SOMETIMES REJECTS GOD’S WILL...?
In the Bible, there is no hint that man is saved by God’s choice alone, or that He chooses to save some, and to damn others.
The plan of God is that He makes obvious that He chooses to save all of mankind. The devil’s plan is to ruin God’s plan, and he tries damn all he can. Every individual has the choice of which plan to become part.
God is the Justifier of those who choose to believe and to repent. God is the Judge of those who choose to disbelieve, and not to repent.
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."
"...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish..."
II Peter 3:9
"...not willing that any should perish..."
"And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely."
The word ‘election’ is used in connection with Israel being the chosen nation. There is one passage only where it refers to a different group. The nation of Israel is the ‘elect’ people. Yet, are, or were, all of them saved? No, we find otherwise. So, being the ‘elect’ does not guarantee salvation. For God chose the nation of Israel, and yet, God allowed their vote to change the status of some.
There are several exceptions in Scripture where the words ‘elect’, or ‘election’ refer to another group.
One such exception is:
I Thessalonians 1:4
"Knowing brethren, beloved, your election of God."
The church is now become the ‘elect’ of God, and we are chosen for a purpose, and that is to evangelize the world. Some, if not most, of Israel failed at their chosen calling, but the church has assumed, for now, that chosen state.
The word elect does not carry with it the idea of irresistibility. Israel failed in their ‘election’, and Paul warns that the church can likewise be cut off from where we were grafted into the vine. (Romans 11:17-24)
In Romans 9, the ‘election’ is speaking of Jacob being chosen over Esau to carry on the Messianic seed. In this passage also, we find those descendants of Jacob being called the ‘elect’, and yet, in verse 27, we find it says ‘though the number of the children of Israel (Jacob) be as the sand of the sea, a remnant (kataleimma, meaning a ‘few’, a ‘remainder’) shall be saved." So, election does not guarantee salvation, nor make it irresistible. For only a small part of the elect of Jacob’s seed shall be saved.
In Luke 18:7 we find the word refers to all those who are saved.
"And shall not God avenge His own elect, who cry day and night to Him...?"
In Romans 8:33, we find another exception to the ‘elect’ being just Israel:
‘who shall lay a charge against God’s elect? It is God that justifies...",
There we find there also it refers to those who have accepted God’s grace and justification.
"Paul, a servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect..."
There we see, it is the ‘faith’ of those ‘elect’ that bring servanthood and office in the church. It does not suggest that Paul had no option other than to be saved. He could have rejected his election.
II John 1, 13
"the elder, unto the elect lady... children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen."
This shows John referring to the woman who was head of the church in that locale, as being the ‘elect’ or ‘chosen’ one to have such a position.
So, the word ‘elect’ can refer to all the Jews and Gentiles who confirm and choose salvation to which they have been called. Having done so, they become partakers of the predestined blessings for believers. Of the Jews and Gentiles, only those who choose Jesus share the blessings of the ‘election."
"Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing o show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory. Even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles."
The ‘vessels’ are humans, but not vessels passively, irresistibly filled with wrath by choice of God. These are vessels who filled themselves with wrath via their choices. The word ‘fitted’, referring to their destruction, is ‘katartizo’, meaning complete thoroughly. It is the choices of the vessels that made them completely full of what brings thorough wrath.
What filled these vessels? Look at the passage in context, and their sins that filled them, are shown.
Romans 9:6 = stubbornness
Romans 9:31 = pride
Romans 9:32 = rebellion
Romans 10:19 = anger
Romans 10:19 = jealousy
Romans 10:23 = disobedience
Romans 11:7 = blindness to truth
Romans 11:21 = unbelief
The ‘vessels of mercy’ have blessings ‘afore prepared unto glory’. That confirms Romans 8:29-30 where we are told that those He ‘foreknew’ were ‘predestined’ for mercy and blessing. And Romans 8:28 says that ‘all things work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Again, the blessings are not forced upon someone against their will, but come to those who have chosen mercy, and God in His foreknowledge has therefore prepared a life of blessings for them.
It is like the oft told illustration of ‘clay and wax’. The sun can shine on them both, and one gets hardened, and the other one will melt, from that same ‘sunlight’. God’s mercy shines for all. The responsibility is with the materials upon which it shines. God does not predetermine anyone to perish (II Peter 3:9), so the choice is each person’s, not God’s.
God hardened Pharaoh, in the sense that Pharaoh chose to be like the clay, and let the words of God through Moses, and the plagues harden his heart. It says that God hardened his heart, and elsewhere in the Bible, it says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Both are true. God sent the plagues and the warnings. Instead of softening and repenting, Pharaoh chose to let those plagues and warnings, that God had sent, harden his heart.
God’s plan of election shows that mankind needs to break the tie vote. Romans 10:9-10 tells us:
"IF thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
There we see an ‘if’... and the action is mankind’s. One must confess, believe and then the grace of God is appropriated unto salvation.
MAN’S FREE WILL...
Man is a free moral agent. We see mankind has will for many areas of life.
Genesis 13:9 Abraham said to Lot...
"if thou wilt, take the left hand...’
Genesis 14:23 Abraham said to Sodom...
"I will not take from a thread.."
Genesis 18:5 Abraham said to the three heavenly visitors...
"I will fetch a morsel..."
Genesis 21:24 Abraham said in his covenant with Abimelech...
"I will swear..."
Genesis 22:2-8 Abraham said of his trip to Moriah...
"I and the lad will go yonder and worship..."
Exodus 3:3 Moses said about the burning bush...
"I will now turn aside and see..."
Obviously, from these and many other passages, we see the Bible indicates that mankind has a free will. "I WILL’ is used by man over 200 times in the book of Psalms alone. God recognizes that mankind has free will.
"if ye offer a sacrifice... ye shall offer it of your own free will."
"when you offer a sacrifice... offer it of your own will..."
So, God recognized that mankind has free will, and God demanded that sacrifices be made without constraint, with irresistibility.
Jesus continued in that recognition of free will.
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily."
When Paul instructed the church concerning the marriage of virgins, we find these words:
I Corinthians 7:36-37
"...let him do what he will, he sinneth not... he hath power over his own will."
Therefore, mankind is shown to have a will. God has given such free choice to mankind.
"Wherefore, be ye not unwise (Greek word is ‘aphron" meaning, senseless as mad men, completely mad), but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
What is the ‘will’ of God? Many are confused. Some think that He wants to save all, and none will miss heaven. Others think He has chosen to save some, to damn others, and the choice has been His. The Bible teaches that God has a will, and He wills for all to be saved, but allows mankind’s own wills to overrule His wishes.
There are two Greek words for ‘will’ of God in the New Testament.
1. Boulema ... This is God’s immutable, predeterminate will. For instance, God will defeat satan. That is not up for discussion. Jesus will come again. There is no changing that part of God’s will. He has determined those things and more to happen, and they will.
"find fault? For who hath resisted the will (boulema) of God..."
God has an ultimate will, and it will be done.
2. Thelema ... This refers to God’s desires. He desires for us not to sin, but we do. He desires to not have any to perish, but some do. God allows mankind to exercise a will.
Matthew 23:37 speaks of this kind of will of God.
"how often would (thelo = wish, desire) I have gathered thy children together as a hen even gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would (thelo = wish, desire) not."
"Thy will (thelema) be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
God’s desires are done in heaven. Here on earth, that is the prayer we should pray, yet, it is obvious that the murders, crimes, abortions, etc. are not God’s ‘wish’ (thelema).
God allows our free will to override His thelema will. Yet, His boulema will will not change. The boulema will is inalterable, immutable, unchangeable.
II Peter 3:9
"not willing (bouloumai) that any should perish..."
This shows that it is not God’s pre-determinate will that any perish. So, if any do perish, it is not because God caused it to be so, but their own wills brought them to the place of perishing. This does not mean He has predetermined everyone to be saved, but it means He has not predetermined anyone to perish. In other words, God has allowed our ‘thelema’ to make the decision.
Let’s take a closer look at II Peter 3:9:
"but is longsuffering (Patient, long in waiting for us to make the right choice) to us-ward, not willing (bouloumai, God’s predestined will) that any should perish (appolumi, to loose away, to destroy, and this refers to verse 7 where Peter reminded us that the heavens and the earth are kept in store, reserved for a day of judgment), but that all should come to repentance (metanoia, meaning a change of man’s will)."
The grace of God is offered to all mankind. It is the individual’s own choice, their free will, that either accepts the gift of salvation, or rejects the same.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation (soterias, ‘saving’) has appeared (epiphaino, meaning ‘to shine upon’) to all men."