don't post, we would be waisting each others time.In ChristDave
     
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