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I received the following question:

I find myself getting into a lot of debates on the topic of Free Will. Do you know of any slam-dunk verses supporting Free-Will?  By slam-dunk I mean like Acts 13:2 is for non-trinitarians.  A verse where there is no way to weasel out of it.  It just shuts them up, as Jesus would shut up the Pharisees.

Thanks for the question.

Well, as you know, it is difficult to pin anyone down to a truth when they do not want to hear it. I would say the best way, perhaps, would be to point out instances where what God states His will is did not come to pass through the refusal of men. One such example is Matthew 23:37, which states, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” The Lord here expresses a desire that did not come about due to the unwillingness (because of the free will) of the men of Jerusalem.

Another passage which shows free will in action is Jeremiah 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 to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Here, the Lord reveals that the wicked actions of Judah were an exercise of their free will, for what they did was not only not the command of God, but it had never even entered His mind to do such a thing until these wicked men invented it. So the exercise of free will resulted here in wicked men thinking of something that God had never thought about. Read the rest of this entry »

In our last study, we began studying the topics of election and predestination. Many hold to Calvinistic doctrines that teach that these words mean that God determines beforehand who will be saved. We have been examining these words in the Bible to see if there is any justification for this belief.

In our last study, we examined the word “elect.” From examining its occurrences, we find that it always means “the chosen.” Yet this choice is not to salvation, but to special service for God. For example, we saw that Judas Iscariot was chosen to such service, and he was in no way saved. Thus we saw that election has nothing to do with salvation. This brings us to the next relevant word in this study, “predestination.” Read the rest of this entry »

John CalvinThe question of election and predestination is a difficult one for many Bible students. Since it is a topic discussed in the Bible, some seem to feel that modern interpretations of it must be true. As one gentleman put it to me, “The Bible talks about predestination, so I have to believe in it.” Yet just that something is in the Bible proves nothing, for we need to figure out not just what is in the Bible but also what the Bible says about it.

Some choose to accept the Calvinistic viewpoint that God determines everyone who will be saved far in advance of their birth. Some reject this and claim that we are completely free to choose whether or not to accept or reject Christ. Others hold that somehow there is a strange dichotomy whereby God chooses us and yet we still choose to believe by our own will. But all these viewpoints must somehow come to terms with the words “election” and “predestination.” In this study, we will begin examining this topic by studying the word “elect.” Read the rest of this entry »