Struggling With Calvinism
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Our desire is to encourage and exhort, to teach about God as He is Whom is glorious and wonderful to behold! We desire to teach what the bible does say rather than chase what it doesn't say. However given the rise in Calvinism within the church and in lieu of 2 Corinthians 10:5, let's proceed.

 

This is a touchy subject so let me start with some disclaimers. First, my beef is with Calvinism, not Calvinists. Furthermore I consider many calvinists in my life to be my genuine brothers and sisters in Christ. So if there is to be friction with calvinists then I consider it a family quarrel. I'm also aware that what I describe as Calvinism and what you may describe as Calvinism can differ. In my research I have found many different takes on Calvinism and even found those who identify as calvinists who I would argue are not.

 

Because this is a touchy subject it has already garnered a lot of attention and while I will debate Calvinism theology I don't necessarily need to rehash what I've found out there already that I believe to be spot-on so I will offer some good resources on that here. Some core debated items such as God's glory and a Christian's faith we do address in other articles herein along with studies on Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and a growing list of scriptures pertaining to the subject.

 

Digging into the nuts and bolts of Calvinism? Here are some great resources to get you started!

 

Soteriology 101 - Professor Leighton Flowers (a former calvinist) humbly explores the vast aspects of Calvinism and it's pitfalls. Website, YouTube Channel

BibleThinker - Pastor Mike Winger clearly speaking biblical truths on various sensitive subjects largely including Calvinism. Website, YouTube Channel

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The backbone of Calvinism are these core beliefs.

 

  • God's ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself.

    • This self-glorification is His primary objective and governs everything He does.

    • God elects people for heaven or hell according to this purpose of self-glorification.

      • Calvinists believe God is gracious to some and wrathful to others with no regard to the person's will or response. They believe God indeed loves those He's chosen to be gracious too, and indeed hates those He's chosen as reprobates, and this was with the purpose of displaying all His attributes which gives Him glory.

        • Therefore God's love indeed is genuine but only to some, and not because He needed to love them, but that loving them ultimately gave Him glory.

 

My challenge is this. If God can be glorified whether you are in His grace or His wrath and glory is His ultimate pursuit, how can you trust in His love? How can you trust He loves you?

  • In order to trust in the love of God you have to trust that love is a core characteristic of God, one that governs what He does. If what He does isn't ultimately governed by God's love but rather by His pursuit of self-glorification, then you cannot trust or count on the fact that God loves you. You can only count on God loves Himself.

    • How can someone walking a tight rope trust in the safety net below knowing that safety net was installed by a man who only wants some to remain safe and others he desires to plummet to their doom?

      • Why would a safety net installer do that? Well, perhaps his ultimate desire is the attention it will get him.

        • Perhaps he desires those caught safely in the net to come and thank him. But equally desires those that plummet to their doom to get him on the news. If he saves everyone then he may not be as newsworthy, if he destroys everyone then nobody will come and thank him.

 

You see you can't trust in the safety net of God's love if you believe God's desires are mixed between saving some and seeing others plummet to their doom. 

 

  • Some may claim to know they are elect and therefore can trust in God's love. The problem with that is twofold.

    • One, you do not trust in God's love but rather you trust in God's election.

    • Two, how do you know you're elect? You didn't warrant it, it wasn't your response, how do you know God didn't elect you to be one of the false disciples, how do you know God didn't elect you to be one of those professing to be wise but are really a fool? (Rom. 1:22).

      • Perhaps you claim the fruit you bear as evidence of your election, but Jesus said people will come to Him and will testify of some pretty amazing things, prophesying, casting out demons, performing miracles and other mighty works, and He will say to them “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21-23).

 

I believe God loves me naturally, meaning it's in His nature to love me (1 John 4:8,16). That is a foundational belief of mine. Because I believe that about Him I feel confident walking through this life trusting in the safety net of His love. Where sin increases, grace abounds. No matter how many times I fall, nor how hard I fall, because of His ever present love, I can press on without fear (1 John 4:17).

 

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. - 1 John 4:16-18

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If you follow Calvinism to it's conclusion then I'm deeply disturbed at what it implies. I've found these points are not largely talked about in calvinistic leaning churches possibly because of their disturbing nature and the potential to cause an upset. However, if it is truth, why are we skirting around it? Christ didn't hold back difficult truths (Matt. 10:34, John 6:59-66), we too then should bring it to light.

 

Calvinism concludes that God wants to only save some. Because Calvinist believe there is no free will, and because not everyone is saved, Calvinist conclude that God desires only to save some people. Some Calvinist are at peace because they are part of the "in" crowd, but if you truly love others, even your enemy as we are commanded (Matt. 5:44), how does this not bother you??? If you are a loving person how does this not keep you up at night? I know Paul, in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1) was plagued with great sorrow and unceasing grief at the thought of his fellow kinsmen not being saved (Romans 9:2-3).

 

Calvinism concludes that God created sin, and that He delights in the death of the wicked. Because Calvinist believe God orchestrates everything, that nothing happens that's not the Sovereign will of God, Calvinist must conclude as R.C. Sproul, Jr., did in his book Almighty Over All, that "...God desired for man to fall into sin... God created sin.". This is like setting a house on fire then running in and saving 2 of the 12 people in the house and then showing the two saved how great of a rescuer you are as you point to the 10 crisp and burnt corpses illustrate to those rescued what you rescued them from.

 

Calvinism concludes God is responsible for your sin. Those entrenched in Calvinism believe that every single thing is ordained by God, is caused by God's willing it to be caused. Calvinist believe that God is going to save whom He will and damn whom He will and nothing we can do matters. In this way Calvinists believe that what they do or don't do doesn't matter. They can be mean, they can represent the gospel poorly, they can live however they want and won't impact God's plan. Those entrenched believe they can do whatever they will and ultimately it doesn't matter because God is behind all of it. This borders on licentiousness (Jude 1:4).

 

Calvinism concludes that much of scripture is a formality and God is sadistic and double-tongued. If God has destined some men to heaven and for them it's irresistible and destined some men for hell and for them it's predetermined by Him and therefore unavoidable, then much of scripture is not forthcoming but has a hidden agenda. Scripture such as Acts 17:30 where "God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent" is sadistic and double-tongued. Sadistic, or sadism, is defined as deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others". Double-tongued is defined as "marked by deliberate deceptiveness especially by pretending one set of feelings and acting under the influence of another". If verses like these are just a formality so God can tease people with what He knows they cannot obtain, it's sadistic, deceptive and it means He is being double-tongued. Isn't that how the bible describes the Devil (John 8:44, 2 Cor. 11:14, Job 1:7-9, 1 Peter 5:8, Gen. 3:1, Matt. 4:3,6). Romans 10:12 which speaks of God being God of all and abounding in riches for all who call on Him is defamed and loses it's splendor if you believe that God is forcing people to not be able to take Him up on that offer. If I might make a crude analogy. It's like offering your dog the best treat ever and dangling it in front of it's face, but then, in a sadistic turn of events, instead of giving that treat your dog, you instead decide to mutilate the dog and torture it bringing it on the brink of death but never quite killing it, and then giving a nearby dog the treat instead. This analogy makes me want to cry. This is not God! No where in the bible is God depicted this way. No where in creation is God depicted this way (Rom. 1:20) yet this is the hidden, underlying conclusion that is to be made according to 5 point Calvinism. There are many other verses that lose their splendor and defame God of the glory that would otherwise be found in these verses. Rev. 22:17, Luke 13:34, Rom. 10:21, Acts 7:51, 10:34-35, Psalms 145:9, Matt. 11:28-30, to name a few.

 

Calvinism concludes that God's purpose behind everything is to promote His glory. That promoting His glory is more important than His love. Calvinist claim the motivation behind why God operates this way and within T.U.L.I.P is because it serves His glory and in doing so it allows God to show off His other attributes besides love such as wrath and justice. My question there is, wasn't that displayed in the crucifixion of Christ? Also, isn't it possible that love might be a primary characteristic of God? 1 John 4:8 says God is love. Wasn't it love that compelled Christ to satisfy the righteous requirements of God's holiness on the cross (Rom. 5:8 (Eph. 2:4). Has not God made the ultimate sacrifice for us in doing that? While it would allow God to demonstrate His power in exercising His holiness, what if He rather decided to bear vessels of wrath, what if He rather decided to be longsuffering with them (Rom. 9:22-23)? It glorifies God when He overlooks transgression. It actually defaming to this truth to say His motivation was not love but rather to glorify Himself. For example, if I open the car door for my wife because I love her, she's amazed at my love and glorifies me (tells her friends about my love). If my wife knew I opened the car door with the primary purpose of wanting to look good (because I wanted her to tell her friends) it and of it self is self-defeating and I end up looking worse than if I had not opened the door for her at all. The very act of trying to look good actually resulted for me to look bad. God needs to exercise His wrath on sin as His holiness requires, but to say that God creates some men and enables them to sin and even delights in them falling into the trap of sin so that He can do so in order to display His glory, isn't that in itself defaming of Him? Isn't that in and of it self defeating of what Calvinists claim it to do? To say God takes pleasure in glorifying Himself by condemning people is to go against scripture, He does not take such pleasure (2 Peter 3:9, Eze. 33:11, 18:23).

 

Calvinism concludes that Christ's work on the cross was just a means to an end. Calvinist claim that before time God elected who would go to heaven or hell. To one goes irresistible grace whereby God forces Himself on a person thus effectually forcing them to respond to the gospel and thereby God "elects" such a person to be with Him. On the other end of the spectrum God blinds or keeps a person from ever being able to respond to the gospel in order that He would condemn them and such a person never has a shot. This "choosing" happened way back before Jesus incarnate and this being "chosen" or "elected", to a Calvinist, is the focal point of whether or not a person is saved or marked for eternal damnation. Salvation then is determined before Jesus and therefore Jesus's work on the cross is just serving said election. This makes it more important to focus on whether or not you are elected as that is the deciding factor. Trusting in Jesus or putting your trust in Jesus is merely a response to the effectual work that God has forced on you thus reducing Christ's work here on earth as merely a means to that end. Whether you are saved or condemned has been predetermined and Christ's work here on earth isn't to be as emphasized since it is merely carrying out said election. Often Calvinists focus more on election than Christ's work on the cross. If you believe in Calvinism than this is understandable. I mean if such election and that election alone determines whether or not you or your loved ones enjoy everlasting life, eternal joy, peace, and pleasures forever with God, or eternal separation, damnation, torture and bitterness, where the worm doesn't die and the fire is never quenched, I could see why the focus would be so largely on that election.

 

Calvinism concludes you can't trust in the love God has for you. Calvinism says God's ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself. If that's the case, if God's ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself then His love is trumped by His pursuit of self-glorification. One does not so easily trust a safety net with knowledge that the one securing it has a proven history of not doing so, especially if it was deliberate. We can trust that a safety net exists, we just can't trust it has been secured for us. If you know God can glorify Himself through your saving or your destruction, then how do you jump into that safety net, especially if you believe only a remnant will be saved (Rom. 9:27). If God's ultimate desire is to glorify Himself and this can be done whether your a vessel of wrath or a vessel of mercy then let me ask my calvinistic comrades; how do you know He loves you? How do you know you're not fooling yourself. How do you know that He hasn't chosen you for one who deceives themselves into thinking they are a child when they actually aren't? (Matt. 7:22-23). If you trust that God wants to glorify Himself and that He wants to do that through electing some to heaven but most to hell, then that's the god you know and there is no trustworthy safety net of His love. It's no wonder, as I pointed out in the above point, that election becomes the focal point of the Calvinist. A Christian should be looking to the cross and realize the love God has for them as God meant that to be the demonstration specifically so you could know it and therefore trust it (Rom. 5:8), and that is to be a fundamental of our faith; our trust in God's love (1 John 4:16, Eph. 2:4). Calvinists only trust in God's love if they first trust in their election. Christians should trust in God's love because that's His character, it's who He is! (1 John 4:8). Calvinism inhibits a person of the belief that God is the rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

 

Calvinism concludes that God does not interact with His creation but rather He puppeteers it. Calvinists, errantly referencing Romans 9 (completely missing what Paul is referencing from Jeremiah 18 and Isaiah) would affirm this conclusion. Why do I call this disturbing? Because of how it paints God. If I get pulled out of hot water by God, then God rescued me and is worthy of the praise He receives from it. But if I get pulled out of hot water by God only after He threw me in there, then He is sadistic. This conclusion also robs God of the love He receives from us freely. Calvinism says that we love God because He forces us too...which really isn't love at all. If I programmed a robot to say "I love you" every morning, would I feel loved? Would I get anything out of that? No. But if made a robot in my image (as if I could) and it was able to think, feel, choose, decide on it's own volition and in that freedom it chose me, to love me. I would feel loved, I would feel honored.

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Behavior pattern recognition has been around for years. My experience with it is as an amateur but the older I get the more adept I become, especially if I myself have experienced said behaviors. If a person I'm observing has a behavioral pattern that I haven't experienced it's not as easy to recognize what it is and usually requires frequent interactions over a long period of time and usually with someone close before you can begin to understand how they think since it differs from yours. Well, God's timing.. two things I've been brought to face squarely in recent years are calvinists and narcissists. Some of whom I'm related to through the church (yes they are my brothers and sisters in Christ), some I'm related to by the flesh (family, and consequently my best friends once upon a time), and some who are the family of a young adult we gave a room too. Besides the latter these relationships have spanned a couple decades.

 

Let me cut to the chase. If I may be so bold the pattern I'm seeing is a correlation between the disposition of the calvinist likened to that of the narcissist observing similar behavior patterns from both. Calvinists even recognize this pattern in themselves and in other calvinists often referring to it as "Cage-Stage Calvinism" and a quick search will tell you how very common that is. John Piper, a well known calvinist has a whole write-up on his website on "Why are Calvinists so negative"1. Some, in jest, list "symptoms2" of Cage-Stage Calvinism, others list "signs3", all of which I would say more accurately are the result of Christian narcissists after they first discover Calvinism and can feel vindicated in their Narcissism. There are many write-ups by calvinists and non-calvinists alike describing this very gnarly and detrimental disposition that they say almost every calvinist goes through which often lasts years. Some write-ups by calvinists admit having been Cage-Stage calvinists now, disillusioned, say they are free. Observing their behavior (and beliefs) I would say they've learned to mask it better and fool themselves which is classic Narcissism.

 

After extensive personal experience dealing with narcissist in the church, within my family, close friends, and in the lives of those I've had the opportunity to counsel and mentor, I repeatedly see Narcissism and Calvinism go hand-in-hand. Would I say the two are always linked? Possibly, to more or lesser degrees. There are far too many calvinists for me to make such an argument but since the calvinistic theology has a measure of Narcissism in it, I would say they're at least accepting of it making God out to be narcissistic Himself. This is merely my research, observations, and experience thus far and that's what I intend to share. My experience with it hasn't only been on the negative end of it; I've witness narcissists in the church call out their own Narcissism which reminds me how great our God is! Largely though I consistently see calvinists lash out in what they themselves often label Cage-Stage Calvinism (largely, not all). In my research I found (much like my search results pictured below) that calvinists being mean was a widely accepted reality though many argue as to why. Often in fact I've come across calvinist written articles trying to get to the bottom as to why this is4. After seeing this pattern over and over and over again, before I had a better understanding of what it was, lead me to ask the same question "why?". Why was I seeing negative behavior from calvinists consistently enough to expect it. Initially when searching out the "why" online I quickly realized I wasn't the only one who had made this observation and therefore wasn't the only one asking this question.

 

 

 

Now if you are here, I suspect you, like me, are on a deep dive of your own in gaining understanding not only of calvinists but perhaps of Calvinism itself and it's validity. I'd be curious to hear what you've experienced on your journey. Before I dive in with you let me state this very clearly. Scripture says "all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Rom. 10:13, Acts 2:21) and therefore I consider many calvinists to be my brothers and sisters in Christ even if I do not see eye to eye with them regarding their theology. Because these brothers and sisters in Christ are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, the narcissism that remains is to be considered damage in their flesh which is their old self and now has to contend with the new self that is in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore I do not expect a calvinist to be merely a narcissist with Christian principles but rather one who is going through the same sanctification process all Christians are yet at the same time dealing with damage done to their flesh. The same could be said about all Christians; all of us are walking around while in this old-self body with all of its scars and luggage that comes from our past as well.

 

I believe the theology of Calvinism is a stronghold allowing those who came into the faith as narcissists to more easily continue in their narcissism even perverting the image of God as if He thought and operated as they do. Even John Piper, a well known modern day calvinist, in addressing why calvinists are so negative recognizes this appeal of Calvinism:

 

"So the intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person, and that type of person doesn't tend to be the most warm, fuzzy, and tender. Therefore this type of person has a greater danger of being hostile, gruff, abrupt, insensitive or intellectualistic"1.

 

I believe the reason Calvinism is growing is because Narcissism is growing. Narcissist often lack no confidence and therefore end up in prestigious positions such as doctors, actors, teachers, and government with their feelings of superiority they are convinced that's where they belong. Therefore it's no surprise that much of the leading teachers today are Calvinists as in their narcissism, they too feel people need to be taught what they know, and with their confidence, charm, and ability to play humble, they often are quickly welcomed into such positions and from there, breed more Calvinists out of narcissists.

 

The reason Calvinism is so influential is because it's would-be audience is already primed for it as narcissists, and Narcissism is on the rise. With so many social platforms, educators, parents, and more that promote and even encourage a grandiose view of self rather than curbing it, the amount of narcissists are increasing and therefore Calvinism is also on the rise. I call it a stronghold because I believe it is used by Satan to distort who God really is causing many people to avoid the faith altogether and others walk away when they observe this narcissist behavior in Christians. Worse than that still, many are greatly (and rightly) put-off by a God who would be portrayed as narcissistic Himself often making claims that God, in pursuit of glorifying Himself would create people He never wanted to save for the purpose of judging them in order to display His righteous justice. Scripture says we love because God first loved us, Calvinism says we love because God seeks His own glory (I address this in another series).

 

Regarding theology, if you were genuinely seeking the truth I would be happy to discuss my years of research and what I've found regarding Calvinism and how/if it fits in to the bible. But not in this article. I can also recommend a very large amount of resources, videos, books, articles, etc. on Calvinism as there are many5. In this article though I plan to look at the correlation specifically between Calvinism and Narcissism. Before we continue, if you're unfamiliar with Narcissism I would encourage you to do a quick search online as to the symptoms of it. When you're reading them ask yourself if you (if you're a calvinist) or a calvinist you know exhibits these same symptoms, consider how those symptoms may look if said individual is a Christian. That's what I'm going to try and share here which is derived from my own observations, experience, and research. So that said, let's dive in.

 

Narcissists have a grandiose sense of self-importance. This is perhaps the most defining characteristic of Narcissism. Beyond mere pride or arrogance the narcissist has an unrealistic sense of superiority. They believe they are unique, special, and can only be understood by those who are equally special. They only want to associate or be associated with other high-status people, places, and things.

Calvinists have have a grandiose sense of self-importance. Therefore they have no problem recognizing they are indeed the light to the world, a guide to the blind, an example for others. They easily identify as the "elect" or "chosen". It's not that some of these things aren't true, Christians are indeed the light of the world (Matt. 5:14), but Calvinist feel they are and even take pride in it. They give credit to God but glorify themselves. Like the Pharisee they often pray "God, I thank You that I am not like other people..." (Like 18:11). Calvinist who walk in true humility are seldom found.

 

Narcissists are self-absorbed.  Narcissist feel the world revolves around them and they are frustrated when others don't see that. The primary object of love in a narcissist's life is themself. They are often preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate and insist on having the best of everything. Because they are usually in their own heads they don't hear you and thus monopolize conversations.

Calvinists are self-absorbed. Like the Pharisee's prayer mentioned above, Calvinists primary prayer benefactor are themselves. While that's not uncommon to any Christian, Calvinists feel it's justified because of their importance. Calvinists often monopolize conversations, not that they are unwilling to listen, but they do that as a courtesy and spend much of that time waiting to speak, often losing that patience.

 

Narcissists emotionally reason. Narcissist utmost authority on decisions is what they feel. Facts, logic, reason are all good but only if it lines up with what they feel and anything that doesn't is discredited, devalued, and discarded and they do not budge on this no matter how much evidence and sound reasoning is presented. Such sound reasoning only angers and frustrates them.

Calvinists emotionally reason. Even their view of God is determined by what they feel. Scripture, like sound reasoning to the narcissist, are all good and fine as long as it lines up with what they feel to be right. Because of this the calvinist will camp out on scripture that seemingly fits their theology and dogmatically fit other scripture into that theology without ever taking an honest consideration. They will often pervert scripture or chalk it up to a "mystery" that only God knows and walk away from it still fully assured that what they feel is scripture. The trust here is not in God or in His word but in what they feel is right (cf. Prov. 3:5). Such may be well versed in scripture but knowing scripture doesn't mean you know Jesus (John 5:39).

 

Narcissists vehemently argue as fact something that is arbitrary or unknown. Narcissist can't be wrong according to their own self determination. But it goes beyond that. To be wrong to them is to tear-down their entire self-view and self-projection. To the narcissist, one stone misplaced means the entire wall is going to come crumbling down. Narcissist expect of themselves to be the smartest, brightest, and wisest (and think others around them see them this way). The deep seated fear and anxiety the narcissist harbor is triggered when a kink in their logic is pointed out and the facade they put on to fool others (and themselves) is challenged because they fear being found out that they are not as good, smart, strong, etc as they are hyped up to be. They, out of desperation, need you to be wrong. The stakes they have in being right are far to high that even the idea of you being right is terrifying and unthinkable. Therefore they would rather see you humiliated, shunned, and discarded rather than be found wrong, lose, or be seen as inferior.

Calvinists vehemently argue as fact something that is arbitrary or unknown. The same is carried over into Christianity but now includes the realm of theology. Arguing with a calvinist will often leave you under the same wrath as any narcissist but now theology, scripture, and even God will be used to hammer you. If you back a calvinist into a theological corner they will lash out at you and quickly make you the objector of Romans 9:19 "who are you O man?" or whip out Romans 11:33 "How...unfathomable His ways!" and while you could use the same argument against them, they've changed subjects or walked away before you have a chance to rebuttal with sound reasoning, good logic, or contextual scripture. Like Narcissist, the stakes are to high to be objective and risk losing even if it's by sound reasoning, theology, or doctrine. The deep seated fear of being found out is now projected onto their relationship with God as well. Therefore they will be quick to deflect blame, change the subject, and judge you, and after you've parted they are diligent to make sure everyone else present sees just how foolish you were and they will gladly spend hours if need be walking them through how you were wrong and they were right. In extreme cases they will gladly call you unchristian, a reprobate, wolf, demonize you, and separate from you and encourage others to do the same if that's what it takes for them to remain superior.

 

Narcissist lack empathy. Narcissists have very little ability to empathize with others which is another hallmark sign of narcissism. As we discussed narcissists navigate life by their own feelings and because those feelings (not logic) are the final judge, they expect others to feel the same as they do and rarely give any thought to how others feel. Narcissists often think you cause their feelings, especially the negative ones. An absence of empathy makes emotional connections with a narcissist near impossible. An appeal to the narcissist's heart for compassion falls flat.

Calvinists lack empathy. Calvinists often view empathy (and emotions in general) as a weakness. Interestingly while a Calvinist emotionally reasons they believe that same emotional reason is logic and therefore consider themselves very logical. Out of that view they often devalue actual emotions because what would be healthy emotions for most are not shared by them, such is the case with empathy. Because of a lack of empathy Calvinism is more easily accepted by those with a narcissistic background. Calvinism is only good news for the narcissist. The Apostle Paul was tormented by the idea of people he cared about not being saved. His own words to describe how he felt are "great sorrow and unceasing grief" and continuing he says "I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren" (Rom. 9:2-3). It has been my experience that calvinists, unlike Paul, don't lose any sleep at all over those they label reprobates. Not only are they in error with this view but calvinists, like narcissist, lack empathy and without empathy you cannot feel for your fellow man. When I ask how a calvinist feels about their neighbor potentially being chosen (predestined) for burning in hell for all eternity they often respond with something like "it glorifies God". Those capable of empathy whom have compassion couldn't bear the idea that one they love may be preordained by God to be tortured in burning fires for all eternity. Calvinists on the other hand lack compassion and therefore an argument based on compassion falls flat with them. The Calvinism theology is a tough pill to swallow for those who have true empathy, but not so much for those without. Those who have true empathy do not so easily view Calvinism as the gospel which means good news. I've also noticed that there are more men who can swallow the pill of Calvinism than women or children. There are also more men who are narcissists than women6.

 

Narcissist only truly associate with those of equal status. Narcissists believe they are "special" and unique and can only be understood by or should associate with similar high-status people and organizations. Consequently, narcissists attract other narcissists. It's not uncommon to see a married couple in which both individuals are narcissist.

Calvinist only truly associate with those of equal status. In calvinist circles the word calvinist is often more honored than the term Christian. Calvinists take more pride in their calvinistic circles than they do in Christ. Almost like Calvinism is the next higher tier of "true Christianity" that us non-calvinists will never attain. Christians trust in Christ and His finished work on the cross, calvinists trust in their election. To calvinists, Christ's work on the cross was just a means to an end, a way to accomplish their election. In this case they've often left their first love of Christ for the new love of election. Like narcissists, calvinists believe they are special and will freely throw around the term "elect" and they only closely associate with others they believe to be special like them. To them, Christians who follow Christ but aren't calvinist are seldom worth associating with nor are worthy of consideration. Calvinists don't identify with others who aren't equally as "elect" or "chosen" as they are. Interestingly, because of the presence of Narcissism, calvinists often feel they are the superior ones even among there own group. Like narcissist they are quick to judge even those who identify as believing what they believe. Some calvinists have said (and sometimes jokingly but not really..) that even John Calvin (the founder of Calvinism) wasn't calvinistic enough1.

 

Narcissists desperately desire to be in control. Because of this they often can be found in leadership roles. It's not necessarily that they are good leaders, but leadership is where the control is. Narcissist have a persona they project in the world and a story in their head of how their life should be. Having control helps them play out that story. Leadership is just one avenue but the narcissist will employ tactics of manipulation, guilt, lying, and acting in order to control each circumstance to their liking.

Calvinists desperately desire to be in control. Calvinist love theology. Theology in it's short definition is what you think about God. Calvinist love putting things into categories, boxes, drawers, and containers and put labels on them. Calvinist even put God into the box of their systematic theology and label it "Calvinism". Calvinist claim their theology is the mystery or hidden will of God (though they claim that God's hidden will is only known by God when debating with them). Knowledge equals control. Some have even said they cannot trust a God whom they cannot fully understand but what they really are saying is they cannot trust a God whom they cannot fully control or manipulate. So Calvinists love theology, studying spiritual gifts, personality profiling, and any other tool that will give them the edge on knowledge and help them maintain control.

 

Narcissist lack responsibility--blaming and deflecting. This is another glaring sign of Narcissism. Although narcissists want to be in control, they never want to be responsible for the results--unless, of course, everything goes exactly the way they want and the desired result occurs. When things don't go according to their plan, not as perfect as they intended, or they simply feel criticized they are quick to put the blame on anything but them. They will blame circumstances, conditions, but most often they blame people with the most popular victim being those closest to them. Narcissists will fiercely search out every variable in any given situation that potentially makes them look bad in order to place the blame on something or someone else. "My child had me up late last night", "You're too sensitive", "if I had the right tool", "a good relationship takes two", "the government won't give me a break". Narcissists view others, even their own children as an extension of themselves when they are to be praised, but when criticism comes down the wire they are quick to separate themselves from those extensions.

Calvinists lack responsibility--blaming and deflecting. Like narcissists, calvinists are expert blame-shifters. If you don't conform to their ways they will devalue you (often by labeling you with a systematic theology different than theirs), and even demonize you if need be. In terms of their own sin, calvinists, playing the part of the Christian, will be the first to make sure everyone knows they are "chief sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15) but getting them to itemize that and actually take responsibility for a bad choice, selfish motive, errant view, or walk you through an honest confession, especially on the cusp of it or with an audience kicks up that deep seated fear and they result to deflecting and blaming others. The fact their theology credits God with wanting and even ordaining sin in the world shouldn't be a surprise. Calvinist rarely ever enter into a broken or contrite heart (Psa. 51:17) that would require owning the responsibility of such awful sins and entering a state of feeling (not just knowing) that God could justifiably condemn them (Psa. 51:4). Calvinists view those they lead as an extension of themselves. Though once criticism comes down the wire they are quick to separate themselves from those extensions. Calvinists are more concerned about their reputation then about an honest confession. That said, God is at work! "Twas grace that taught my heart to fear".

 

Narcissists have a fear of rejection and ridicule. Their entire life is motivated by fear which may come as a surprise because these fears are often deeply buried and repressed. They are constantly afraid of being ridiculed, rejected, or wrong, which is why the blaming and deflecting and it's what drives their perfectionism and desire for control. They are highly reactive to criticism or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. They have low self-esteem which is often masked by their inflated egos, but it's presence is noted by their desire to constantly prove themselves. They are driven, but such drive stems from compulsion.

Calvinists have a fear of rejection and ridicule. Their life and their walk with God is motivated by fear. While they have doctrines of grace they hold to, their hearts often do not embrace God's grace which could douse their fears (1 John 4:18). They fear intimacy and vulnerability because they are afraid you (or God) will see their imperfections and judge or reject them. Unfortunately no amount of reassurance seems to make a difference because narcissists deeply hate and reject their own shameful imperfections. Because of this they struggle to trust in the love of others and in the love of God. Their own self judgment supersedes that of God who has declared He loves them (John 3:16). Calvinists will admit they are "chief sinners" but rarely do they let anyone look under the hood. You just have to take them at their word when they say they are sinners.

 

One last thing I want to point out. Read the famous chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13. This time however take a look at what love is NOT starting with the very first paragraph. Furthermore Paul goes on to list some things directly that love is not and you will see many things that love is not shares commonality with what Narcissism is. For example, selling all possessions to feed the poor can be done without love... so what would the motivation be in doing that if it weren't love? Answer that and you'll have listed a core narcissistic trait.

 

References:

1.) Why are Calvinists So Negative? (written by a calvinist) - https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/why-are-calvinists-so-negative (as it read on 03-22-2020)

2.) Early Warning Signs of Adult Onset Calvinism (written by a pro-calvinist) - https://theblazingcenter.com/2015/10/early-warning-signs-of-adult-onset-calvinism.html (as it read on 03-15-2020)

3.) 7 Signs That You're a Cage-Stage Calvinist (written by a pro-calvinist) - https://www.challies.com/sponsored/7-signs-that-youre-a-cage-stage-calvinist/ (as it read on 03-15-2020)

4.) WhyAre Calvinists So Mean? (written by a calvinist) - https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/jared-c-wilson/why-are-calvinists-so-mean/ (as it read on 03-15-2020)

5.) A couple recommendations that I've found to be solid are the YouTube channels belonging to Leighton Flowers (Soteriology 101) and Mike Winger (BibleThinker).

6.) Which Is the More Narcissistic Sex? - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201503/which-is-the-more-narcissistic-sex (as it read on 03-16-2020)

 

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Christians have argued that God has multiple facets to His will. Some have claimed that God has an "accommodating will" (that which He's made known to man) (Ephesians 1:9) and a sovereign or "hidden will" (His "ultimate" will that operates at a higher level [Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33-36] and governs what He does [Ephesians 1:11]). To this extent, and by this definition I would agree. However some Calvinists have taken it a step further and made a claim to know what God's sovereign or "hidden will" is. (Ironic that one would label the will of God as "hidden" and therefore not part of His accommodating will but yet make claim to know it).

 

Making claim to know the hidden will of God makes me nervous. Some things were even beyond Paul's ability to comprehend, nay even to great for any man to fathom (Romans 11:33). Therefore I would think we should be careful not to be too hasty in declaring the hidden will of God. Consider this proverb:

 

25 It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!”
And after the vows to make inquiry. - Proverbs 20:25

 

It's important we strive as the "more noble-minded" men in Acts 17:11 who upon learning of Christ were "examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." That said, let's now consider what we do know about God's will according to what He's made known in scripture. (On a side note, I write this in appreciation for 2 Corinthians 10:5 where Paul writes "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God..." [emphasis mine]).

 

Let me start with this verse.

 

33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. - 1 Corinthians 14:33

 

God is not a God of "confusion". What is confusion? Merrian-Webster's first two definitions are:

 

1.) a state of mental uncertainty.

2.) a state in which everything is out of order.

 

The original Greek word for confusion here is akatastasia, HELPS Word-studies defines it this way: akatastasía ("commotion") generates confusion (things being "out of control"), i.e. when "up for grabs." This uncertainty and tumult inevitably generates more instability.

 

God then is not a God of uncertainty, tumult, instability, chaos, nor disorder. On the contrary, as Paul writes, He is a God "of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33, see also Hebrews 13:20).

 

What I am getting at is this. God is not in a state of mental uncertainty nor the author of disorder. Unlike us at times (James 1:8) God is always of sound mind. God's will is never contradicting of itself as if God was uncertain or divided against Himself. To say that God was uncertain would mean either He's not all knowing or that He has a divided interest and is therefore at odds with Himself.

 

24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. - Mark 3:24-25

 

If in our own understanding of scripture it would appear that God is somehow beside Himself, that on one hand He is this way, but on the other hand He is a another way that seemingly contradicts the first, that we consider our understanding is lacking and not to fill in the blanks, especially if what we fill in those blanks is contradictory to scripture. Consider the rest of Mark 3 above.

 

24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27 But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” - Mark 3:24-30

 

For example, It's important that if God says He wishes all men come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:23, 32, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, Luke 2:10, John 1:7, Titus 2:11, 1 Timothy 4:10, Matthew 11:28-30, Acts 17:30) that we don't in error fill in the blanks to make claim otherwise or else you risk making God out to be double minded and discrediting these verses.

 

Some Calvinists have made claim that God has a "hidden agenda". That somehow His known or "accommodating" will is not actually what He wants according to his "hidden" will. Like I said, I believe in the hidden will of God, that is that He has thoughts that are unbeknown to us. I don't agree however that His thoughts that are unbeknown are contrary to that which He has made known to us (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). This is the very definition of a hidden agenda and being "double tongued" (1 Timothy 3:8). A hidden agenda is not merely a will that is hidden but rather it's deceitful, concealing an ulterior motive. Double-tongued is "marked by deliberate deceptiveness especially by pretending one set of feelings and acting under the influence of another" - Vocabulary.com. If God were to have a hidden will that differs from His revealed will than we make God out to be a deceiver. This is not the nature of God (Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2) it is the nature of Satan (John 8:44).

 

If I'm working on a jigsaw puzzle and in the middle of the puzzle is a huge red balloon of which I've inserted every piece of the puzzle that's part of that balloon except one right in the middle, I then can determine by logic and by revelation found on the cover of the box that the piece missing is a red piece. If however, I've lost said piece and all I have left is green pieces, my job isn't then to make a green piece fit, but rather to declare I have not everything needed to complete the puzzle.

 

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. - 1 Corinthians 13:12

 

We do not currently have all the puzzle pieces. (Someday we will!) So let us not make claims as if we did nor let us use a green piece and shove it in where it doesn't fit (1 Timothy 1:3-7). Rather let's make claim to that which has been revealed to us by God.

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"Indeed, has God said..."

 

"If You are the Son of God..."

 

Recognize these quotes? One is quoting the serpent in the garden, Genesis 3:1, and the other is quoting the tempter in Matthew 4:3. Both the serpent and the tempter are accredited as being Satan the devil. (Rev. 12:9, 20:2, Matt. 4:5, John 8:44) and these quotes above are the first thing out of his mouth in each instance and perhaps his most powerful attack in each scenario since his power is in the lie (John 8:44, 2 Cor. 12:7, Eph. 6:16, 1 Pet. 5:8). This is what I intend to look at in this article. What Satan did with Adam & Eve and what he tried to do with Jesus (but failed) is get them to doubt something they were previously sure on. To get them to question what was once a given and never disputed. To get them to take their eyes off of God and get them focused on the waves (Matt. 14:29-30). Satan knows he can't alter the word of God (Isa. 55:11) but perhaps he can skew your view of it.

 

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! - Matthew 6:22-23

 

If you can get a person to doubt their own senses, their own eyes, their own hands... well let's just say if this was the case with Thomas then there would have been nothing left to convince him that Jesus was "My Lord and My God!" (John 20:24-29) When Jesus said to Thomas "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." (John 20:27) it wouldn't have worked because Thomas wouldn't have believed his own eyes or the rest of his senses. Jeremiah refers to such as people who are senseless, who have ears but do not hear, who have eyes but do not see (Jer. 5:21). A person in such state has trouble believing even if miracles are performed in front of them.

 

Yet this is exactly what is happening in our church today. Predominant Calvinist are discrediting the word of God in the minds of those willing to pay attention by getting them to question the basic things they've known since they first learned how to communicate. When the bible says "world" it means world, when the bible says "all" it means all, yet Calvinist disagree. In darkness (often mislead themselves) they seek to cause you to reconsider such rudimentary knowledge, ultimately causing one to doubt what we learned when our eyes were clear (Matt. 6:22). In similar fashion to Satan they get you to question the word delivered to you in the first place using arguments such as "lost in translation" quoting original Greek and Hebrew (which we'll get in to) or by changing the definition of a word such as "all" of which you've known the meaning of since elementary school. Unfortunately because of their lofty status and because their doctrine has many yay-sayers we are often inclined to consider their position and give attention to these errors.

 

 

God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33) therefore we can be assured such that incites confusion is not from Him. Paul did not play word games when he wrote under divine inspiration (2 Pet. 1:21), rather he spoke plainly "so that the cross of Christ would not be made void" (1 Cor. 1:17, 2 Cor. 11:6).

 

I've heard it said that nobody who reads the bible and believes starts out a Calvinist and there is good reason for that. When you believed the Gospel, God gave you the Holy Spirit that moment! (Eph. 1:13). But now that you're a believer you also have a crosshair on your back. Satan is unable to stop the word of God (Isa. 55:11) so he turns his efforts toward us. The battle is real, which is why we are to take up the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17).

 

Take for example the word "world" in the bible.

 

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16 (emphasis mine)

 

Calvinist, in order to fit their staunch 5 point Calvinistic system, have to redefine the word "world" to not include everyone. If it means everyone their 3rd point crumbles and with it their entire Calvinistic (TULIP) system. The 3rd point of Calvinism is what they call 'limited atonement' stating that God does not want to save everyone and therefore Christ did not die on the cross for everyone but only for some who according to them are "elect". This article is not to debate the 5 points of Calvinism (there are other resources for that) but rather I intend to bring to light the word games played by Calvinist in redefining the meaning of the words in the bible to fit their theology, words such as "world" and "all".

 

Calvinist argue the word "world" in John 3:16 does not mean He loves all who are in the world but they call His love for the world a "generalization". So when God says He loved the world (John 3:16) Calvinist want you to know that doesn't mean He loves everyone in it but rather He loves it as a whole. This means He collectively loves the good and bad in it together, because, by their definition, God loves anything that brings Him glory (see study on God's glory here). Since God, when enacting His justice brings Him glory they conclude that God wanted to create people for wrath, people created for the specific purpose of being condemned. Some Calvinist such as R.C. Sproul Jr, in his book "Almighty Over All" states that "God desired for man to fall into sin...God created sin."

 

This brings us to the word "all" which is the natural stop for someone who's digging into the bible to see if what Calvinist said in their 3rd point of limited atonement is true. We could argue the word "world" includes all the inhabitants of it (as is backed by 1 John 2:2 and Hebrews 2:9) but a more extensive study would naturally bring us to the word "all" in the bible as there are a plethora of verses that use that word.

 

The error is this. Calvinist find scripture that says "all" and point where it is used without distinction such as Acts 10:12 and attribute it to being used everywhere in the bible just like that. Yes all is used scripturally in times without distinction but it is also used in areas without exception. Without distinction would be like me saying "all of the country is up in arms over this corona virus". Without exception would be like me saying "all of my cars have current tabs". Both are correct uses of the word all. Consider my corona virus statement, is that an accurate phrase? right now Yes. The date as I update this is 03-20-2020 and I would be hard-pressed to find someone who disagreed with that statement as our country is in turmoil and the stock market has plummeted more than has ever happened in my lifetime. BUT there are many times where scripture uses all without exception which means every single person. For example when Romans 3:23 states all fall short of the glory of God, it means everyone, without exception. All means all. Sometimes it is used without distinction and sometimes it is used without exception, both are used rightly just as we would today. Anyone claiming it's one ditch (without distinction) or the other (without exception) is inserting their presuppositions into it. Let's look verses who's usage of all is without exception.

 

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (emphasis mine)

 

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9 (emphasis mine)

 

7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. - John 1:7 (emphasis mine)

 

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, - Titus 2:11 (emphasis mine)

 

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; - Luke 2:10 (emphasis mine)

 

30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, - Acts 17:30 (emphasis mine)

 

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28 (emphasis mine)

 

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. - 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (emphasis mine)

 

14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. - 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (emphasis mine)

 

10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. - 1 Timothy 4:10 (emphasis mine)

 

Is it getting more difficult to see the word all to not mean all? Keep reading. Looking at those verses alone a person cannot in sound reasoning (Isa. 1:18, Jam. 3:17) conclude that God neither wants nor sent His Son to die for all (meaning, each, every, all parts that make up the whole). "But Ryan, what about the original Greek, perhaps we're missing something there." First, if your language is English, then this is how God brought His word to you (Acts 2:6) and you need not anyone to teach it to you (1 John 2:27). Second, don't allow these deceptions to fester in darkness but rather expose it! (Eph. 5:11). If something is hiding behind the guise of "poor translation from Greek," dig in! The unknown is where the enemy has power. Look at that last verse I quoted above, 1 Timothy 4:10, what is their reason for laboring and striving? Because of their fixed hope on the living God "who is the Savior of all men". Now imagine if the enemy convinced Paul (and everyone represented by "we" at the beginning of that verse) that God is not the Savior of all men, would they or we still be compelled to labor and strive so? Paul was compelled by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14) and was by all means trying to save as many as he could (1 Cor. 9:19-22) always deeply concerned for them (2 Cor. 11:28) even with great sorrow (Rom. 9:2). All of which would have been undermined if Christ was not "the Savior of all men". If the enemy can undermine this premise, if they can get you to question the basics, even your own reasoning, they can essentially nullify your walk with God. If the enemy can loosen the smallest thread then eventually the entire tapestry will unravel (though God is faithful!). If the word you've been taught is under attack, dig in to the word! If someone says the word "all" in Greek doesn't mean the same as we know the word "all" to mean in English, then look at the original Greek word used there and learn it's meaning.

 

The attack is only successful when it operates within darkness. If there is no darkness, then everything is revealed and there is no question. While God made it clear that right now we do not have total knowledge, in other words, there are some things we are in the dark on, things we cannot see clearly on (1 Cor. 13:12); there is also the "true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man" (John 1:9) the Light which "shines in the darkness" which illuminates the most important fundamentals of Christianity. God has given us His Word! (John 1:1-14) The very same Word which is our sword of the Spirit with which we combat! (Eph. 6:17).

 

In every verse I quoted in the list above the word "all" is translated from the exact same Greek word pás (Strong's #3956) which by definition means "all, the whole, every kind of". HELPS Word-studies defines it this way:

 

3956 páseach, every; each "part(s) of a totality" (L & N, 1, 59.24).

3956 /pás ("each, every") means "all" in the sense of "each (every) part that applies." The emphasis of the total picture then is on "one piece at a time." 365 (ananeóō) then focuses on the part(s) making up the whole – viewing the whole in terms of the individual parts.

[When 3956 (pás) modifies a word with the definite article it has "extensive-intensive" force – and is straightforward intensive when the Greek definite article is lacking.]

 

"All" is a rudimentary word so breaking it down as if it were more complex is like breaking down an element such as Gold into more simple state. Gold means gold and "all" means all. This is further backed by the definition above of the original Greek word used for "all". As you can see it means exactly what we thought it meant. "All" includes all which is "each, every, and each part of a totality". Yes all has been used in scripture similarly to how I used it in my phrase above about the Corona virus. But to conclude that it's used every time like that is a grave error as you can see in the context of these scriptures that all does/did in fact mean all.

 

Still not convinced. Let's look at where else this exact same Greek word pás (or "all") is used.

 

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. - 1 John 1:7 (emphasis mine)

 

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9 (emphasis mine)

 

13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, - Colossians 2:13 (emphasis mine)

 

This is the same Greek word "all" from the first list of verses. If the word in those verses doesn't mean all then does it not here either? If you believe Christ didn't die for all do you also believe that He hasn't forgiven you "all" your transgressions? See what I'm getting at here. All can and often does mean all without exception. Let me conclude with one more very powerful example from Romans 5.

 

18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. - Romans 5:18 (emphasis mine)

 

Paul in this part of Romans 5 is showing how Adam was a type of Him (Christ) who was to come. Paul is showing the similarity between the two in that through Adam's one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men and similarly through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Because that very same Greek word pás is used for both instances of "all" here then we can conclude that both instances apply in the same way. Either all means everyone in both cases or all means only some in both cases. Because Paul is making this comparison he's actually highlighting this word all, showing how both acts effected everyone universally. If you were to argue that Christ's act of righteousness didn't result in justification of life to all men then you would have to equally argue that Adam's transgression didn't result in condemnation to all men. You can't have one without the other, if you did, not only would you twist the original Greek word to mean different things, but you would completely nullify Paul's entire argument in Romans 5:12-21 (see our more extensive study on it here).

 

"All" here means all without exception and therefore God loves you (period). Whoever you are God loves you unconditionally and sent His Son to be the propitiation for your sins!

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Disclaimer: This article is a work in progress and given the nature of Romans 11:33 and 1 Corinthians 13:12 I expect it to, at least in part, remain a mystery. That said, in my own search for understanding on this subject, so I can better know our God and who He is, I've put together a collection of bible verses that pertains to specific points in reference to the subject of free will vs predestination. Here is what I've found so far. This article is heavily scripture filled with some notes and examples I've written down to remind myself and provide you the reader with any insight I've received thus far. Right now this is an article more written for myself than for you (yet), but at the request from others as well as the fact this article may never be complete given it's mysterious nature (see verses above) I'm publishing it now.

 

Reasoning is an attribute of wisdom. The bible encourages us to pursue wisdom.

 

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. - James 3:17 (ESV)

 

God invites us to reason together with Him.

 

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool. - Isaiah 1:18

 

22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 23 Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” 26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” 27 And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” 30 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” 33 As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place. - Genesis 18:22-33

 

11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people. - Exodus 32:11-14

 

Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?” - Jonah 4:9-11

 

25 It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!”
And after the vows to make inquiry. - Proverbs 20:25

 

God's love may be a prominent characteristic of Him.

 

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. - 1 John 4:8

Few verses directly declare what God is, and none of them is wrath. There are verses that say He is wrathful but none say He is wrath, or He is anger, or He is rage, etc.

 

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” - Exodus 34:6-7

While God is Holy, visiting iniquity to the 3rd and 4th generations He keeps lovingkindness for thousands! (cf Psalm 103:8, 145:8)

 

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

That which He came full of are both are very loving attributes. Consider this in light of the first part of Hebrews 1:3 that says "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature".

 

The importance of justice to God can be seen on the cross.

 

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. - Romans 5:9

 

24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord. - Jeremiah 9:24

 

God's heart desire is for all to be saved.

 

23 Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live? - Ezekiel 18:23

 

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live. - Ezekiel 18:32

 

 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9

 

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:3-4

 

10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. - 1 Timothy 4:10

 

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, - Titus 2:11

 

I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. - Luke 15:7

 

He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. - John 1:7

 

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. - Heb. 2:9

 

16 After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,

17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ - Acts 15:17

 

15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. - 1 Timothy 1:15-16

 

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; - Luke 2:10

 

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. - Mark 16:15

"The gospel" that means the good news. For who? "all creation". Therefore God's good news is for everyone. The very essence of the gospel is that it is indeed good news. If it weren't for everyone than it wouldn't be good news for them.

 

30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, - Acts 17:30

 

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

 

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. - Hebrews 11:6

Therefore God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze. 18:23, 32).

 

10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” - Luke 19:10

That lumps all mankind into one category, lost. There is no distinction here between the elect and non-elect.

 

And He *said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. - Mark 3:1-6 (emphasis mine)

 

But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, - Romans 2:3-5

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. - Luke 6:35

22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? - Romans 9:22

Consider those three verses together. Paul is rebuking those who are stubborn and unrepentant of heart for not taking seriously the riches of God's kindness, tolerance, and patience. The same kindness that He gives to ungrateful and evil men (Luke 6:35), the same patience that He endures vessels of wrath with (Rom. 9:22).

 

21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. - John 17:21

so that... in other words, for this reason... "that the world may believe". Enabling the world to believe was then part of God's mission as stated in this verse.

 

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? - Romans 2:4

This was being directed at those who were stubborn and unrepentant at heart (v5). Therefore the riches of God's grace were and are available to everyone!

 

26 For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” - Acts 3:26

 

And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” - Genesis 12:3

 

God is not restricted by anything from saving whoever He wants and as many as He wants.

 

15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” - Romans 9:15

 

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ - Matthew 20:15

 

God is actively drawing all men to Himself.

 

You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. - Acts 7:51

 

32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” - John 12:32

 

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. - John 1:9

 

And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; - John 16:8

 

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. - Rev. 22:17

 

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. - John 6:44

In light of the above verses in this section, while it's true that nobody can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him, we also see later in John 12:32 (above) that all men are being drawn. Also, notice the combo in this verse. One must be drawn by the Father and then that person is able to "come to" Jesus. It does not imply a forcing of someone to come but rather making them able once the Father draws them.

 

Choice was part of God's plan from the beginning.

 

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, - Deuteronomy - 30:19

 

16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” - Genesis 2:16-17

 Because God is sovereign we have the ability to choose because He chose to do so. God has ordained it therefore it cannot be defied for God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). It was ordained by God since the beginning (when Adam and Eve were given the ability to choose).

 

Choice continues to be part of God's plan.

 

39 A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 7:39

 

17 If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. - John 7:17

Meaning we're not forced to do His will, we have an option.

 

37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. - 1 Corinthians 7:37

 

For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, - 2 Corinthians 8:3

 

14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. - Philemon 14

 Paul, the author of Philemon just compelled the recipients (see v. 2) to act according to their "free will".

 

28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. - Matthew 10:28

A separation is made between God and man here. Man is the one who commits murder of his own will. While God may allow, God does not cause. While God uses (Romans 8:28), God is not the source.

 

30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. - Ephesians 4:30

God cannot be divided against God. He wouldn't cause in us the actions that would cause Him grief.

 

 21 In the Law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 14:21

Would God bother trying if He also made them not to listen? God is a pursuing God.

 

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? - Romans 2:4

"leads" not forces.

 

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. - 2 Corinthians 5:11

 

God did not create beings and give them evil desires. 

 

29 Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices. - Ecclesiastes 7:29

Man sought out devices, as this verse states, it is not because God designed them this way. God also did not make the devil as the devil (meaning adversary), He made Lucifer who was an angel. Lucifer by his own actions became the devil. (see also 1 Tim. 3:6).

 

Let me sing now for my beloved
A song of my beloved about His vineyard.
My beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He dug it all around, cleared it of stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it,
And also carved out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced only worthless ones. - Isaiah 5:1-2

 

24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. - Matthew 13:24

 

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He. - Deuteronomy 32:4

 

17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you. - Ezekiel 28:17

 

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. - James 1:13-15

 

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. - Romans 1:28-32

We are the inventors of evil, not God.

 

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Genesis 1:27

Created in God's image. God wasn't/isn't evil therefore man wasn't created evil.

 

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. - 1 John 2:16

This not only clearly shows such evil did not come from the Father, but it gives credit to it's origin being from the world. This is an ultimate statement meaning the buck stops here (the world). In other words sin such as that listed in this verse (which pretty much encompasses every sin) ultimately comes from the world, not from the world and then ultimately from the Father. No it comes from the world (period).

 

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; - Matthew 25:41

Not prepared for man.

 

On the contrary, God delights in what's good, God delights in lovingkindness, righteousness, and justice.

 

24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord. - Jeremiah 9:24

 

He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord. - Psalm 33:5

 

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love. - Micah 7:18

 

17 Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You. - 1 Chronicles 29:17

 

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight. - Proverbs 11:1

 

The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord,
But the blameless in their walk are His delight. - Proverbs 11:20

 

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight. - Proverbs 12:22

 

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. - Hosea 6:6

 

God's plan was for us to be free. Can one love without the ability to choose? Without choice would he not simply be doing what he was programmed to do?

 

19 We love, because He first loved us. - 1 John 4:19

Not because we have to, but out of response to Him who loved us. (See also Luke 7:40-50, He who is forgiven little loves little, He who is forgiven much loves much).

 

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed, - Luke 4:18

God did not come to free us from one slave and force us to be slaves to Him. He came to set us free that we would be free to choose Him (or to not). To recognize we were blood bought and respond out of love, appreciation and respect for what He did. (We love because He first loved us).

 

13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. - Galatians 5:13

 

23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” - John 4:23-24

 

5 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. - Galatians 5:1

 

20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. - Galatians 2:20

 

16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. - 1 Peter 2:16

 

21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21

 

Man has to be willing to accept/receive the free gift of salvation.

 

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23

It's a gift, implying that it must be received as such. See John 1:12 (below). Because it's free, the word free means no purchase necessary. It also means it is without condition leaving only the need for it to be received.

 

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, - John 1:12

 

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. - John 5:39-40

 

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! - Luke 13:34

 

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? - Luke 11:9-13

 

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. - Revelations 3:20

 

10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” - John 4:10

 

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - Romans 10:12-13

 

26 saying,

Go to this people and say,
You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
27 For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes;
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.”’ - Acts 28:26-27

 

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. - John 6:44-45

 

knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, - 2 Peter 3:3-5

 

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, - Romans 1:18-20

 

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. - Gal. 5:4

Because by the law we've earned hell God cannot force grace unto salvation on us as that would be taking away hell which we are entitled too...we earned it. The only way for Him to justly not give us what we earned is if we allow what we've earned to be given to someone else who's willing and capable to take it, that is Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Every man who wants to live by the law is promised to die by the law. Therefore they are entitled to it.

This is why its possible to fall from grace when you seek to be justified by the law, you are demanding what you are entitled to instead of accepting the free gift that can only be received by accepting it.

 

51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.  - Acts 7:51

 

21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. - Romans 10:21

 

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” - Matthew 19:23-24

 Why would it be hard for a rich man, what makes being rich harder than not being rich? If it's because riches make a man turn away from God, or prevent him from receiving the free gift altogether then there is a worldly factor involved.

 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. - 2 Thessalonians 2:10

 

15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? - Romans 11:15

 

The Holy Spirit comes after believing.

 

17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ - Acts 11:17

 

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. - Acts 2:38

 

31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. - John 20:31

 

Why was God sorry He had made man?

 

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them. - Genesis 6:5-7

 

Obviously God knew the result before man was formed as mentioned in several other verses.

 

Because God is sovereign there are some things He cannot do.

 

17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. - Hebrews 6:17-18

 

in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, - Titus 1:2

 

29 Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” - 1 Samuel 15:29

 

Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. - Psalm 90:2

God is the only being capable of always being. He was, He is, and He is to come (Rev. 1:18), the First and the Last (Rev. 1:17), The Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 21:6). God existed before time (Heb. 1:2). Therefore God who is the Uncreated One cannot create another like Himself. It's impossible not only because that being would be created but then God's would be going against His declaration in Isaiah 45:18 and Deut 6:4.

 

18 For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lord, and there is none else. - Isaiah 45:18

 

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! - Deuteronomy 6:4

 

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. - 2 Timothy 2:13

 

God does not show partiality toward anyone.

 

34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. - Acts 10:34-35

 

He is good to everyone, and his compassion is intertwined with everything he does. - Psalms 145:9 (TLB)

 

10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. - Romans 2:10-11

 

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. - Luke 6:35

 

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;  - Romans 3:22

 

But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. - James 2:10

Partiality is actually a sin according to the law of God.

 

28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. - Colossians 1:28

 

God loves everyone, every person.

 

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. - 1 John 4:10

"In this is love". In what? The answer, in His act. God loved us which was not provoked by our deserving of it but rather, in His love He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, but not for ours only...

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2

"but also for those of the whole world." Therefore as the above verse states, God loves everyone, not just those who receive Him (Christians). Everyone at some point falls under the category of not loving God (1 John 4:19), but God did not weigh that as a condition for Him to send His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, yet He still sent Him. The second verse confirms He sent Him on behalf of everyone, both Christians and the rest, therefore because of that act, which according to the first verse was within God's love, we can conclude then that God loves everyone, unconditionally. This of course is plainly observed in other parts of the bible (Rom. 5:8, John 3:16).

 

Jesus died for the sins of everyone, not just those that would accept it until salvation.

 

 While there are scriptures that teach that Jesus died for His sheep (John 10:15), I have NOT found one verse in the bible that teaches that Jesus died only for His sheep. On the contrary, I've found a slew of verses that I think, without a doubt, show that Christ died for everyone, all, each person.

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2

This combined with Romans 5:8 which states "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." shows that God loves everyone, even those who never come to Him, why? Because He proposed to do it. 1 John 2:2 states Christ is the propitiation for not just Christians but "for those of the whole world" and Romans 5:8 states that same work of Christ that was for those of the whole world was done out of God's love while we were yet sinners. Who is "we"? The whole world because everyone (but Christ) is a sinner.

 

 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. - John 3:16-17

 

10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. - 1 Timothy 4:10

 Like 1 John 2:2 the two groups are separated but Christ did the same for both groups.

 

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. - 1 Timothy 2:5-6

 

51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” - John 6:51

 

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. - Hebrews 2:9

 

34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. - Acts 10:34-35

 

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. - Isaiah 53:6

 

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; - 1 Peter 3:18

 

33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. - John 6:33

 

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.  - 2 Peter 2:1

 

29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! - John 1:29

 

18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. - Romans 5:18

 "even so" Paul is comparing the likeness of the two in how they operated on both end of the spectrum and in the same likeness to all men. So either Christ died for all or not all men stood condemned because the same Greek word is used in place of all for both instances of it in this verse. Since we know all men sin, we know that Christ's work of justification of life applies to all men.

 28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” - Mark 3:28

 

18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. - 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

 

Placing one's faith in Christ cannot be done without hearing about Christ.

 

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? - Romans 10:14

 

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. - Romans 10:17

 

This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? - Galatians 3:2

 

So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? - Galatians 3:5

 

11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. - Acts 17:11-12

 

23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. 24 Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. - Acts 28:23-24

 

31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. - John 20:31

 

Jesus marveled at faith.

 

10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. - Matthew 8:10

 

Jesus marveled at unbelief.

 

And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching. - Mark 6:6 (ESV)

 

God does not cause man to sin.

 

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. - James 1:13-14

 

“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! - Matthew 18:7

Obviously God wouldn't both cause people to stumble and then give warning to those that cause people to stumble.

 

Why would the enemy bother trying?

 

19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. - Matthew 13:19

 

Why would Paul bother trying?

 

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. - 1 Corinthians 9:19-22

 

God exists outside of time, therefore God in His omniscience and omnipresence experiences the totality time and everything before time (eternity past) and after (eternity future) as the present.

 

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. - 2 Peter 3:8

 

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” - Rev. 1:8

 

God being all knowing and existing outside of time could never have a time that He was not in-the-know. This means there would never be a time that He wouldn't be experiencing the knowledge and even the fellowship of those who are His. So since He, even before time begin, experienced our fellowship and our being fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), according to His foreknowledge then predestined us before the foundation of the world to be conformed to the image of His Son. In other words, in order to ensure what to Him is already, God lined us up ("predestined") us according to His foreknowledge (Rom. 8:29-30). The very word "fore"knowledge denotes time is involved. This means it's being applied from our perspective (not God's) because we exist within time. From our perspective, or from time's perspective, we understand that God has foreknowledge of those whom would believe as seen in the verses below. In other words, if God is fully experiencing our fellowship already it should be no surprised that within the limitations of time that God would elect us accordingly or according to His foreknowledge. After all, He ensures none of His are lost.

37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. - John 6:37

 

Could God's chosen be those whom he foreknew would place their faith in Christ?

 

64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65 And He was saying, For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” - John 6:64-65

 

What is the reason? The reason is Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe (v.64).

 

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; - Romans 8:29

 

See John 6:64-65 that shows the same reason. That it is those whom God knows beforehand who would believe, these He also predestined.

 

22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? - Romans 9:22

 

What benefit would God "enduring with much patience" be to those vessels of wrath if they were simply drones doing what they were programmed to do?

 

God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? - Romans 11:2

 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

 God forms us in the womb and when we are born it's the completion of that forming. God here is saying before the forming He already knew us.

 

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. - 1 Peter 1:1-2

 

23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. - Acts 2:23

 

in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

and,

“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;

for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. - 1 Peter 2:8

 

15 When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ 19 Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ 20 Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ 21 And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’” - Luke 14:15-24

 

22 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” - Matthew 22:1-14

 Note that it is not because the invited guests could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come (v3). Instead they had their own excuses (v5, cf Luke 14:18-20). Jesus concludes this way "For many are called, but few are chosen." (v14). The invitation went out to anyone and everyone both good and bad (v9-10), these are the called (the many), this is confirmed by Mark 16:15. The chosen (the few) are those that respond to the invitation and come appropriately dressed in Christ's righteousness (Rev. 7:9, 14). In otherwords, many hear the call of God, but only a few heed it.

 

After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago. - Acts 15:16-18

Verse 17 references "the rest of mankind" in the first half and in the second half highlights "all the gentiles who are called by My name". Verse 19 points out that the Lord made these things known from long ago. So all of mankind is able to seek the Lord by God's accomplishment in verse 16, possibly then the 2nd half of 17 is God stating the result of His foreknowledge of those whom would seek God out.

 

10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; - 2 Peter 1:10

How else would this verse play a part? If predestination is according to foreknowledge than this verse makes since.

 

Foreknowledge does not equate to absolute determinism.

 

10 Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the pursuit. 14 David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. - 1 Samuel 23:10-14

 

At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. - Jeremiah 18:7-10

 

Speaking of "chosen" what do we make of this?

 

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” - John 6:70

30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. - Luke 7:30

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. - Matthew 7:21

This verse makes it clear that not everyone is doing according to the Father's will.

I will destine you for the sword,
And all of you will bow down to the slaughter.
Because I called, but you did not answer;
I spoke, but you did not hear.
And you did evil in My sight
And chose that in which I did not delight.” - Isaiah 65:12

17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; - 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. - Hebrews 10:36

15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. - 1 Peter 2:15

17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. - 1 John 2:17

 

Man's will is separate from his flesh.

 

41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” - Matthew 26:41

 

22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. - Eph. 4:22-24

"...put off...put on..." both denote a will separate from the natures of the man, both the old "corrupted" nature as well as the new nature "created in righteousness".

 

11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. - Acts 17:11

 

Therefore faith is not a work. Faith is an action, but not one that is meritorious. Therefore it is an action but not one that is part of grace but rather it introduces us to grace. Monergism remains intact while faith remains an action of free will.

 

27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. - Romans 3:27-31

Faith actually nullifies boasting. So when a Calvinist says faith contributes to salvation as a meritorious work, they are in error because they are making faith out to be a work in which it is not as this verse makes clear. Faith actually establishes grace.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith is named separately from grace. If it were part of grace the verse would read "For by grace you have been saved" (period). But Paul makes a distinction. God's grace does 100% of the saving, this is true and why monergism is true in soteriology. But it is faith that introduces us to this grace that does 100% of the work. Faith then adds no percentile to contributing to our salvation but rather is a response or an introduction to the One who did it all.

(on a side note "it" found in the phrase above "it is the gift of God", "it"in the Greek is neuter and "faith" is feminine. If you've studied greek that means "it" or in some translations "this" cannot refer to faith but rather the entirety of the verse, all of it. "it" or "this" refers to salvation as a whole.)

through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. - Romans 5:2

It's like faith introduces us to the one who does 100% of the saving. If we were to say then faith is a work required as part of the salvation equation in that it merits it, then we've made faith out to be a work in which it's not. For example. We know that the price Christ paid for us is far to high for us to ever pay for ourselves. The debt was to big and we had not the means to pay for it. So keeping with this debt analogy imagine it cost a billion-trillion dollars to get into heaven. Do you have a billion-trillion dollars? No. But Jesus does. So Jesus, being so rich in grace, hands you a check for a billion-trillion dollars with his Name, address, and bank account of His righteousness.

Excited you head to the bank to cash in on this check and as you hand it to the teller standing outside the gates of heaven they slide it back and say, "excuse me, first you must endorse this check by signing your name on the back before we can cash it". So you sign it (faith) and you head on in. Now when someone in heaven asks you, "hey man, how did you afford to get here?" If you were being honest you would say "Jesus paid my way here in full". Did you endorsing the check add to that sum? No. If signing the back of a check increased it's value I would be writing myself checks and heading down to the bank daily. But the fact is, endorsing something doesn't merit an increase in value, in fact, it doesn't merit anything. It's nothing more then an endorsement. That is what faith does. It establishes grace by endorsing it. When we sign the check, we establish grace by declaring the way in is the check with Jesus name, address, and bank account on it. Therefore this excludes any boasting by us and it establishes it's 100% Him. This is why boasting is excluded.

Faith is not an object to warrant focus on itself but rather faith by it's nature draws our attention to something else. If a person makes faith an object to behold then they've made it a work. Faith is merely a trust in something. We trust in Christ and His finished work on the cross, His shed blood, His resurrection. It's all Him. If my wife says she'll take care of the grocery shopping after she picks the kid up from school and I trust her word that she will, does my trusting of it somehow contribute to it being accomplished? No. Does my trusting her to do it mean less work for her at the grocery store as if I were contributing to her labor? No. My trust merits me nothing. What about with God? Does my trust merit His favor? Or in other words, does my trust merit righteousness from God? NO! I deliberately used the word merit, merit means earned. Our faith doesn't earn us righteousness, but rather God grants righteousness as a gift on the basis of faith. He doesn't have to as if He somehow owed it to us (then we'd be earning it) but rather He chose to credit it to us by Grace on the basis of faith.

This doesn't mean God used the old system, old wineskins, and made a new rule to the old law that now incorporates faith as a work, but rather God fulfilled the old system and brought a new system altogether. Those that try and make faith a work are trying to add new wine to old wineskins. They are trying to put a new patch on an old garment. (Mark 2:21-22).

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