Faith, the Fundamental Flaw in the Fable of Free Will Theology.
There is a fundamental flaw in the thinking of every “free will” proponent, whether they call themselves Arminians, or “Biblicists” or “Traditionalists” (whatever THAT means) who thinks that fallen, sinful man who is dead in trespasses and sins, and is described in the Bible as being “without strength”, an enemy of God, whose heart is deceitful above all things, has turned to his own way, and of whom God says:
“There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
This fundamental flaw in "free will" thinking is that sinful man has the ability to choose to repent and believe the gospel by an exercise of his own will.
God does exhort and command men to repent and believe, and the creature SHOULD repent of his sins and believe God.
But if left to himself to follow his own nature, desires and inclinations, he wills neither to repent nor believe.
This refusal only reveals his guilt and his inability to do the things his Creator commands.
“By the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7)
The Lord Jesus told us: “without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
The fundamental question to ask ourselves is this. WHY do some people have faith (believe) and others do not?
Does the Bible give us the answers to this question? Yes, it does. Several times over.
It’s just that many people have either never seen the answers or they just don’t believe what the Book says about it and they try to come up with some means of twisting the Scriptures to “explain” them away.
Let’s take a look at what God says about these things.
The reason true Christians believe the gospel is because God Himself gives us the faith to believe the gospel.
WHY DO SOME BELIEVE?
"Looking unto Jesus THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH" - Hebrews 12:2.
Who authored our faith? JESUS did. That is why in the King James Bible it speaks so many times about how we are justified "by THE FAITH OF CHRIST".
If we are a true Christian, born of God and not of the will of the flesh, it is because HE caused it to happen (just like our first birth) and then gave us the faith to believe in what He had already done for us at the cross of Calvary.
That is why it is called "THE FAITH OF GOD'S ELECT" - Titus 1:1
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH."
The "every man" in the context is the "every man among you" or those who are already Christians. That is whom the apostle Paul was writing to.
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints....I thank God through Jesus Christ for YOU ALL, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Romans 1:7-8
Not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 "for all men have not faith”; and obviously there are many unbelievers.
"And to whom share he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them THAT BELIEVED NOT. So we see that they could not enter in BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF...but the word preached did not profit them, NOT BEING MIXED WITH FAITH in them that heard it...and they to whom it was first preached entered not in BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF." Hebrews 3:18-19; 4:2 and 6.
If you think you got this faith to believe all on your own, then you are guilty of the very thing Paul warns us against. You are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think.
Philippians 1:29 "For UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for his sake."
Did you get that? If you are among those who believe the gospel, it is because IT WAS GIVEN TO YOU TO BELIEVE ON HIM. Words can't be much clearer than this.
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD."
As a side note, some argue that the gift is not faith, and I actually agree with them on this. The word "that" in "and THAT not of yourselves" is the neuter singular demonstrative pronoun - τουτο (touto).
It cannot refer specifically to faith, which is feminine, nor to grace, which also is feminine, and certainly not to "ye are saved" because this is a verb (a masculine participle) and not a noun, and pronouns do not refer back to verbs but only to other nouns.
The word "that" refers back to the whole idea encompassed by the phrase "by grace ye are saved through faith" and THAT not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Saving faith is included in this grace that is given to God's elect people.
If we go through the book of Acts what we see are the facts presented about who Jesus is and that wicked hands crucified him, but that he rose from the dead.
There is no mention in the book of Acts about "choose Christ", BUT we do read God saying of the apostle Paul after he appeared to him on the road to Damascus when he was killing Christians - "he is A CHOSEN vessel unto me" (Acts 9:15) and "The God of our fathers HATH CHOSEN THEE, that thou shouldest know HIS WILL, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth."
Sometimes we see people ask "What shall we do?" or they are simply told to Repent and Believe, and be converted so that their sins may be blotted out.
But only those who are God's elect people have ears to hear this message and respond to it
For more on this see “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.
And that is exactly what we see in places like -
Acts 3:16 "yea, THE FAITH WHICH IS BY HIM (not just 'in' him, but 'by' Him) hath given him this perfect soundness"
Acts 18:27 "he helped them much WHICH HAD BELIEVED THROUGH GRACE." It wasn't just that they believed "in" grace, by it was 'through grace' that they believed.
Acts 14:27 "they rehearsed all that God had done among them, and how HE HAD OPENED THE DOOR OF FAITH unto the Gentiles." If God doesn't open the door, there is no faith.
Acts 16:14 "Lydia...WHOSE HEART THE LORD OPENED, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of by Paul"
Acts 15:9 "and put no difference between us (believing Jews) and them (believing Gentiles) PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH."
God purified their hearts by faith, not 'because of' faith. God did it and He did it by faith which He himself gave them. It was not "their free will choosing to believe"
Acts 13:48 "and AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED."
Their having been ordained to eternal life preceded their believing. The reason they believed is because God had ordained them to faith in the gospel.
So, IF "free will" theology is right, could you please explain for us what this verse means here in Acts 13:48?
Who ordained them to eternal life? Did this appointing to eternal life come before their believing the gospel or afterwards? Is there any mention at all about man's "free will" in the entire book of Acts at all?
WHY DO OTHERS NOT BELIEVE?
Jesus said to the Pharisees "BUT YE BELIEVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
Please notice it does not say "you are not My sheep because you do not believe", as if by believing they would become His sheep, but rather THE REASON THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT HIS SHEEP.
Jesus calls His people His sheep even before they hear His voice. John 10:16. "And other sheep I HAVE, which are not of this fold: them also I MUST BRING, AND THEY SHALL HEAR MY VOICE; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."
Another reason given in Scripture why SOME CANNOT BELIEVE is because God blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts.
John 12:37-40 "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him; That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE, BECAUSE that Esaias said again, HE (God) HATH BLINDED THEIR EYES, AND HARDENED THEIR HEART; THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE with their eyes, NOR UNDERSTAND with their heart, AND BE CONVERTED, and I should heal them."
Does God appoint certain men to unbelief? Yes, Scripture says that He does.
In 1 Peter 2:7-9 we read: "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to THEM WHICH STUMBLE AT THE WORD, BEING DISOBEDIENT; WHEREUNTO ALSO THEY WERE APPOINTED, BUT YE ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
GOD closes the eyes and ears of the non-elect
"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but THE ELECTION hath obtained it, AND THE REST WERE BLINDED. (According as it is written, GOD HATH GIVEN THEM THE SPIRIT OF SLUMBER, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE, AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR;) unto this day." Romans 11:7-8
A true Christian is NOT Elect because he believes the gospel. He believes BECAUSE he is Elect.
The "free willers" have everything backwards. Don't put the cart in front of the horse.
To see the whole article with more Scripture about how it is God who gives both repentance and faith click on “Why do some believe and others do not?” See -
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” Luke 8:8