Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bible Truth #289 - Jeremiah 32:36-39

36  “Now therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning this city of which you say, 'It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine and by pestilence.’
37  “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety.
38  “They shall be My people, and I will be their God;
39  and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.

In the context of the debate between the Calvinist and the Arminian, all I can see in this passage is the Sovereignty of God and nothing of the free will of man. In verse 36 God states what will happen to the city of Jerusalem regardless of what the inhabitants want, say, or do. Then in verse 37 God states what He will do to the children of Israel - He will gather them and bring them back to Jerusalem regardless of what they want, say, or do.

Then the “icing on the cake” is in verse 39: God will give them one heart (regardless of what they want, say, or do) that they may fear Him always. Does it sound like God ever gave the Jews a choice in the matter? If they made any choice whatsoever toward God it’s because God gave them a new heart (mind) to make them want to come back, to make them want to fear God.

This is mirrored in the New Testament when Jesus said in John 6:29 that it is God working in a man to make him believe... and Paul wrote in Philippians 2:13 that God is working in us to will (think, reason, believe) and to do (act, behave, live) according to HIS good pleasure, not ours. Once God changes the heart (mind) in one of His Elect, it is just as natural to come to Christ, to repent, and praise His Name as it was for him to hate the Light (John 3:20) before God regenerated his dead spirit. Man can do nothing against his nature, either before or after God quickened his spirit.

God is sovereign and He gave the Israelites one heart and one way regardless of what they did or didn’t do. Where is the free will?

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