I CAME INTO THE WAY believing in the typical “freewill” thing offered in most evangelical churches.
Imagine my surprise upon discovering verses in the Bible saying strange and puzzling things like “it is not of him that willeth”… or “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”… or “God locks up all together in stubbornness.” … or “God gave it to them to turn against Him.” … etc.
One verse of scripture after another revealed to me, that the writers of the Bible were not “freewill evangelicals” like I was–and all my friends were. No freewill evangelical would use such language. And in fact, all the sermons I heard in my nearly 20 years of going to church strangely avoided any and all such passages of Holy Writ. But why? I’m convinced now that those preachers were gutless and deceived themselves.
They avoided those verses BECAUSE it did not fit into their worldview.
They needed a “freewill” teaching because it was just too hard to suggest that the punishment of the wicked (eternal) punishment was all God’s doing — instead let’s blame man’s ultimate fate on man’s freewill decision.
Neat huh? A clean way to scapegoat the poor sucker for choosing his own endless fate.
NO ONE CAN READ the story of Jonah and come away thinking the “freewill” teaching amounts to much. Jonah did not go to Nineveh of his own “freewill”. God had to “coax” him along — with a GREAT STORM, A GREAT FISH, BEING TOSSED OVERBOARD, SITTING IN THE BELLY OF THE GREAT FISH FOR 3 DAYS, — and the freewiller says “God will never ‘force” you to do anything. HA.
God FORCED ALL THOSE THINGS onto Jonah, and the boy finally went to Nineveh and preached.
Again, the freewiller suggests God will not “force” himself or His will on anyone. Well, God forced His will on Christ… remember Christ said “Not my will be done, but thine.” Sounds like someone got His way and someone else did not.
Regarding the battle of the wills, “God wills to save all mankind”. So says Paul in his letter to Timothy. I’m glad God gets His will.
What God wants God gets. “S/he does ALL of s/his GOOD pleasure.” (but not necessarily ALL of his EVIL pleasure…Isaiah 45:7) That is the “will of God” in a nutshell.