22 – Can the Future Be Changed? - God’s Sovereignty vs Man’s Free Will (Part 6)


1. Who was John Calvin?

1.1. was a French theologian, pastor, and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, including its doctrines of predestination and of God's absolute sovereignty in the salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation. Calvinist doctrines were influenced by and elaborated upon the Augustinian and other Christian traditions. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.

2. Known as both the Doctrines of Grace and the Five Points of Calvinism, these doctrines are named for the distinct theological stances taken by the reformer John Calvin (who didn’t use this term himself).

3. The Five Points of Calvinism are: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints.

4. Calvinism – Aminianism Controversy

4.1. Gradually Arminius came to reject certain Calvinist teachings. The controversy spread all over Holland, where the Reformed Church was the overwhelming majority. The Arminians drew up their creed in Five Articles and laid them before the state authorities of Holland in 1610 under the name Remonstrance, signed by forty-six ministers.

4.2. So the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinists as a summary of their teaching. They emerged as a response to the Arminians who chose these five points to disagree with.

5. You have likely come across the acrostic T.U.L.I.P. as a memory aid for these doctrinal positions. Below is a brief description of the doctrines represented by each letter:

5.1. Total Depravity

5.1.1. Due to sin all of mankind is completely sinful, or depraved. Every part of fallen man is corrupted by sin. He is a creature that incapable of obeying the law of God.

5.1.1.1. Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

5.1.1.2. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

5.1.2. This depravity affects every part of the human experience and spiritually we are “dead in trespasses and sins”

5.1.2.1. Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

5.1.3. Our Rebellion to God is total

5.1.3.1.1. Eph 4:18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;

5.1.3.2. Man doesn’t seek God

5.1.3.2.1. John 3:20-21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

5.1.3.3. In summary, total depravity means that our rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sinful, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.

5.2. Unconditional Election

5.2.1. John Piper – “God’s election is an unconditional act of free grace that was given through his Son Jesus before the world began. By this act, God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in Jesus.”

5.2.2. Election Prior to Faith

5.2.2.1. Acts 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

5.2.2.2. John 10:26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

5.2.2.3. John 8:47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

5.2.2.4. Romans 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

5.3. Limited Atonement

5.3.1. John Piper “The atonement of Christ is sufficient for all humans and effective for those who trust him. It is not limited in its worth or sufficiency to save all who believe. But the full, saving effectiveness of the atonement that Jesus accomplished is limited to those for whom that saving effect was prepared. The availability of the total sufficiency of the atonement is for all people. Whosoever will — whoever believes — will be covered by the blood of Christ. And there is a divine design in the death of Christ to accomplish the promises of the new covenant for the chosen bride of Christ. Thus Christ died for all people, but not for all in the same way.”

5.3.1.1. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

5.3.1.2. Matt 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

5.3.2. God Makes a new Covenant with his people

5.3.2.1. Ezekiel 11:19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within [e]them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,

5.3.2.2. Duet 30:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

5.3.3. For the Sheep not for everyone

5.3.3.1. John 10:15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

5.3.3.2. John 10:26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, [e]as I said to you..

5.3.3.3. John 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

5.4. Irresistible Grace

5.4.1. John Piper “This means that the resistance that all human beings exert against God every day is wonderfully overcome at the proper time by God’s saving grace for undeserving rebels whom he chooses freely to save.”

5.4.2. Resistance

5.4.2.1. Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

5.4.3. God can’t be resisted

5.4.3.1. Psalm 115:3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

5.4.3.2. Job 42:2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

5.4.4. God must will that you be saved

5.4.4.1. Romans 9:20-21 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

5.4.4.2. Eph 1:4-5 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

5.4.5. Salvation is a Gift

5.4.5.1. 2 Tim 2:24-25 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

5.4.5.2. John 6:65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

5.4.6. The New Birth

5.4.6.1. 1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

5.4.6.2. Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

5.4.7. John Piper – “irresistible grace refers to the sovereign work of God to overcome the rebellion of our heart and bring us to faith in Christ so that we can be saved. If the doctrine of total depravity, as we have unfolded it in the previous section, is true, there can be no salvation without the reality of irresistible grace”

5.5. Perseverance of the Saints

5.5.1. John Piper – “We believe that all who are justified will win the fight of faith. They will persevere in faith and will not surrender finally to the enemy of their souls. This perseverance is the promise of the new covenant, obtained by the blood of Christ, and worked in us by God himself, yet not so as to diminish, but only to empower and encourage, our vigilance; so that we may say in the end, I have fought the good fight, but it was not I, but the grace of God which was with me (2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 15:10).

5.5.2. Our faith must endure to the end if we are to be saved.

5.5.2.1. I Cor 15:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

5.5.2.2. Mark 13:13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who [e]endures to the end shall be saved.

5.5.3. God’s Elect Cannot be Lost

5.5.3.1. Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

5.5.3.2. John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

5.5.3.3. Ephesians 1:4-5 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

5.5.4. There is a falling away of some believers, but if it persists, it shows that their faith was not genuine and they were not born of God.

5.5.4.1. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

5.5.5. God justifies us completely through the first genuine act of saving faith, but this is the sort of faith that perseveres and bears fruit in the “obedience of faith.

5.5.5.1. Phil 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

5.5.5.2. 2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

5.5.6. God works to cause his elect to persevere

5.5.6.1. Jude 24-25 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

5.5.6.2. Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

5.5.6.3. 1 Cor 1:8-9 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

6. The Non-Calvinist View

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6.1. Free Will or Human Ability Though no man can come to God without God's first drawing him, yet, man's free will allows him to decide whether to cooperate with the prevenient drawing of God or to resist it. The fall has affected man's nature significantly, but not to the point of rendering him incapable of choosing to receive the grace of God.

6.2. Election Conditioned upon Faith - Though God has elected to save all who are "in Christ," He has not determined which persons will actually come to be in Christ. This decision rests with the individual. God foreknows which individuals will choose to believe and to persevere in Christ, and elects to include them as His children based upon that foreknowledge.

6.3. Universal Redemption or General Atonement - Christ's death makes salvation available to every man, but in itself does not secure the salvation of any. It provides a means of reconciliation between man and God, but does not guarantee that any particular person will be in fact agree to the terms of reconciliation.

6.4. The Holy Spirit can be Resisted -The drawing of God is persuasive, but does not preclude the resistance of sinful and rebellious man, so that not all whom God would draw to salvation actually realize this salvation in experience.

6.5. Falling From Grace - Salvation is by faith alone. It is possible to cast off faith and a person, having done so, is not in a state of grace.

7. Foundational Errors

7.1. Sovereignty as defined by Calvinists

7.1.1. R.C. Sproul, Chosen By God "When we speak of divine sovereignty we are speaking about God's authority and about God's power...That God in some sense foreordains whatever comes to pass is a necessary result of his sovereignty... To say that God foreordains all that comes to pass is simply to say that God is sovereign over his entire creation...If God refused to permit something to happen and it happened anyway, then whatever caused it to happen would have more authority and power than God himself. If there is any part of God's creation outside of God's sovereignty, then God is simply not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then God is not God.“

7.1.2. John Piper: Has God predetermined every tiny detail in the universe, such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins? Yes. There's a great quote from Spurgeon about dust motes. You may not even know what a dust mote is, but when I get up in the morning in my room, there's a window to the side of the bed, and a beam of light will be shining through it at certain times of the year when I get it. Now when I look through the dark I see nothing. But when I look through the beam I see the dust in the room. It's flying around, and I say, "I'm breathing that stuff!?" Yes, you are. And Spurgeon says that every one of those particles is keeping its position and moving through the air by God's appointment. Now the reason I believe that is because the Bible says, "The dice are thrown in the lap, and every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33). Proverbs 16 has a bunch of these verses in it.

7.2. Everything man does, including sin, is ordained (instigated) by God

7.2.1. “He has decreed that…all events take place by his sovereign appointment…Everything done in the world is according to his decree…so ordained by his decree.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

7.2.2. “God wills all things that come to pass.” —R. C. Sproul, Almighty over All

7.2.3. ”God has wisely and perfectly decreed whatsoever comes to pass in this universe.” —James White, Potter’s Freedom

7.2.4. “The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” —Calvin, Institutes

7.2.5. “God desired for man to fall into sin…God created sin.” —R.C. Sproul, Almighty Over All

8. Does man have free will?

8.1. Hard determinism of Luther and Calvin

8.1.1. “free-will’ is an utter fallacy.” Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will

8.1.2. “those who...seek for free-will in man…labour under manifold delusion.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

8.1.3. “Free will is nonsense.” Charles H. Spurgeon, Free Will—A Slave

8.2. Soft Determinism – Compatibilism

8.2.1. Genesis 50:20 “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

8.2.2. Acts 4:27-28 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”

8.3. . Decrees of God in election to salvation

8.3.1. "By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death," John Calvin, Institutes

8.4. Questions raised by this approach:

8.4.1. If there is only One Will in the universe, how can man be held responsible?

8.4.2. Is God's will always done? If so, why does He frequently complain?

8.4.3. If God sovereignly instigates sin, how is He not its author, and why does He object to it?

8.4.4. Does prayer really affect anything?

8.4.5. Why are evangelism and, especially, persuasion necessary?

8.4.6. Why do actual events not always conform to God's stated will?

8.4.7. Does this “meticulous providence” model of God's sovereignty have any biblical basis?

8.5. God's right to rule (Adonai YHWH "Sovereign Lord")

8.5.1. As Creator/Owner of all things

8.5.1.1. Rev.4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

8.5.1.2. Matt.20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’

8.5.2. As King of kings and Lord of lords

8.5.2.1. Rev.19:16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

8.5.2.2. Ex.9:16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.

8.5.3. As Redeemer of creation

8.5.3.1. Rev.5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

8.6. God's omnipotence - El Shaddai "God Almighty"

8.6.1. Gen.17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

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

8.7. God's intervention

8.7.1. Eph.1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will

8.7.2. God limits His intervention according to His own policies and purposes, and does not always get precisely what He wants in men's lives

8.7.2.1. Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.

8.7.3. With reference to specific circumstances, God's intervention is often conditioned on man's exercise of faith in prayer

8.7.3.1. Matt.13:58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

8.7.3.2. James 4:2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

8.7.4. With reference to man's obedience, God generally does not override man's will to rebel

8.7.4.1. Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me;

8.7.5. God's ability to intervene guarantees that ultimately God's macro-purposes will be fulfilled in history

8.7.5.1. Psalm 115:3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

8.7.5.2. Rom.8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

9. God's sovereignty over rulers

9.1. He can raise up or depose rulers

9.1.1. Dan. 2:21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings;

9.2. Can direct their decisions

9.2.1. Pr. 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the [a]rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

9.3. God's rule over particular circumstances

9.3.1. He governs the elements of nature

9.3.1.1. Mark 4:41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

9.3.2. He can and sometimes does thwart plots of evil men

9.3.2.1. Ps.21:11 Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.

9.4. He turns evil acts to good purposes

9.4.1. Gen.50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

10. God's particular rule in the lives of believers

10.1. By giving commands

10.1.1. John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

10.2. By inward direction

10.2.1. Phil.2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

10.2.2. Rom.8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

10.3. By providences

10.3.1. I Cor.16:9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

10.4. By chastening

10.4.1. Heb.12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

11. God's "drawing" of sinners

11.1. God's desire for all to be saved

11.1.1. He died for all

11.1.1.1. I John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

11.1.1.2. I Tim.2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

11.1.2. All are called to repent

11.1.2.1. Acts 2:38 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

11.1.2.2. Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

11.1.3. He desires that all would repent

11.1.3.1. II Pet.3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [c]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

11.1.3.2. I Tim.2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

11.2. How God draws sinners

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

11.2.2. By display of grace

11.2.2.1. Ps.145:9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

11.2.2.2. Rom.2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

11.2.3. By manifestation of truth

11.2.3.1. Rom. 1:19-20 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,

11.2.4. By conviction of sin

11.2.4.1. John 16:8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

11.2.4.2. Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

11.2.5. By appeal to man's self-interest

11.2.5.1. Persuasion

11.2.5.1.1. Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this [l]perverse generation.”

11.2.5.1.2. Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

12. Total Depravity – Faith First or Second?

12.1. “We do not think that faith precedes and causes new birth. Faith is the evidence that God has begotten us anew.” John Piper and Pastoral Staff, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism

12.2. “The Reformed view of predestination teaches that before a person can choose Christ…he must be born again… One does not first believe, then become reborn. A cardinal point of Reformed theology is the maxim, ‘Regeneration precedes faith.’” —R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God

13.3. Contrary Witness of Scripture

13.3.1. Proverbs 1:28-30—“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.

13.3.2. Romans 1:20-21—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, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

13.4. What Comes First? Regeneration or Faith?

13.4.1. “The matter may be presented in this simple thesis: either God is the first cause of salvation by His sovereign will, or man is the first cause in salvation by his sovereign will. Either regeneration precedes faith or faith precedes regeneration. Both systems cannot be correct.” (Kenneth Talbot & W. Gary Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism & Arminianism, 1990, p.4)

13.4.2. 1 John 5:1—Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

13.4.3. John 1:12-13—”As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born… of God.”

13.4.4. John 6:40 —“Every one who…believeth on him, may have everlasting life.”

13.4.5. R. C. Sproul, emphasizing that faith and repentance are impossible prior to regeneration: "I don't see why an Arminian...even bothers to preach the gospel. He must have a lot more confidence in the power of the gospel than I have, because I don't believe that the power of the gospel ever will bring to repentance the person who is not born again!" (R. C. Sproul, Interact Tapes: Romans #48 [Rom.9:14-16])

13.5. The answer of Scripture: The Word of God comes "in power," enabling the hearer to believe and be saved:

13.5.1. Romans 1:16—For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

13.5.2. I Thessalonians 1:5—For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance...

13.5.3. Romans 10:17—So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

13.6. Does Anyone Seek God? (Rom.3:9-12) “…if the words in Romans 3 [vv.10-12] mean anything, not one unregenerate person has ever sought after God—not one.” —Douglas Wilson, in Back to Basics: Rediscovering the Richness of the Reformed Faith, David G. Hagopian, Ed. 26

13.6.1. Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

13.6.2. Contrary Witness of Scripture

13.6.2.1. Deuteronomy 4:29—If…you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart

13.6.2.2. 2 Chronicles 15:2 —If ye seek him, he will be found of you

13.6.2.3. Jeremiah 29:13—You shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart

13.6.2.4. Hebrews 11:6—[God] is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him

13.6.2.5. Acts 17:11-12—These [the Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed…

13.6.3. Athenian Unknown God

13.6.3.1. Wikipedia - in addition to the twelve main gods and the innumerable lesser deities, ancient Greeks worshipped a deity they called "Agnostos Theos"; that is: "Unknown God". In Athens, there was a temple specifically dedicated to that god and very often Athenians would swear "in the name of the Unknown God"

13.6.3.2. Every Society in history has had gods of some kind

13.6.3.3. Mankind is a God seeking creation

13.6.3.3.1. This appears to be an entirely natural urge like eating or sex.

14. Challenges to Unconditional Election

14.1. “Indeed, all [non-Calvinist] answers must at some point be ‘because I was better than those who did not believe.’…That is the vast difference between man’s religions and the Christian faith: One is focused upon man and his abilities (synergism); one upon God and His (monergism).” —James White, Debating Calvinism: five points, two views, 100, 66

14.2. “Of course salvation is all of God. But to be able to accept it by faith or reject it no more gives any credit to the believer than accepting a gift of a million dollars gives the recipient credit for earning the money.” —Dave Hunt, Debating Calvinism: five points, two views,

14.3. Contrary Witness of Scripture

14.3.1. Huh? Is “faith” a “good work” or a “merit”?

14.3.1.1. Romans 3:27/4:4-5, 16 — Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith… Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness… Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace…

14.3.1.2. Eph.2:8-9— “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

14.3.2. God responds to man’s choices

14.3.2.1. “How could a sovereign Deity who has foreordained all things from all eternity, have his decrees changed by the wiles of man, who is a creature of God and is dependent upon Him for his own existence?” —Kenneth Talbot & W. Gary Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism & Arminianism, 1990

14.3.2.2. Genesis 4:6-7—So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

14.3.2.3. Psalm 18:25 —“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful”

14.3.2.4. Matthew 5:7 —“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”

14.3.2.5. Romans 10:9 —“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

14.3.3. Election as Corporate, not Individual

14.3.3.1. Ephesians 1:1, 4 —Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him…

14.3.3.2. Ephesians 5:26-27—“…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

14.3.3.3. Olive tree & branches [Israel]

14.3.3.3.1. Rom.11:16-23 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, [a] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

14.3.3.4. Christ and disciples [New Israel]

14.3.3.4.1. John 15:5-6 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

15.Limited Atonement

15.1. Jesus died for those whom He “loves”

15.1.1. ”By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are…foreordained to everlasting death…to the praise of His glorious justice.” Edwin H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism

15.1.2. “God is not at all that loving toward [those] not elected unto salvation…. It would have been more loving of God not to have allowed them to be born.” R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God

15.1.3. 1 John 3:16—“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us…”

15.1.4. 1 John 4:9-10—“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 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.”

15.2. Christ died for “sinners”

15.2.1. Luke 5:32—“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

15.3. He died for “all men”

15.3.1. “As a reformed Christian, the writer believes that counselors must not tell any unsaved counselee that Christ died for him…No man knows except Christ himself who are his elect for whom he died.” Jay E. Adams, Competent to Counsel

15.3.2. Isaiah 53:6— All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

15.3.3. Romans 5:18—“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

15.4. His death was for the sins of “the whole world”

15.4.1. John 1:29—“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

15.4.2. John 3:17—“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

16.Irresistible Grace

16.1. The call of a sovereign can be rejected:

16.1.1. Isaiah 65:12/66:3-4—“Therefore I will number you for the sword, And you shall all bow down to the slaughter; Because, when I called, you did not answer; When I spoke, you did not hear,
But did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.”

16.1.2. Matthew 23:37—“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

16.1.3. Acts 7:51—“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit.”

16.2. Repentance “granted” by God

16.2.1. Acts 11:18—“When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.’”

16.2.2. 2 Tim. 2:25—“…in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth… “

16.2.3. 2 Peter 3:9—“The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

16.3. . Faith a “gift” from God

16.3.1. Eph.2:8-9—“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

16.3.2. Phil.1:29—“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

16.4. A true “gift” is not imposed upon unwilling recipients

16.4.1. John 1:11—“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”

16.4.2. John 5:43—“I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me…”

16.4.3. John 12:48—“He who rejects Me…”

16.5. Jesus marveled at the faith of some, and the lack of faith of others. Why?

16.5.1. Matthew 8:10—“When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

16.5.2. Mark 6:6—“And He marveled because of their unbelief.”

16.6. Why are people held responsible for their lack of faith?

16.6.1. Psalm 78:21-22—“Therefore the LORD heard this and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation.”

16.6.2. Mark 16:14—“Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”

16.7. Man does resist God

16.7.1. God draws animals irresistibly, which is a major difference between men and beasts

16.7.1.1. Jer.8:7 “Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.

17.Perseverance of the Saints

17.1. Salvation is “in Christ”

17.1.1. I John 5:11-12—“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

17.1.2. 1 John 2:24—“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”

17.1.3. John 15:6—“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

17.2. Continuing in the faith is not inevitable

17.2.1. Romans 11:22—“Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”

17.2.2. Acts 11:23—“When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”

17.3. It is possible to “believe for a while” and then “fall away”

17.3.1. Galatians 5:4—“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

17.3.2. 1 Timothy 4:1—“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

17.3.3. I Corinthians 9:26-27—“Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

17.4. There is a warfare to fight, and the world and the devil to overcome

17.4.1. 1 Peter 5:8-9—“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist…”

17.4.2. James 4:7—“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

17.4.3. Ephesians 6:13—“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”