It’s usually said if you want two see to lads play endless theological ping-pong, start a Calvinism vs Arminianism debate and title it “Does man have free will?” You will literally have to drag one of them apart…kicking and screaming. But I must say these theological debates do achieve their own edification in various unseen ways. They are strenuous and it always seems as though the other guy is just playing dumb like Balaam’s donkey. But when you come to finally hear your proverbial nemesis drop his daisies and grab hold of a bunch of graceful Tulips, doesn’t it just warm your heart? (sorry couldn’t resist the pun ;)) This is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Ketchum– on discovering God’s Sovereignty in election, salvation and transformation of a sinner dead in sin:
…We are not able to seek Him or turn to Him unless He first intervenes to soften our hearts. Are we capable? …. Are we able? No, our hearts are seeped in sin and our depravity makes God undesirable…
Romans 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I have struggled with this concept for a long time. Ever since the concept of election was brought to my attention, I have fought against the idea of the inability to seek God on my own. During the sermon today at Faith Bible Church, it was as if a light bulb went on for the first time… God does choose us… we do not and cannot choose Him.
My salvation is not because of anything I have done, but because of what God has done to and through me.
While John is capable of going to college and graduating with a good degree, he is not able to accomplish this because of his laziness.
Scripture tells us that we cannot come to Jesus unless we are compelled or drawn by the Father (John 6:44). Jesus also spoke to us via Parable in Luke 14:16-24, explaining that the Father sent His servant Jesus to compel people to the banquet because nobody would come on their own… they were filled with excuses.
I do believe in free will, however, now I see that free will is and will always be limited by ourselves. My free will allows me to jump off a roof with my arms a flapping, but I will never be able to fly on my own accord without assistance.
My free will allows me to choose to murder, but thankfully I never will because that is not in my heart. The same goes for salvation. My free will allows me to choose God, but in my/our depraved state of sinfulness, I never will because it isn’t in my heart… unless God first softens my heart and changes me. Then and only then am I able to have the faith that offers repentance and salvation.
Thanks Tim [Calvinist friend], for your continued honesty and Christian love in my ongoing search for the heart and mind of God.
If only all debates ended sweetly like this. But hey how I love praying for and debating with my Arminian friends!
I think just like Tim, I need more Arminian friends. 😉