"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « He either is morally able or he is not commanded? | Main | Preaching Christ from the Old Testament »

    "God's fulfills His Plan Without Ever Coercing Our Volition"? - Is this True?

    Someone recently declared to me that "God's fulfills his plan without ever coercing our volition" - But is it an axiom that in order for there to be true love, God must never violate our so-called "free will?"

    My response below:

    First and foremost, it must be said that such an idea is nowhere to be found in the Bible. But in order to demonstrate that this idea does not even fly in everyday life, I have a simple story for you: Two parents see their disobedient toddlers run out into oncoming traffic. The first parent runs up to the curb to tell their toddler to use their will to get out of the way of traffic, but does NOTHING more because he does not want to interfere with the toddler's will. The SECOND parent sees the cars coming and runs out into the street at the risk of their life to SCOOP up the child to MAKE CERTAIN their child is safe. WHICH parent loved their child ? We would all view this second parent as having GREAT love for their child and GET THIS, he was not concerned AT ALL about the child's will because the parent knew better than the child what was good for him . AND How much more does God love his own? God's love for us is not conditional as you believe. He does not first see how we use OUR WILL to determine whether he loves us, as you seem to believe. He loves us too much to leave us in our own hands. No, God saves us in spite of our rebellious will. The synergist's idea of love then is flawed since they believe God's love for us is CONDITIONAL. Rather, "we love God BECAUSE he first loved us." Jesus does for us what we are unable and unwilling to do for ourselves.

    Again, when you used the phrase "fulfilling God's plan without coercing their volition" -- this seems to be a "basic assumption" which is the driving force behind your theology. You guys have talked about this idea for so long that it has become axiomatic for you, even though it is nowhere found in the Bible. Your most precious doctrine, it seems, that drives everything else is, therefore, this false idea which is READ INTO the Scriptures. It is a logical deduction but, I would argue, is wrong.

    Martin Luther once said, “I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want ‘free-will’ to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground …; but because even were there no dangers … I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success … But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God” - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1957), 313-314.

    Posted by John on June 23, 2011 06:58 PM


    IN response to this a brother wrote to me and said, "At regeneration God gives a new heart with new desires, a new creation if you will, namely a love for God and neighbor that had not existed beforehand. In this we freely choose to follow Christ....even more, in fact it is our new hearts desire. After time in the chrysalis the butterfly breaks forth and flutters away, not because of coercion but because of a new desire that is accompanied with a new ability."

    To which I replied, "yes I agree with that. But prior to regeneration our will was hostile to it.. we did not want the new eyes or new heart ... so in a sense, as unregeneate people it was really against our will for God to regenerate us. We did not wa...nt Him to do that. But when God DOES grant us a new heart, we willingly believe because we see the beauty and excellence of Christ that we previously did not see. And we are thankful that God "violated" our will.

    Genesis 20 should put the question to rest. God told Abimelech, "I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her." Sounds a lot like God intervening in Man's free will.


    This is a very thought-provoking topic and one that my older youth ministry students have begun to think about and discuss in class. You make some really valid points and have given me a lot to think about—and I look forward to sharing your thoughts with my teen classes. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

    I attend a men's group, all the attendees, including the Pastor who hosts, is a Methodist (they are evangelical and conservative, but arminian). As a reformed believer I constantly make arguments like the above, as well as showing them scripture after scripture, yet they cling to "free will", they talk about all the people who are seeking answers and I show them scripture that no one seeks without the Holy Spirit regenerating first and they cling, cling, cling to "free will." I even use the argument that if our will is free then why do we pray for the lost, and ask God to change their free will. I am convinced that this is the plight of the world, both in the church and outside of it. I am convinced that every christian should read, "What Happened to the Gospel of Grace," by James Montgomery Boice.

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