The Call of God
The Call of God
The controversy of “free will”, versus “no free will” in the matter of “Salvation in Christ Jesus”; is one of the most contentious subjects of the last 500 years. The re-examination of the “doctrines” of the Roman Church, forced by the “Protestants” has positioned this issue quite correctly at the forefront of the debate. There are many opinions, and as many Groups and teachings, with many “shades” of variation.
For example, the extreme Calvinist states; “no person can make the decision to accept Christ Jesus, and His Salvation; it is God’s decision, not the individuals”.
In the opinion of the writers, if that was the case, there would not be the need for a book called the Bible; which contains the Word and Message of God; or the Person of the Holy Spirit of God, whom Jesus called “the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter”, Who now works on the hearts of men and women all over the world!
There would not even be the need for people to have a brain, or the ability to think, as the destiny would already have been determined by God! Taking this concept further, what would even be the purpose of living, if one was only an automaton, a number, with a definite, forced destination?
From this comment, it can be seen that the extreme view of Calvinists is without veracity, as God Almighty values highly the decisions we make which are to His Plan and Foreknowledge!
When considering the great men of both the Old Testament (OT), and the New Testament (NT); They were all given the choice as to whether to obey God, or not!
We know that Eve disobeyed, followed by Adam; which laid the basis of the temporary success of God’s Enemy, Satan. However; there then followed a long line of men (and women), who obeyed by their free will, God’s Call!
In that list are Noah, Abram, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Jonah, David, Daniel, Ezra, John the Baptist, Saul (Apostle Paul); and many others less well known.
All these men were “called”, and some put up more resistance than others, but Almighty God did not usurp their will; He repeated His call and spoke to them, but they all made the decision to acknowledge God and serve Him themselves! God did not force them to concede! Those actions by these men of God, went some way to counter those of Satan, but; the conflict between Satan and Almighty God had /has further to go, and the “free will” of all of the Members of the Body of Christ, has a part to play, in the same way as those of the great men listed, and the countless others since Eden!
It is undoubtedly the case that God foreknew the eventual decisions of these men, and us; but, that fact does not discount or disqualify the fact of the exercise of “free will”!
Calvinists use many Biblical Texts to argue their case. One such is Romans 8:28-30.
V28: “But we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose”. V29: “For whom He foreknew, He foreordained, to be conformed to the image of His Son, the firstborn among many brethren”. V30: “But whom He did foreordain, them He also called: and whom He called, them He justified, and whom He justified, them He glorified”. (KJV).
This description of God’s Sovereign Love and Grace; in His foreknowledge of those who would/will decide to turn to Him and accept His Great Salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord; again shows His valuation of the “free will” of His created beings; and their response to His Call and the opposite vacuousness of the Calvinist teaching; which insists that the person’s free will is not involved.
When the verses quoted by Calvinists in support of their stance are examined, they fall into the same category of misconstruence as above. They have a perverse way of inverting the truth of each Text to suit the error of their interpretation! They often have an aggression of presentation, which does not ring true to the Love our Lord displayed on earth, or to the central message of Salvation! In the writers view, the "Enemy" is easily evident in their subtle perversity! He tried it successfully with Eve and Adam, and unsuccessfully with our Lord Himself! Interestingly, our Lord used only correct Scripture against Satan, and did not concede any proposition Satan made! It is much the same with present day "Tares" (Satan's workers), they will not relent their master's will, and, if they are engaged by a Christ-One, as in the case of our Lord Himself; correct Scripture should be quoted against them. Some Calvinists the writers have knowledge of, display distinctly similar behaviour, and many are abusive in their presentation! In the time of "the harvest" (Matt. 13), the "wheat and the tares" will be collected together, and will not be divided off until then! What that information shows is that the workers of the "Enemy" will not be easily discerned by many trusting Christians until that time, and they may well sit in the same Pew in the Churches!
A very telling verse that shows the pleasure Almighty God has in the seeker after Truth is Hebrews 11:6; "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God (Theos = the revealed God) must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him", (this seeking would be called works by extreme Calvinists). This Chapter comments on the great men of God, and shows the criterion of "faith".
God in the past as shown above, set up situations in His planned opposition to Satan, which needed his servants active participation. He then approached His “chosen” person, and requested their involvement, by their active will!
The situation is similar as regards His approach to people (via. His Holy Spirit), in the makeup of the number of the Body of Christ, (of which there is a definite number). When the last person (by their free will) has turned to Jesus the Christ for Salvation; this process will end; and a New Age will begin!
It is possible that many Calvinists do not differentiate mentally between the Sovereignty of God, and the free will of the individual, and there are always those who latch onto what they see as a safe teaching for whatever reason. One of the extended errors of the extreme end of the Calvinist spectrum, is that they think and teach that they have replaced Israel in the Favour and Future of Almighty God! See: Replacement Theology. That error alone is one that goes directly against the Word of God; and plays into the hands of Jehovah Zabeoth’s great Enemy, Satan. That error alone should give them taking thought; as to fight against God is what the great Jewish teacher Gamaliel warned against in Acts 5:34-39!
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