Specifically, 'unmodified' human will, or all humans in general. Can anyone who hears the gospel either believe that Jesus is Lord and Messiah or reject Him? Or are humans incapable of believing in Christ at all, and somehow a select few given the capacity to believe?
John 3:14 - 16
ESV - 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. 15 That whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
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Faith is the inborn persuasion that something is true, based on secondary evidence vs. First hand experience or sight (Heb 11:1, II Cor 5:7). We might believe germs exist, for example; without ever having personally peered through a microscope to see them; based on the testimony of other people and witnessing the effects of bacteria in illness. The ability to reason and to extrapolate from secondary evidence and form conclusions is one of the gifts God has graciously given mankind. Our opportunity to believe in Christ has its basis in the truth and reality of God's salvation. Without the truth of Christ, we could not believe. God's plan of redemption is not one that mankind would have ever thought up of on his own (I Cor 1:22-24). Nor did man ever ask God's plan to be revealed to them (Rom 10:20). Salvation is God reaching down towards man through Christ for reconciliation (Rom 5:10-11), it is not man's mythology about how to reach God. Yet if presented with the truth of who Jesus is, can a person believe? Can a person respond in faith, making the 'choice for Jesus,' so to speak? Scripture would seem to say 'yes'. This is indeed an area where God has, in His sovereign power and mercy, drawn all men to Himself by the death of Christ (John 12:32) and given those who hear the message the choice to believe or not (Rom 10:9). If God had not presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement (Rom 3:25), then we could not receive Christ by faith (John 1:12). Here are some more detailed examples from scripture: John 16:25-31: The disciples base their belief that Jesus came from God on Jesus' testimony that He came from the father, as well as Jesus' miraculous ability to know what they were discussing among themselves and answer it. Rom 10:4-21 : A beautiful and complex passage in regards to faith, Rom 10 gets into detail about the process: 1) Someone sent to proclaim the gospel 2) The gospel presented 3) The message heard 4) The message believed (faith!) 5) Calling on the name of the Lord 6) Salvation! The only prerequisite for faith mentioned in this passage is that the message must be presented to someone - for no one can have faith in something/someone they have never heard of. Hence the importance of evangelism! I Cor 3:5 : Many came to believe through the preaching/testimony of Paul and Apollos. John 11:48 : Sort of a 'reverse perspective', but here the pharisees are afraid that if Jesus is allowed to continue speaking and doing miracles, 'everyone' would believe in Him. John 1:1-12 : John the Baptist came to testify to Christ, that people might believe through his testimony. All those who believe on Christ God gave the right to become children of God. John 9 : A man asks to be told who the Messiah is and believes based on Christ's miracles. Jesus rebukes the pharisees who claim they 'see' spiritual truth. John 12:37-50 : Many leaders of the Jews believed Jesus was the Messiah due to his signs. Yet they would not confess their faith, because they loved the approval of men more than that of God. These refrains of being persuaded to truth based on testimony and miracles, and of embracing faith vs. Sight, are repeated in many other passages as well. (I Pet 1:1-12, Acts 19:8-21, Luke 16:19-31, etc). From these examples and others, we see that the testimony of the truth of the gospel is essential in man being persuaded that something is true. However, not everyone presented with truth will accept it. Worldly concerns, love of tradition, disbelief in the power or authority of God, love of self, etc; many factors keep people from embracing the gospel when they hear it. See also: https://ebible.com/questions/265-what-is-predestination-is-predestination-biblical#answer-15328 https://ebible.com/questions/1234-what-is-calvinism-and-is-it-biblical-what-are-the-five-points-of-calvinism#answer-17319 https://ebible.com/questions/3181-is-god-sovereign-or-do-we-have-a-free-will#answer-14667
Fallen man, estranged from God and spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), is dead to Christ and destitute of embracing The Christ of God (Luke 9:20; Matthew 16: 15-17). Being spiritually dead, such a one is not only bereft of the will to choose God, he does not even seek him! (Romans 3:9-13). Spiritual death is therefore a complete divorce from God that only the Lord Jesus can ratify. For if such a one is inanimate toward the ’truth’ like Pilate was before Jesus (John 18:37-38; Romans 9:17), pray tell, how does one commonly intercede for the salvation of a sinner if not along these lines: “Lord Jesus, please open the heart of this precious soul that he may believe you..“ Jesus Himself said, and perhaps emphatically, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you..” (John 15:16). Jesus, in His vicarious atonement, has thus justified the elect (John 10: 14-16) that were predestined (foreordained) for salvation before the foundations of the world (Romans 8; Eph 1). Salvation is by God’s sovereign act of grace (Acts 9:1-7; Ephesians 2; Exodus 4:10-12).
There is a difference in believing something and faith in something referring to an actual trust. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19 But hey are not saved. It is Faith Alone. "But," say others, "God has elected them on the foresight of their faith." Now, God gives faith, therefore He could not have elected them on account of faith which He foresaw. Charles Spurgeon For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8 The debate in regards to God's true sovereignty an actual being in control of all things has been going on for some time, but a quote from James Arminius himself. “But in his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of any by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good, but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin, he is capable of thinking, willing, and doing that which is good, but yet not without the continued aids of Divine Grace.” ― James Arminius “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:27-30 Romans is he most complete single book in the Bible in regards to salvation and Paul is direct and to the point without wiggle room if we only believe and have faith in the words penned. He predestined, He called, He justified and He will one day glorify - not a perhaps or a maybe based on an action of ours. If one has faith and another does not then what ability did God give one over the other? The gift of Faith. The Prosperity Gospel present in so many churches today resort to "pragmatism" (what ever works) as a way to (sell) the Gospel Message. The message focuses on the individual and the control they have vice God being in control. Deep within our nature is the desire to be in control and it goes back to Adam and Eve. Salvation is of the Lord, but we must first be changed to be receptive to the Gospel Message - regenerated. In Luke the Apostles looked to the Lord to increase their faith not themselves.
Is a human will capable of choosing or rejecting Jesus? Yes, in choosing and as the result of "regeneration" - literally meaning a "new birth." The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used in Matthew 19:28 as equivalent to the "restitution of all things". Titus 3:5 it denotes it as that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life, becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus, being born again, a renewal of the mind, a resurrection from the dead, and a being quickened. Yes, in rejecting due to the fact that (all) men reject Jesus unless regenerated and quickened by the Holy Spirit. Why must regeneration precede faith, because “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; (no one seeks for God)." Romans 3:10-11 ESV. “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. (All that the Father gives me will come to me), and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:36-37 ESV “So then it depends not on (human will or exertion), but on God, who has mercy.” Romans 9:16 ESV “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because (God chose) you as the firstfruits to be saved, (through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth). ” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV “No one can come to me (unless) the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44 ESV The drawing and change is of the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, (not of blood) (nor of the will of the flesh) (nor of the will of man) but of God.” John 1:12-13 ESV The nature of the change consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins." Can a dead man do anything if dead in trespasses and sins? The necessity of such a change is clearly affirmed in Scripture: “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” " John 3:3 ESV “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Romans 7:18 ESV “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins” Ephesians 2:1 ESV “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24 ESV For who is the author and finisher of our faith? “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 ESV It is "Faith" that Saves. "Faith" is a gift from God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the (gift of God), not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV God is sovereign. He has absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure. Daniel 4:35
Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are not saved by our own work, but by faith through grace. In my own experience, l did not choose to have grace. At the time, I thought I chose to be in the company of others who evangelized me. But looking back, I realized that those circumstances were orchestrated by the Holy Spirit working through others (Romans 8:27-30). And to those that truly receive Him, it is a power that you cannot reject.
The answer to this question is 'yes' under certain conditions and 'no' under other conditions. It depends upon the spiritual heart condition of the "human". A question to be answered first is, can a man by his will change his heart? Can he choose to remove his heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh? If the heart directs the will then for the will to reject the dictates of the heart is to ascribe to the will a power to be governed by something other than the human heart. The scriptures say that it is with the heart one believes. Romans 10:9 - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. The actions of the will and the affection of the heart are inseparable and perfectly compatible otherwise the man would be divided against himself. If the will is free to do whatever it wants then the human would not be free do do anything but be dominated by a will subject to God knows what. The will chooses what the heart loves. The heart that loves Jesus is a heart that has been renewed. The heart that hates Jesus is the heart that is left in its natural fallen state of enmity against God. Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The evidence of a new heart isn't one that chooses Jesus for fire insurance. An unrenewed heart would find heaven to be hell because he would have to spend eternity worshiping and being ruled a Jesus he hates. The evidence of a renewed heart is not only a love for Jesus but a love for his law and rule. Heaven is heaven to him because he will be with his Jesus serving and worshiping Him with an un-sinning heart. Deuteronomy 30:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. The context of the Rom 10 passage is based upon the developing context of Deu 30:11-15. In summary a natural heart will not (cannot) choose Jesus as He is on His terms. The renewed heart cannot but choose Jesus as He is on His terms because he knows who He is and what He has done for him and he loves Him for it. This is why he confesses that He is LORD!
Yes, I believe humans are capable of choosing or rejecting Jesus, and I agree with Jennifer's explanation. Romans 10:16-17. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:18 says, "But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; their voice has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." Additionally, I believe God gave us the ability to accept or reject Jesus Christ based on Genesis 1:26, where God says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." We know that God's "image" refers to the immaterial part of God rather than His appearance. He chose to create us with volition and reason because He obviously possesses volition and reason. Free-will. If He did not possess them, He would not have created us with them. Because He gave us these attributes, we have the capacity to make decisions, choose truth from error, pick the color of our shoes, who we'll marry, etc. If we have volition and reason and the capacity to choose, then it makes sense that we would have that same capacity to accept or reject Jesus Christ. God does all the work - He draws us. See John 12:32, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He never ceases. And, God has provided the way. We do nothing except exercise the free-will God gave us and believe. John 3:14-21. One other point I'd like to make is concerning Lucifer and his angels. Even though God did not create the angels in His image that we know, they apparently had free-will. Lucifer chose to rebel against God and possibly as many as one-third of the other angels chose to follow him. I believe we have the same choice here on earth. I just think if God gave the angels free-will to choose between Him and Lucifer, He certainly would give us the same choice. Everything that happens in heaven, happens on earth.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, (everybody) that He gave His only begotten Son, (Jesus) that WOSOEVER believeth on Him, will not peristh, but have everlasting life. Second Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Repentance here is the Greek word metanoia which means to go from unbelief to belief. John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that all that seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise Him up on the last day. Salvation is by faith alone and we have to believe to be saved. After we believe God is the author and finisher of our faith. Once we believe, we are saved forever. It can not be changed. The reason for it being a one time belief, is because our works, what we do or do not do has nothing to do with salvation which is all grace. What Jesus did for us on the cross. We receive the free gift by faith alone, without works which means that once we have believed the gospel, that Christ died for our sins, then we are saved forever. Salvation has to be a free gift. It can not be any other way because all men sin. All of our sins have to be paid for. If there was any other way to be saved, then Jesus died in vain. He is the only way, and when we believe then we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and we are given eternal life. John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me, will come to me, and ALL that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. Salvation is by our faith that Jesus took the punishment for all our sins, that we deserve, and paid the price we could not pay. If He did not died for all our sins, past, present, and future, then no one could be saved, because we all sin. First John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Once we believe the gospel we are given eternal life, declared righteous before God, and all our sins can no more be imputed to us. Romans 4:1-8 We are saved the same way Abraham was. Our works have nothing to do with salvation, which is all by grace, but after we have accepted Jesus as our savior count toward rewards in heaven. Salvation has to remain a free gift because God gets all the glory and we have nothing to boast in because we did nothing for it. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power, to become the Children of God, even to them that believe on His name. Our faith comes from us. We believe the gospel and are saved which means the same as having eternal life. John 3:18 He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but He that believeth not, is condemned already because he not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. The whole gospel of John tells us to believe the gospel to be saved. We hear the good news of the gospel and believe it and are given eternal life. John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Once we have accepted Jesus as our only savior, Jesus holds on to us and keeps us saved by His power, not ours. First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you, that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. John 1:12 Once we have believed we become a child of God forever. Whether we are a disobedient child or obedient child does not change the fact that we are a child of God. That is why if we go off and live in sin God has the right to chasten us as children to bring us back into fellowship with Himself. But our relationship can not be changed. When we were born into our physical bodies, our natural father is always our father, Whether we obeyed him all the time or not, we remained his child.
Our Free Will is the power to make decisions of our own, rather than having God or fate predetermine what we do. Yes, the human is capable to choosing or rejecting God. God dignified us with Free Will. God created humans in His image. GENESIS 1-26. We can determine our future. DEUT. 30:19-20. We can listen to God's voice and read His word to obey His Commandments, but we are not forced to do so. Free Will lets us love God with our whole heart because we want to and not because we have to. Matt. 22:37 Three ways to think about your free Will: 1. A popular one is: Our Will is free if our preferences and our choices are really our own in such a way that we justly be held responsible for whether they are good or bad. 2. A tecnical one is: We will have free Will if we ultimately or dicisively self determining and the only preference and choices that we can be held accountable for are ones that are ultmately or decisively self-deternined. 3. A biblical one is: The human Will is free when it is not in bondage to prefer and choose irrationally. It is free when it is liberated from preferring what is infinitly less preferable than God, and from choosing what will lead to distruction. We as humans will have to make the altimate choice about whom God is and where we want to spend Eternity. If you choose God, the Holy Spirit will come into you and teach you all things about His Son, Jesus Christ who came and died for you a sinner, inorder to undo the Original Sin in the Garden. When God the Father sees you, He will see His Son in you and all your sins, past, present and future will be no more. You will praise Him for eternity.
In my opinion, this is an extremely difficult question to answer. To demonstrate the degree of its difficulty I give you the example of two men who are considered Scriptural giants by many, namely John Calvin (1509 – 1564) and Jacobus Arminius (1560 – 1609). Interestingly, they disagreed on what the Bible teaches about this very subject. Calvin asserted that humans have “no free will” with Arminius stating, in essence, the opposite. Both base their claims on the Bible. To me, this means that one of them is misinterpreting the Bible’s teaching about God’s role in the process of human salvation. For that reason, it is my opinion that we cannot not Scripturally answer this question without examining the role the Devil is playing with regard to our acceptance of Jesus as our savior. I am not going into detail about the Devil’s role other than to say that it is apparently an official one established by God for some reason. The devil isn’t just an “outlaw.” Apparently, he has raised objections that God feels must be adequately addressed. A few of the many Scriptures I base this upon are as follows: Job 1:6-9; The Devil assembles along with the angels that “came to present themselves before the LORD,... “ Ezekiel 28:16-18; The Devil is referred to as a “guardian cherub” originally. Luke 4:5-7; God had apparently given all the “kingdoms of the world.” to the Devil. Revelation 12:10; The Devil stands before God accusing our brothers “day and night” of being unworthy of salvation. With this in mind, how should we interpret Scriptures that pertain to our “free will.” Let’s use Job as an example. God set Job forth as an example of someone who was a “blameless” man and worthy of the highest praise. (Job 1:8) However, the Devil raised an objection and accused Job of serving for selfish motives. (Job 1:9-11) We know how the story ends. Job proves that his service was a “free will” decision on his part and not motivated by selfishness. That’s the end of the story. So the question is, was Job’s actions due to free will or otherwise. Had Job’s action been choreographed by God, what would have been the Devil’ reaction. Obviously, such a situation would have proven nothing regarding Job’s true attitude. For the Devil to be proved wrong, Job’s actions would have to be based upon unselfish free will. Therefore, it is my opinion that unless we choose to follow Jesus by our own “free will” it will do nothing to prove that Satan the Devil is a liar. That means, to me, that any interpretation of Scripture that dismisses “free will” as a determining factor of our acceptance of Jesus as our savior is mistaken.
Yes, if we look at the Old Testament, did God not choose Israel? However, Israel chose a GOLDEN CALF! How many prophets did the Lord send, including Jesus? John 3-19 states the verdict, MAN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN THE LIGHT, etc! Choose whom you will worship on this day, Joshua 24 vs 15. John 3, vs 16 states God loved the world, but we loved darkness rather than the light!
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