Written by Ben Russell
God’s Nature and His Will for Humanity
God’s decreed will determines what happens with every circumstance in foundation. Nobody can resist His decreed will or desires (Daniel 4:35; Romans 9:19-20). Deep study of scripture confirms that unbelievers, specifically the non-elect, are not Christians because God’s unique and limited election may not apply to them. Those God has elected will only reap His goodness of salvation because His Words are directly for them (Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12; Luke 8:10).
To avoid misunderstanding, His decreed will ordains everything, including evil (Lamentations 3:38; Proverbs 16:4; Amos 3:6). God is not responsible for evil He ordains because of people’s free choices. If God is responsible for evil then it follows God commits sin. God can’t sin and is bound by His holy nature (2 Timothy 2:13).
Here is an example of God ordaining an evil action but still holding people accountable for evil. God planned and foreknew that Jesus would be betrayed (Acts 2:23). Jesus states “grief to the person who betrays Him” (Luke 22:22). Satan enters Judas who is the betrayer and tells Satan “do what you do quickly” (John 13:26-27). The result of Jesus betrayal was murder (Acts 13:28-29). Although Jesus has authority over His own life and nobody can take it (John 10:17-18), God is still angry with those who were involved in how He took His life (Psalm 2). The only way God could hold judgment against Judas and those who murdered Him according to His own standard (Exodus 20:13) would be that He planned the people would act freely (Acts 4:26-28). The concept of how God fulfills His decreed will threw His creation is a mystery, but this demonstrates God has planned sin, but does not commit sin Himself.
God’s decreed will may be distinct from God’s prescribed will. His prescribed will is holy and love (Daniel 2:22; 1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 4:16) and is resisted naturally by both believers and unbelievers (Ecclesiastes 7:20; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 1 John 3:9). The blessings of His prescribed will (Philippians 4:19; 2 Timothy 1:7) is only established or received by His elect or specifically His children (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:6). The elect must believe and accept His prescriptive will eventually (John 6:37-40; Romans 8:29-30). The non-elect and unbelievers understand God’s prescriptive will to some degree (Romans 1:18-20). His decreed will determines that even the elect resist His prescriptive will until He resurrects and has mercy on them (Romans 11:32; Ephesians 2:5). God’s prescribed will is observed naturally in the world (Mark 12:30-31) and God’s decreed will is not currently observed in any degree naturally (Hebrews 2:8).
Here are two specific scriptures in detail describing God’s decreed or irresistible will for every person in humanity regardless if they are a believer or unbeliever.
Ephesians 1:11 – “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
The term “counsel” in Greek uses the term “boulē” meaning to purposefully arrange all physical circumstances, which guarantees every scene of life works to His eternal purpose. The context of Paul is that God is pleased giving the knowledge of the mystery of His prescribed will and manages everything to come into harmony for Jesus authority in the fitting time (Ephesians 1:9-10).
John 3:35 – “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”
The term “hand” in Greek uses the term “xeír,” that means “the instrument used to accomplish a purpose.” The context of John is that he is debating with some of his disciples and Jews about purification (John 3:25-35).
Both, Paul and John eventually confirm everything that happens God plans and decrees. Neither Paul nor John limit the phrase “all things,” therefore, the phrase is universal and that everything that happens God has planned. Recall that the distinction between both of God’s wills is that His decreed will must be obeyed by unbelievers and believers while His prescriptive will is only obeyed by His elect or believers eventually.
God also has a will of hatred. God is angry with the wicked every day. He hates those who do evil and loves violence. (Psalm 5:5; 7:11; 11:5). He is angry with those who do not believe in the Son (John 3:36). God repays revenge with His anger (Romans 12:19). He doesn’t even hear the prayers of the wicked (Proverbs 15:8; 28:9). The Son will eventually destroy the unbelieving nations with His wrath (Revelation 19:15). The Son will lead believers to eternal life and damn the unbelievers to Hell prepared for Satan (Matthew 25:31-46). Hell was also prepared for unbelievers because their name was never in the Son’s Book of Life (Revelation 17:8). Here is a verse used to justify that believers can have their name removed from the Son’s Book of Life.
Revelation 3:5 – “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
This text is descriptive and not prescriptive. Descriptive text exposes the truth of a case while prescriptive text may expose a warning or inform what could happen in a specific case. Jesus is confirming that if the elect did not believe their name would not be in the Son’s Book of Life. Since the elect actually do believe their name has always been in the Son’s Book of Life. An example of a prescriptive text would be Proverbs 15:1 which confirms if you respond gently you won’t stir anger.
Source for Greek: HELPS Word-Studies. 1012, 5495
The field of ontology studies what exists and the theory of existence. It examines what things are made up of. It studies the heights, depths, weights, shapes, modes, boundaries, relations, forms, classes, functions, substances, positions, synonyms, antonyms, purposes, and every concept of everything that exists and does not exists. These are kinds of things that exists in various ways ranging from very specific to very broad types of classification. What actually does exists or does not exists depends on what happens to be. What is it to be or exist? Is existence a property that something has? Does nothingness itself exist in some sense? Ontology generally studies principles of being, general features that are true of all things whatsoever.
The triune God of the Bible is the foundation of this field which everything comes from because God has created everything (John 1:3; Revelation 4:11). He is a being with a personal identity that does not change (Exodus 3:14; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). He is a being that does not lie (Titus 1:2). He is the standard of truth, life, and the way to salvation (John 1:14; 14:6) Paul even makes a reference to ontology confirming that in Him we have our being (Acts 17:28).
In order for knowledge claims to be true it requires ontology because what is actually known depends on what actually exists and does not exists. Epistemology is also necessary for knowledge claims to be true because what is known depends on what knowledge actually is. The Greek word “gnōsis” defines what “knowledge” actually is which means to connect a theory to application. This is a synonym for justified and true belief in epistemology. Both of these fields are necessary for the other and both are rooted or axiomatic in the triune God.
It’s very important for Christians to understand and study God’s nature, will, and ontology since they should have justified theology (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Christians can’t love God without first knowing who God is and what He is made of. The truth value of a believer’s theology will be determined by their knowledge of God’s will and nature because all knowledge is rooted or axiomatic in Him (Proverbs 1:7; Job 21:22; Isaiah 40:14; Colossians 2:3; 1 John 3:20). God must have infinite knowledge or a truth that is unknown could contradict what He proclaims to know. If God did not have infinite knowledge His Word could be false.
Source for Greek: HELPS Word-Studies. 1108
The Trinity of God
God is three distinct persons (diversity) in one being (unity). God is a unity distinct as the people of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are not three people in one person or three beings in one being but three distinct people in one being or unity. If the trinity was defined as three people in one person or three beings in one being it would be based on the logical fallacy of equivocation. Equivocation occurs when the definition of a word changes in a middle of a proposition or argument. The Father, Son, and Spirit are not separate. They are distinct individuals with distinct operations in ministry. For example, the Son died in a natural human body. The Spirit and Father did not die in a natural human body.
Scripture confirms the Father is God: Matthew 6:8; John 4:23, 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2
Scripture confirms the Son is God: Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; 8:58; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9
Scripture confirms the Holy Spirit is God: Acts 5:3-4, 13:2; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 12:11; Galatians 4:6
The Son has a distinct will from the Father but He only does what the Father wills (John 5:30; 6:38). The Son has always been united in authority with the Father before having a human body (Philippians 2:6). The Father was greater in authority than the Son while He was limited in the flesh until He was resurrected and went back to the Father (John 14:28; 1 Peter 3:22; Hebrews 2:7). The Son will eternally submit to the Father regardless of their equal authority (1 Corinthians 15:27-28). The Father judges nobody and has given the Son all authority to judge. The Son grants believers authority to judge in righteousness (John 5:22; 7:24).
The Spirit teaches knowledge of the Son to believers and submits to the Son (John 14:26; 16:13-14). The Spirit submits to the Father as well (John 15:26) and knows the Father’s thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). The Spirit confirms eternal salvation for the elect and brings degrees of glory to believers over time (Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Understanding the relationship between the three people of God is a unique mystery.
Some Christians believe God lacks knowledge. The scriptures used to justify are misunderstood and lead into anthropomorphism which is simply God describing Himself with reification or personification based attributes on human and naturalistic terms so His people can understand what God is confirming. A few will be addressed here.
Hebrews 8:12 – For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
The context of Hebrews 8 is about God making a new covenant with His people of Israeli (Hebrews 8:7-13). God is simply stating that He will no longer hold condemnation against them and not necessarily forgetting.
Genesis 6:6 – And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
The context of Genesis 6 is that people have become active in sin and God has limited the years of life for humanity. This is also around the time God told Noah who was a just man to build an ark preparing for man’s judgment (Genesis 6:5-22). God is simply stating He is emotionally grieved with how sinful people have become.
Exodus 32:14 – And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
The context of Exodus 32 regards the people of Israeli worshiping a golden statue of a cow and Moses explaining to God why He should not destroy His people (Exodus 32:1-13). God is expressing emotions or feelings of anger towards His people for worshiping an idol. He didn’t plan to actually destroy Israeli.
If these specific scriptures are taken that God literally remembers, forgets, or repents then there are scriptures that are in contradiction with these verses because God states He does not change His mind and does what He proclaims He will do.
Numbers 23:19 – God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
1 Samuel 15:29 – And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
Psalm 110:4 – The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Although the contexts of the scriptures above are irrelevant to each other, they do not limit God’s nature, wills, or thoughts to specific circumstances. Recall everything that occurs God plans and His decreed will is universal. Every scripture must be consistent with each other (Proverbs 30:5; 2 Samuel 22:31) or God is a liar leading to the reductio ad absurdum He can’t be trusted.
Free Will and Unbelieving
The phrase “free will” is not biblically justified. People make free choices as in making decisions bound by their human nature. People do not fly because they do not have wings. People have the nature of being human, hence they are bound by their nature or personality. Here are scriptures that demonstrate that people are bound by human traits in their thinking and actions: Jeremiah 10:23; 13:23; Proverbs 16:1; 9; 19:21; 20:24; Matthew 7:18; John 6:44: 64-65; 8:34; 12:39-40; Romans 8:7-8; 1 Peter 2:8.
Here are some of these passages examined in depth for a clearer understanding of man’s lack of ability to believe.
John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
The term “whosoever” in Greek uses “pás” meaning each part(s) of a totality. The term “whosoever” is a false rendering since the term refers to anybody without exception. “Pás” simply means every part within a kind. Although scripture confirms every human with the exception of Jesus has sinned (Romans 3:23; 1 John 3:5) the term “whosoever” is a false rendering. The term “servant” uses “doúlos” meaning a bond-slave without any ownership rights of their own. Those who perform sin are controlled by it.
Romans 8:7 – Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
In this passage the term “mind” in Greek uses “phrónēma” meaning an inner perspective which determines outward behavior. The term “subject” uses “hypotássō” meaning to place under submission. This confirms that the mind or thoughts of the non-Christian cannot freely be obedient to God’s law or the law of Moses.
1 Peter 2:8 – 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.
The term “offence” in Greek uses “skándalon” meaning the trigger of a trap or an offense which puts a negative cause-and-relationship into motion (figuratively). This concludes that those who are disobedient to scripture were predetermined to do so beforehand. This verse demonstrates God’s judgment for the non-elect.
Source for Greek: HELPS Word-Studies. 1401, 3956, 4625, 5293, 5427
The Nature of Unbelievers
Unbelievers are spiritually dead (Romans 8:6; Ephesians 2:1-2). The term “dead” in Greek uses the term “nekrós” meaning to be unresponsive to life-giving opportunities or inoperative to the things of God. Unbelievers don’t understand anything of God (Romans 3:11; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 21; 2:14). Although unbelievers do make choices in the natural world, they can’t freely choose to believe because the spiritually dead do not make spiritual choices.
“Sin” in Greek is “hamartía” meaning to miss the mark or not being originated by God. Sin is inherited by humans at birth which came through Adam originally (Genesis 3; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3). Sin has interfered with the reasoning and will of humanity (Romans 1:21; Philippians 2:21).
Sin also extends to the human heart and is corrupted (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23) which interferes with their ability to reason properly about God. God must remove the heart of unbelievers so they can believe (Ezekiel 36:26; Romans 10:10). The term “heart” in Greek is “kardía” meaning the affective center of a person’s being with the capacity of moral preference.
Source for Greek: HELPS Word-Studies. 266, 2588, 3498
There are many scriptures that seemingly demonstrate that God loves every person without exception and gives them the free ability to choose to believe in Jesus. A closer examination of scripture will validate the truth value of God’s decreed will for unbelievers and believers, along with God’s prescriptive will for believers. Only a few will be addressed here.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Just like the verse from John 8:34 the term “whosoever” is rendered and is false, but the original Greek also uses the term “pás” recall to mean each part(s) of a totality. The following term is “ho” which is a direct article and refers to specific people or specific things. The term “believeth” uses the term “pisteúō” meaning to believe in conjunction with faith. The verse confirms those that have faith will believe and shall be saved. The verse refers to specific people and not people in general.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Peter is confirming God is patient towards “us” referencing to the church. This recalls back to 2 Peter 1:1 and even earlier to 1 Peter 1:1-2 with his letters being written to Christians in different locations of the natural world. God is confirming He desires “all” of His elect to come to repentance.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
In the beginning of this chapter Timothy confirms prayer should be necessary for kings and those in authority (verses 1 and 2). Timothy is referring to authorities, not necessarily every person without exception. Recalling from the first chapter Timothy confirms that there is sinful activity within his location such as false teaching (1:3-7). If the term “all” is used to mean every person without exception then Timothy is contradicting John when he confirms not to pray for every person (1 John 5:16).
Source for Greek: HELPS Word-Studies. 3588, 4100
Misunderstood and Equivocated Words
Some Christians confirm that the terms “all” and “world” in scripture mean everybody or everything without exception such as some of the previous scriptures. This leads to logical fallacies of equivocation. After complete examination of scripture these terms are never used universally or include everybody and everything without exception unless the scripture is describing God’s decreed will or ownership.
Examples of the term “all” with God’s decreed or irresistible will.
Psalm 103:19 – The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all
Isaiah 46:10 – Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Matthew 28:18 – And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Luke 10:22 – All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
Romans 11:36 – For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
These passages simply confirm God’s authority will stand and everything that takes places He ordains. No authority, party, organization, or title can do anything without His final approval. Job even makes it clear no purpose of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
Examples with “all” in God’s prescriptive will that applies to Christians only.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 15:33 – Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Ephesians 4:6 – One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Colossians 3:11 – Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
James 1:5 – If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
If these verses applied to every person without exception then everybody would have the Holy Spirit, but not everybody has the Holy Spirit because believers know the truth and know what’s right (Proverbs 28:5; 1 John 2:20). This would also mean God gives wisdom that reasons in foolishness because that’s what unbelievers do (1 Corinthians 3:19-20) but God is the source of wisdom and infinite in understanding (Proverbs 2:6; Isaiah 40:28). Unbelievers should have understanding of God but they can’t accept spiritual things because spiritual things are foolish to them (1 Corinthians 2:14). God however, leads unbelievers to reprobate minds (Romans 1:28).
Examples with “all” in activity of humans.
Joshua 8:3 – So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
Joel 2:1 – Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
Daniel 3:7 – Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Mark 1:5 – And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
Acts 13:24 – When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
The problem is that the term “all” being used describing every person without exception is self-refuting. This would mean every person who ever lived has been to the Jordan River, worshiped a golden statue, heard the preaching of John, and has been to war because of the context of the previous passages, including unborn babies.
Scriptures with the term “world”
Isaiah 13:11 – And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Luke 2:1 – And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
John 6:33 – For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
John 7:7 – The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
John 14:19 – Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
John 17:9 – I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
2 Peter 3:6 – By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
1 Corinthians 11:32 – But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
2 Corinthians 4:4 – In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
1 John 5:19 – And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
These specific scriptures with the term “world” in context limit to groups of people such as Babylonians, Romans, unbelievers, or Christians. Scripture would be self-refuting if “world” is used to mean everybody without exception. Everyone would be Roman and Babylonian but not everybody is Roman or Babylonian such as Adam and Eve (Genesis 5:2). Everybody would receive spiritual life, but there are people who do not have spiritual life (1 John 5:12). Jesus would be contradicting Himself when He confirms He is not praying for everyone but only people the Father has given to the Son. Christians would hate God and not experience Him, but believers do love and have experience with Him (John 6:57; 1 John 2:3). Everybody would of been in Noah’s flood and everyone would be wicked, but Christians are declared righteous (Romans 4:25). Believers would be condemned but God holds no condemnation for His children (Romans 8:1). Believers would have another lord but people can only have one lord or master (Luke 16:13). The “world” is only used universally if scripture is describing God’s ownership of the “world” (Job 41:11; Psalm 89:11; Acts 17:24).
Only Believers Have Faith
Some Christians confirm every person without exception has a measure of faith, Romans 12:3 used to justify. In this verse, Paul is confirming those around him have been given a measure of grace and faith. The context of those around him is believers (verse 1) and not every person without exception. As stated in 2 Thessalonians 3:2 not every person has faith, hence not everyone can believe.
Another objection is that everybody can receive faith through hearing the scripture (Romans 10:17), but recall from previous scriptures that unbelievers are spiritually dead in sin. They can’t spiritually hear anything. Unbelievers even naturally hear the scriptures and don’t believe because they weren’t united with faith. God has even declared they will never receive rest (Hebrews 4:2-3).
Believers only receive faith which declares them as God’s children (Galatians 3:2; 5; 26). Scripture confirms Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith in Hebrews 12:2. The term “author” in Greek is “arxēgós” meaning leader or founder. The term “finisher” in Greek is “teleiōtēs” meaning to bring a process to its finish. The term “our” is a direct article just like in John 3:16. In this verse believers are described.
Jesus even confirms believers are the ones who receive faith and not necessarily unbelievers. He says in Matthew 13:9 “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” The term “Who” is a direct article which refers to believers again. The term “hear” in Greek uses the term “akoúō” meaning to hear God’s voice, which is part of Him birthing faith within (figuratively). Paul makes it clear that His elect are to hear and understand, not the unelected or unbelievers (Romans 11:7-10). Recall that unbelievers are dead in sin and can’t hear anything. God brings the spiritually dead to life so they believe (Colossians 2:13).
Source for Greek: HELPS Word studies. 191, 747, 3588, 5051
Commandments and Disobedience
Many scriptures confirm unbelievers need to believe and change their mind about their rejection of the Son (Matthew 3:2; Luke 13:3; John 8:24; Acts 3:19; 17:30). Although God commands an action to be performed, the ability to do so is assumed. God has given commandments which can’t be obeyed (Ezekiel 20:25). Here is an example.
Jesus commanded to be perfect as the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). The term “perfect” in Greek is “teleios” meaning to develop the stages of sanctification by God’s grace which is accomplished by obeying His inworkings of faith. The human is made of a body, soul, and spirit (Romans 8:23; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Hebrews 4:12). Each of these are not fully sanctified (Romans 8:16-17; 12:2; Galatians 5:19-21).
Everything in a believer is made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). The term “new” in Greek is “kainós” meaning fresh in development or opportunity. A person has the ability to serve God as they are born again (Hebrews 13:20-21). Each part of the believer will be perfected in Heaven (Hebrews 12:22-23; Philippians 3:20-21). This is even confirmed in a slippery slope fashion (James 1:2-4). To clarify the commandment of Jesus to be “perfect” is to be sanctified fully in each part. No believer who is currently alive in the natural flesh is sanctified in full. As stated previously commanding assumes ability.
Source for Greek: HELPS Word-studies. 2537, 5046
The Church and Spiritual Israeli
The reason unbelievers are predestined for damnation is so believers can understand judgment and wrath as stated in Romans 9:22-23. Some Christians state this passage is about the nation of Israeli and references to their punishment for disobedience such as in the Old Testament (Amos 3:14;. Hosea 13:9). This passage is actually about individual people because God declares that His children are the nation of Israeli spiritually and not necessarily the people within the geographical location of Israeli. Paul makes this distinction specifically in Romans 9:4-8. This avoids a logical fallacy of equivocation since Israeli is being defined either as the church or the people of the nation itself. Paul is clear that believers are Abraham’s children and are joined with Israeli (Galatians 7-9; 29; Ephesians 3:6). This explains why Paul states all of Israeli shall be saved (Romans 11:26). The majority of Romans chapter nine describes literal people such as Rebekah, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Moses, and Pharaoh (verses 9-17).
The church and Israeli are both paralleled in the Old and New Testaments. They are God’s saints (Deuteronomy 33:3; Romans 1:7), elect (Deuteronomy 7:6; Titus 1:1), beloved (Deuteronomy 4:37; Colossians 3:12), called (Isaiah 41:9; 1 Corinthians 1:2), church (Psalm 89:5; Ephesians 1:1), sheep (Psalm 77:20; Luke 12:32), holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9), and people of inheritance (Deuteronomy 4:20; Ephesians 1:18). God also walks among them (Leviticus 26:12; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18) and Christ is married to them (Isaiah 54:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2). Recall spiritual Israeli is irrelevant to the people who are in the nation of Israeli.
(1) Hebrews and Eternal Security
Some Christians believe that Christians can freely choose to no longer believe any time they desire. Hebrews is a document often used to justify. Here are some of the scriptures in Hebrews explained otherwise.
Hebrews 2:1-3 – Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
The term “neglect” in Greek is “ameléō” meaning disregard or viewing something as being without significance. This passage is about those who have naturally heard the truth but have rejected it. It’s a warning for possible hypocrites for stating to receive a justified reward while being disobedient.
Hebrews 4:11 – Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The example of disobedience being referred to are the people within Israeli. They had unbelief that ceased them from going into the Promised Land (3:16-19). The author is using “the rest” God promised to the Israelites as a representation of the better rest of salvation (4:8). In the previous passages the author warns Israeli to not harden their heart several times (3:7; 15: 4:7). The hearts of the people hardened every time they didn’t trust God in their journey to the Promised Land. The miracles God did for them with unbelief continued to harden their hearts to the degree they couldn’t trust God to enter His rest. The author is confirming that if they do not believe their hearts will eventually become too hard and will not be able to enter God’s rest of salvation just as the promise the Israelites couldn’t receive.
Hebrews 6:4-6 – For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The experiences of Judas accounted by Mark and the story of Simon from Acts chapter 8 specifically will be used to explain this passage.
Jesus chooses who His twelve disciples will be and Judas Iscariot was one of them. Jesus sends them out to preach, heal sickness, and cast out demons which was their first assignment (Mark 3:13-19; 6:12-13). There are no scripture references that Judas was not performing these actions. His ability to cast out demons could not have been supported by Satan and Jesus exposes the absurdity of it (Mark 3:20-27).
Its probabilistic, but not necessarily certain from scripture that the other disciples would of noticed something “unusual” about Judas, but Jesus confirms that one of the twelve would betray Him and nobody expected Judas (John 13:21-30). Since Judas is doing miracles, was he ever saved? If so, when did he lose his salvation? If he was a believer why did Jesus call him “a devil” and “the son of perdition” (John 6:70; 17:12)? If he was not saved he could be an example of a person described in Hebrews 6.
As for the story of Simon, he was a man who practiced sorcery in a city called Samaria. People began to believe through the preaching of Philip. Luke states that Simon also believed and was baptized. He was amazed by miracles performed and joined Philip in ministry. Luke confirms that Peter and John has come to Samaria. They lay hands on believers and received the Spirit (Acts 8:9; 12-13; 17).
Simon tries to purchase the ability to lay hands on people so they can receive the Spirit. Peter rebukes his request and tells him you have no portion in this circumstance because your heart is not right in God’s sight (Acts 8:18; 20; 21). Since this is the case, it’s extremely probable that Simon is not saved. Did Simon however, actually believe before this time such as in verse 13? If so, he lost his salvation very fast since there is only 9 verses apart. If Simon was not saved he may describe the example of hypocrisy in Hebrews 6.
To continue Jesus states that many will say to Him that we casted out demons and did miracles in your name and He will tell them He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23).
If Judas, Simon, and these people Jesus speaks of are not examples of Hebrews 6:4-6 then how are their experiences spiritually explained? This passage is a warning just like in 4:11. The hypocrites have heard the truth often with an inappropriate response. If they continue eventually it will be impossible for them to change their mind since their hearts will be too hardened.
Source for Greek: HELPS Word Studies. 272
(1) Footnote: http://www.dtl.org/calvinism/article/eternal.htm
Questions for Arminians
Why is anybody going to Hell if Jesus took every sin of every individual who has ever lived or will live in the natural world? The reason could not be from unbelief because that is a sin which was taken on the cross as well.
How is the triune God not inconstant in His works of the creation if He desires the salvation of every person without exception if they freely believe? The Father has not elected limited individuals, the Son’s blood applies to every individual, and the Spirit is within limited individuals. The operations of the Father, Son, and Spirit are not in harmony or consistent.
If every individual without exception has the free ability to choose to believe in the Son and God does not force anybody to believe, what is the difference between the believer and the unbeliever? If it’s the belief of the believer and unbelief of the unbeliever then it follows salvation depends on the individual and not God alone.
Where does scripture confirm that every individual without exception are born Jesus’s sheep or can become a sheep? Jesus refers believers as His sheep (John 10:14-16; 27) and confirms not everybody is His sheep (John 10:26).
If every individual has been given a measure or degree of faith but go to Hell, where is the perfection or the full maturity of their faith in their eternal suffering (Revelation 20:10; 14-15)?
Why is praying for the salvation of other people not meaningless if God is doing everything in His power, will, and love to save everybody and draws everybody but does not force individuals to accept His salvation? God won’t do nothing more than what He is already doing to redeem everyone.
How can an unbeliever make a spiritual choice to believe in the Son if they are dead in sins and trespasses?
If God has repented or has changed His mind about anything, how can Christians trust His promise of salvation? God has sworn so Christians can have confidence and hope otherwise (Hebrews 6:17-20).
How can God know anything if He does not know everything? Recall that the epistemology of Christianity confirms that knowledge by definition is justified, true belief. Everything must be known or a truth that is unknown could contradict what is proclaimed to be known.
If the epistemology of Christianity does not confirm that knowledge is justified, true belief or connecting theory to application what is knowledge and how is its definition justified according to the scriptures?
Questions and Answers to Calvinism
Question: If God has only elected limited individuals to be saved and they will foundationally be saved, why preach or minister to anybody?
Answer: Preaching is an example to the way God redeems and resurrections the spiritually dead. God works in the believer to perform His prescriptive and decreed will (Philippians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 12:6). The circumstance of preaching is not that God is going to redeem who He wants regardless of what believers do or believers preach and God might save. God operates in the believer to redeem and bless others. These are not necessarily two separate options which would be based on the logical fallacy called bifurcation. Bifurcation occurs when confirming there are only two options available when there could be three or more options. God simply ordains the means from the ends.
Question: If God is in absolute control of everything without exception and everybody fulfills His decreed will and purposes why is God not responsible for every event or action that happens, including evil?
Answer: God has created everybody with the free ability to make decisions based on their human nature and will. Recall that God plans that everybody would act freely and this is the only way God can hold condemnation against anybody for their sin. This process is a mystery. Recall previously that God gave Jesus authority over His own life but planned His betrayal. God still holds condemnation against Judas who betrayed Him and those who planned to murder Him. God’s only justification for holding condemnation against Judas, Satan, and others is He planned they would act freely.
Christians, are not allowed to sin simply because He decrees everything. Christians who sin freely brings shame to the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29) regardless of the justification of Jesus they have obtained (Acts 13:39). Personal justification of believers will not come until the Son returns (Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Question: If terms such as “world” and “all” are not universal in context of people’s salvation, why must promises or blessings of every document of the New Testament apply to every Christian without exception?
Answer: Jesus confirms that believers are “one” in being or unity just as He is with the Father (John 17:20-23). Paul also confirms that believers are “one” in unity as well (Galatians 3:28). Paul and Peter both confirm God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:10-11). Jesus even called His disciples friends and no longer servants (John 15:15). Scripture demonstrates that there is no traits or properties individuals have that make them more meaningful than anybody else. Also from another perspective, believers have absolutely no personal value to God. Believers are to deny themselves and pick up their cross. Believers must decrease and God must increase in them (John 3:30; Matthew 10:37; 16:24).
Every blessing or promise confirmed in every letter of scripture applies to every believer without exception because there are no distinctions between their values to God’s prescribed will. Since God has confirmed the values of the church individuality and in unity, the logical fallacy of special pleading has been avoided. Special pleading occurs when a rule applies to every circumstance except if the circumstance has a specific property that excludes its application. Context of scripture demonstrates how words such as “world” and “all” are applied regardless of people, God, or other things.
In closure, it’s very important to recall back to understand God’s wills for humanity because the truth value of a believer’s theology is determined by their knowledge of God and His being. Although His decreed will governs universally, His prescriptive will foundationally must prevail with His elect and believers(Revelation 21; 22). It’s His work anybody believes (John 6:29) and has nothing to do foundationally with the will of the person (John 1:12-13). The gifts of grace and faith are not given because of any value in a person (Ephesians 2:8-9) and the gift of a changed mind is granted to know the truth (2 Timothy 2:25) which His elect can’t resist (John 10:27-29). Understanding God’s unique will for His children should cause Christians to be completely delighted in Him and realize that the only separation between a believer and unbeliever is His mysterious but limited election and kindness.