Does God’s Sovereign Election of His People Make Us Mere Puppets on a String?

When I started writing about the Doctrines of Grace I noticed something that was common in all of those who have commented in opposition. That commonality is that everything they use as their evidence is predicated on preserving their Free Will. Some were gracious. Some were honestly attempting to understand the truth. However, the bulk of them were hostile and accusatory. These “battles” have left scars, but God also used them in my own sanctification and I hope He did as well for those who came along side me to help fight the good fight.

Also, I have become aware, because I have studied the history of this conflict in great detail, that this issue runs deep and is also vital to the health of the Church as well as the individual spiritual health of each believer. After all, we are battling over how Sovereign God is. The God whose glory Ezekiel saw in that magnificent vision from the first chapter of his prophetic book is not held to be high and lifted up by most of those whose theology is geared towards preserving Free Will. Instead, they demote Him and take Him casually even taking Him for granted like He is the old man upstairs. On the other hand, most of those who adhere to the Doctrines of Grace hold a high view of God who is completely Sovereign over creation.

It should be apparent to all who have the Holy Spirit that we are fighting this battle because it is pressed upon us. The ones in opposition to the Doctrines of Grace see themselves as Orthodox and us as heretics. However, there was a time when the roles were most definitely reversed. Here is a quote from Charles Spurgeon.

I have heard it asserted most positively, that those high doctrines which we love and which we find in the Scriptures, are licentious ones. I do not know who has the hardihood to make that assertion, when they consider that the holiest of men have been believers in them. I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or Calvin, or Whitfield, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace; or what will he say of those Puritans, whose works are full of them? Had a man been an Arminian in those days, he would have been accounted the vilest heretic breathing; but now we are looked upon as the heretics, and they the orthodox.”

Therefore, we know that this battle is not new. In fact, the Gospel has been under attack from the days of the Apostles. Why would we think it would be over now? No, we must contend for the faith and fight the good fight until called home to be with our Lord. One of the accusations I deal with from those in love with the lie of Free Will is that the doctrine of election makes God’s people mere puppets on a string. Below is an article by John Hendryx that addresses this. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

by John Hendryx

In the period of a week I have had three people ask me essentially the same question: Doesn’t the doctrine of election just make us puppets? Two were asked of me via email and one at a Bible study. The following are the two questions I received via


First Question:

Dear John,
Regarding the doctrines of grace and election, do you get the sense that our God is essentially saying to the non elect, “Here I am but you cant have me because you are not chosen?” It seems to me that God is pictured as holding a carrot in front of a donkey that tries to get it but never can because he is a “carnal animal.” So are we puppets on a string? I know what the Biblical texts say about predestination and election and I would have to agree, but something seems a miss? Some insight would help. Thanks John … Your answers are always appreciated.
Blessings, Ryan

Second Question:

John … If God chose the elect before the foundation of the world, is there anything anyone can do to make God either choose them or not choose them? Yes or noDouglas


Thanks for the great question. The doctrine of election is very important, one we all should wrestle with since the Bible so frequently discusses it. To fail to grapple with it, or to pass over it as unimportant would be to fail to teach or attempt to understand the whole counsel of Scripture.

Regarding the questions of God being pictured as holding a carrot in front of a donkey that tries to get it but never can because he is a “carnal animal” and whether we can do anything to make God choose us: It is important that we look at this question carefully because the question itself includes the false presumption that man can or wants to do something spiritual while still in his fallen, unregenerate state. Therefore, the person who asks this question still holds to a presupposition nowhere to be found in the Bible (i.e. that some men naturally desire God). Of course, God’s Aseity requires that the reason for our salvation be within Himself, not some good he finds in the creature, so the answer plainly is “no”, people cannot do anything to “make God choose them”. To find the reason in man for God’s choice is to say God chooses one man over another for something spiritually produced by his unregenerate nature. In other words, one man, while still in his old nature, either created a right thought, produced a right affection, or originated a right volition that led to his salvation while the other man, did not have the natural ability or wisdom to come up with the faith that God required of him. Yet the Scriptures explicitly reveal that prior to the new birth there is no one who is spiritual and God never chooses us based on some merit we could come up with.

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2

It is easy to see how the analogy of the donkey breaks down here because it presumes that the donkey actually wants the carrot to begin with. As humans we will always choose what we desire most and our desires are determined by what we are by nature. Fallen, unregenerate creatures do not desire the things of God. In this case, the “carrot” would always leave a horrible taste in the donkey’s mouth so he has no inclination or desire for it. So the worst judgment God can inflict upon a man is to leave him to his own self-boasting natural free will since there is no one who is naturally willing to submit himself to God.

It is true, however, that anyone who desires to believe in God will be saved, but again, there is no one who fits that description. Further, we are morally responsible for our willful disobedience. God compels no one to reject Him. I think people underestimate the extent to which man is fallen. Our pre-regenerate condition is much worse than most imagine. Lets take a further look at the Scripture to help unravel the so-called mystery of why election can be true and yet it does not make us puppets on a string.

It appears that all error on this issue arises from our misapprehension of man’s condition of total spiritual impotence prior to God’s regenerative grace (before the new birth). Adam & Eve, our parents, were given the command of God to obey. Death was the consequence, the result of disobedience, but a continuation of life in Eden was the certain result of obedience. Soon after given the command to obey they were deceived, flagrantly disobeyed and played the blame game on one another and God. They were then excluded by God from the garden on that day, punished with certain physical death and immediate spiritual death. How do I know this? Because God set an angel to guard anyone from coming to Eden with a flaming sword so they would not partake of the tree of life and live. Man now, without the Spirit, cannot even lift a finger toward his own redemption. The way is blocked. However, the covenant God made with Adam to obey (and thus all of mankind) still exists. God still requires us to obey His commands. This has not changed. So, in other words, we changed, not God. But we are impotent to do anything redemptively on our own behalf. We woefully fail at our attempts to obey God perfectly. We are responsible to obey but morally corrupt and do not even desire to do so. So we are thereby culpable in our inability because it is moral (like a debt we cannot repay), not physical (like sickness or a broken leg).

The Heidelberg Catechism, Question 9 says it well,

Q: “Does not God then do injustice to man by requiring of him in His Law that which he cannot perform?

A: No, for God so made man that he could perform it, but man, through the instigation of the devil, by willful disobedience deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts”

Please look carefully at the following verses in Scripture to back up the claim that fallen man is in a state where he does not have the capacity or desire to redeem himself:

“…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Romans 8:7

“…there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. Rom 3:11

“…men loved the darkness rather than the Light…and will not come into the light…” John 3:20, 21

The Bible also describes those who are unregenerate & fallen as blinded by Satan and taken captive to do his will, unless God “grants repentance” (2 Tim 2:25).

God then added laws to further reveal man’s transgression. However, these laws were never meant to empower us, but in fact, are a tutor that lead us to Christ for mercy since they only condemn us. When God gave the Ten Commandments He did not do so thinking that perhaps some men will obey perfectly and live (with the sole exception of Jesus Christ). He gave them to reveal our impotence to do so. God’s law is perfect because He is. He cannot lower His standards for us or He would no longer be God. He, therefore, has a specific purpose in requiring moral perfection of us and this includes the command to believe in Christ. Statements in the Scripture like “If thou art willing” and “whosoever believes”,” choose life” like in John 3:16 are in the subjunctive (hypothetical) mood. A grammarian would explain that this is a conditional statement that asserts nothing indicatively. In this passage, what we “ought” to do does not necessarily imply “can” do. The Ten Commandments, likewise, speak of what we ought to do but they do not imply that we have the moral ability to carry them out. The commandments of God were never meant to empower us, but rather, to strip us of trusting in our own ability so that we would come to an end of ourselves. With striking clarity, Paul teaches that this is the intent of Divine legislation (Rom 3:20, 5:20, Gal 3:19,24).

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” Rom 3:19, 20

But as predicted in Gen 3:15, God would send a Messiah who would crush the head of the serpent. Jesus, God become flesh, took on our humanity and where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded (Rom 5). How can this be good news, however, when men are never found naturally willing to submit in faith to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ? (Rom 3:11; John 6:64,65; 2 Thessalonians 3:2) Because God gives to us freely, what he demands from us. In the gospel God reveals the same righteousness and faith for us that God demands from us. What we had to have, but could not create or achieve or fulfill, God grants us freely, namely, the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and the faith of Christ. He reveals, as a gift in Christ Jesus, the faith and righteousness that was once only a demand. Faith is not something that the sinner contributes towards the price of His salvation. Jesus has already paid that price in full for us. Faith is our first gasp of breath at our new birth, so to speak. It is a witness of God’s work of grace already having taken place within us (Eph 2:5, 8; 2 Tim 2:25). The faith and obedience we could not come up with ourselves, Jesus did for us by fulfilling the covenant from our side. What is impossible with men (faith and repentance) is possible with God, Jesus said.

Here it is easy to conclude, therefore, that prior to our salvation we are not puppets, but dead in sin (Eph 2:1,5) and without hope save in the grace of God alone. Our condition is much worse than many modern evangelicals want to paint it. If God leads us to faith in Christ it is a pure act of His mercy, raising us from the dead, so to speak. This is mercy, not puppetry. If left to ourselves we would be doomed since we do not have the Spirit unless God gives Him to us. So the command to obey the gospel remains the same as before the fall, we just now are morally incapable and unwilling to doing it. But as we proclaim the gospel to humanity God uses His word to bring forth His own:

“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…That word is the good news preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23,25)

James says,
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth“ (James 1:18).

And it is clear from the Scriptures that in this outward call of the gospel which we proclaim to the world, God has the intent to only save those he has set His affection on from eternity for His own good purpose:

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

I hope this helps explain why it is but God’s grace and mercy alone that saves us. We usually do not want to admit our condition is so bad. But our will has been so affected by the fall that we are hostile to God and will not come into the light lest our deeds be exposed (John 3:19, 20). These are the truths that were recovered at the Reformation in which we are now in danger of losing again in the church. To think that man can contribute something, even a very little, to his salvation is to misapprehend the meaning of grace. I believe I have accurately described the biblical position that both Calvin and Luther proclaimed. The church has wandered somewhat but there is a clear renewal of interest in these biblical truths.

As a follow up question to this article another brother asked the following:


Follow Up Question:

I was curious how you go about answering the follow up question that naturally ensues. The Calvinist’s sovereign God would have to ordain that Adam fall (supralapsarianism), so how can He hold all of mankind (or even Adam) responsible for something He made happen? My response is an appeal to Romans 9 where the Apostle Paul answers a most similar question. I have not met many that can argue with Romans 9, interestingly though, they don’t always accept it. My question to you: How do you answer the question posed above?
– Chris



That is an excellent question. But those who use this as an argument have the same if not a greater problem. If God merely created man and chose them based on their foreseen acts of faith, as their position holds, and God knew some of these would choose hell, then why did God go ahead and create them to begin with? In other words, their eternal destiny is fixed by some kind of impersonal fate since the future cannot be changed if God already knows it. If whether or not someone chooses God is already known by God then the future is certain, correct?. But the biblical view is that its certainty is because of the eternal plan of a merciful and loving personal God. The foreseen faith view is based on an impersonal determinism. Something is determining their future choice, in that scheme, but not God. So what is it? If God already knows the outcome, meaning the future cannot be changed, then the future is fixed and their is no real freedom. Their choice is determined. So why did God, then, go ahead and create them then? The biblical and philosophical problems with the foreseen faith position, then, is much, much greater than with the biblical one. They appear to be trying to get God off the hook rather than taking a hard look at the Scriptures.

Furthermore, I would answer your question by saying that God is not the author of sin. Ordaining something like sin to take place is not the same as being the author of it. For example, God ordained the crucifixion to take place yet God cannot be blamed for the secondary causes which made it happen – the evil acts of men which carried it out. God ordained the evil of the most unjust act in history to take place…See the following verse:

“…this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” Acts 2:23

So God, although ordaining it, cannot be blamed for it. As humans, we always choose what we desire most. God does not compel us to make any decision, and does not compel us to disobey. We do so willingly. All God needs to do to harden us is remove His grace and leave us to our free will. Romans 9 is also and excellent passage, as you say … but as you know people will often believe what they want to believe. It takes time and grace to empty hearts of church tradition and to fill it with the Scripture. People can be looking right at a verse which is plain but because of their preconceived notions and presuppositions, they think it can’t really mean what it says.

Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, also has some excellent points to add regarding this question which I believe will help us get a better understanding of this issue. The points he makes are basically as follows: In the Arminian view, how can we know if God will ultimately triumph over evil? The Arminian assertion that evil is not according to the will of God creates a bit of a problem. If the evil now in the world got here even though God did not want it, how can we be sure He will ultimately triumph over it in the end? The Scripture says He will but if He was not powerful enough to keep it out of the universe in the first place, since it came against his will (according to the Arminian scheme), and if He cannot predict the outcome of future events that involve free human choices and angelic/demonic beings then what makes us so sure that his declaration that He will triumph is actually true? The Calvinist position is preferable, not only because it is biblical but also because there is great freedom from anxiety about the future, since God “works all things for good to those who love Him.” The Arminian position appears to leave us in a state of anxiety. While all positions are hard to understand, the Reformed view of evil as ordained by God and under His sovereign control, while God not being the author of it, is a plain reading of the Scriptures in its portrayal of our God. The Arminian view of evil as not ordained or willed by God also means it is not under His control. Nowhere in the Scriptures is God portrayed in such a way.

The second point Grudem makes is this: Although we will always have unanswered questions about these matters but the questions Calvinists and Arminians leave unanswered are very different:

The Calvinist must say (1) that he really does not ultimately know how God can ordain that we do evil willingly and how God cannot be blamed for that evil. We can speculate but the Bible does not explicitly explain how this is. (2) Calvinists must also say that ultimately they do not know how God can cause us to choose something willingly. Again we can speculate but the Bible does not explain this. However, the Calvinist ultimately answers these hard questions by saying that God is infinitely great and can do far more than we can fathom. So the unanswered questions really serve to increase our appreciation of God’s greatness.

The Arminians, on the other hand, must leave unanswered, questions regarding God’s knowledge of the future, why He could allow evil even when it is against His will and whether He will actually triumph over evil. The failure of Arminians to resolve these questions tends to diminish God’s greatness, omnipotence, omniscience and reliability. So these unanswered questions tend to exalt the greatness of man – his freedom to do what God does not want, and the power of evil since it exists in the universe even though God does not want it.

Hope this helps. I love this topic and can’t get enough of it. God gets all the glory, and not man.

Sola Gratia


33 thoughts on “Does God’s Sovereign Election of His People Make Us Mere Puppets on a String?

  1. nice post. couple of comments if you dont mind.

    when calvinists talk about the bondage/lack of free will they mean that we cannot by our own free will choose God or the things of God. many people look at their ability to choose and confuse themselves into thinking that since they can and do choose they have free will. they are free to choose but because they are dead in their sins without proper knowledge of God they choose evil. a bad tree can only produce bad fruits.

    paraphrasing ‘rabbi’ John Duncan – our obligation to obey God arises from the holy and immutable nature of the Law of God. it does not in anyway depend on our ability to obey. our ability to obey God however comes from the grace of God.


  2. AAAMEN!! Why is it that people believe that God is sovereign over the elect, but not the non-elect or the evil? Why is it so hard for them to get past this?? THIS article has been printed off and is going to a pastor we know…….out of love. Thank you for such a wonderful explanation.


  3. It was Romans 9:18-24 that opened my eyes to election as truth. The question asked in verse 19 struck me as a question that would only be asked of the non-elect. If free will is truth then this question would not be asked at all. Then I went to verse 22-24 to answer my question as to why God would not elect some. And did not God open Lydia’s heart? He Who begins the good work of opening hearts to faith in Christ is faithful to complete it. And, no, being of the elect is too humbling to desire to live licentiously.


  4. Never forget that He is the POTTER and we are the CLAY.
    Would you rather be a puppet on a string or CLAY?
    At least a puppet on a string can move around wheras Clay can do nothing but just lay there and do nothing.
    Dead sinners cannot come to Christ because they are dead.
    Only the Holy Spirit can impart LIFE into the heart of CLAY
    Yes, He is the Potter and we are the clay. Never, Never forget this Biblical principle.


  5. Mike writes: “The God whose glory Ezekiel saw in that magnificent vision from the first chapter of his prophetic book is not held to be high and lifted up by those whose theology is geared towards preserving Free Will. Instead, they demote Him and take Him casually even taking Him for granted like He is the old man upstairs.”

    Mike, I would not dare try and debate your characterization of such as me, for I am not in your league when it comes to that. I can only say, “I was blind, but now I see; I was a drunk, but now am free, and I praise God every day for what He did for me.”

    It is quite presumptious of you to charaterize the likes of me as one who demotes God and takes Him casually. It hurts to the bone to read what I quoted you writing above. You have no idea how one such as myself holds God in my/our heart.


  6. Natural man as puppet? No, more like rebel.

    If there is any Biblical truth that gives the believer comfort and security above any other, it is that the God of the Bible is sovereign. If He weren’t, none of us would have any real hope.


  7. When confronted with the “puppet” issue I’ve ofter asked the questioner; Would you rather spend eternity in hell with your “free will” or in heaven as a “puppet.” Those who object to being a “puppet” are really saying “I will bend my knee to no one.” It is a pride issue, one that keeps us in bondage to sin. I might also add that RC Sprouls book “Chosen by God” is an excellent one explaining many of the items you have discussed. RC says that all of our choices are based on our strongest desire at the time. The strongest desire of the un-regenerate is to make choices in oppostion to God. Once we are re-generated our desires change toward God so that we now exercise choices that are also toward God. The Arminian position is the default mode. It agrees with our normal natural prideful nature. I began as an Arminian and later became convinced that Calvinism was true which enabled me to see the gospel in a much clearer sense. All of sudden the meaning of grace abounded.


  8. fishon,

    Reread what I posted. I did not say everyone who is not a Calvinist is lost and burning in Hell. I said that those I have encountered in this debate do not have the high view of God that we do. How can I say that? Their god is their Free Will that is higher than God on the throne in Heaven. How can I say that? All we have to do is read the thrust of their arguments to see where their “center” is. They are centered on being a Christian by their own efforts and defy anyone to tell them any different. They view God as a bystander at best who is helpless to save anyone because they can’t be saved unless they choose to.

    Calvinists believe there is Free Will, but because of the fall of Man in Genesis 3 all are spiritually incapable of choosing God over self. Lost people can freely choose all sorts of things, but unless God intervenes with His saving grace to regenerate the heart, there is no possibility of salvation.

    I have read your site and you have a passion for souls and that is to be commended. I pray that you also instill in those you witness to how awesome our God is and that He is not standing on the sidelines helplessly waiting for us to make decisions.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  9. Perhaps when God opens our hearts to believe and our choosing to believe happens in such an instant that some are inclined to believe it was by their own choice that they are saved through faith in Christ. If free willers would stop and think about it they would know that God had to open their heart in the first place in order to believe the Gospel.


  10. Sherry C.,

    Exactly! After all, for nearly 20 years I was one of those you described. It was by studying the Bible in light of the doctrines from both sides of this debate that God drew me into the light. I know the Syngergists won’t believe me, but that moment was spiirutally huge for me. God suddenly became real and tangible and totally huge in my heart. Before that my view of Him was fuzzy and based upon my man-focused understanding. However, after that, I finally understood what the phrase, “God’s ways are not our ways” really means. To come to the realization that God is Sovereign and loves His Son’s sheep far beyond what they can comprehend and deserve is life changing.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  11. Yes, the same thing happened to me! I even fretted that I wasn’t chosen! However, my love for God and His Word, and my thanks to Christ Jesus just wouldn’t be there if I had not been chosen. And it took me several readings of Romans 9, with prayer, to finally see election is the truth. Those who believe in free will will tell you that when the unsaved are in the pit of hell that they will know full well they belong there. But the unelected are the only ones that will ask why they must be in hell if God so appointed them for it. And that God does it for His glory is saomething we shouldn’t argue against because we believe Him to be a loving God. We don’t know everything God does and why He does it, but we are to believe what He does reveal to us. His ways are higher than ours so to compare his attribute of love with our understanding doesn’t always make Him as sovereign as He truly is.


  12. Dear Mike,
    I say “Dear Mike” because I do not want to come off as confrontational {at least not negatively}.

    1. I did not accuse you of saying: I did not say everyone who is not a Calvinist is lost and burning in Hell.”

    2. My issue was your seemingly portrayal of ALL “free-willers” as ‘demoting God and taking Him casually.’

    If I misread you and you did not mean to include ALL, then I apologize.

    3. I agree with this part of one of your statements: “…unless God intervenes with His saving grace to regenerate the heart, there is no possibility of salvation.”

    4. You said: “I have read your site and you have a passion for souls and that is to be commended. I pray that you also instill in those you witness to how awesome our God is and that He is not standing on the sidelines helplessly waiting for us to make decisions.”

    Mike, I have NO SITE. You must have me mixed up with someone else. Send me this person’s site, please. I would like to look at it.

    5. I can only say this. The God I serve, the God of the Bible, He is so big, so awesome, Majestic, so magnificent that even those words pale in discribing Him. He is totally sovereign, and in His sovereignty He fears nothing. And in His fearless sovereignty, He came at me and sought me with tenacity. He sought me out, even to the point of physical pain. “I” said yes to His calling–He did NOT say yes for me.

    God is so sovereign that He was not the least bit intimidated or fearful of seeking me out and saying, “In my sovereignty, Jerry, here I am; here is what I can do; here is who I am; make your choice.”

    You see, Mike, it is going to be impossible for you to dispute the fact with me of how I came to the Father. You were not there. He very clearly gave me the choice of following Him or going my own way onto destruction. About the only thing you can do is say, “Jerry, you are delusional-God doesn’t do it that way; He doesn’t give choices.” And I have been told that I am NOT saved because I thought I had a choice.

    Well, that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

    Thank you for putting up with my rant.



  13. Fishon,

    There is someone out there who has the same handle that you have brother. 🙂 Sorry for the mixup. I never intended to lump all those who are not Calvinists together as reprobates. I can see how that could be construed in the contextual phrases I used. I was not a Calvinist when I was saved nor was I for the first 20 or so years until then. So, I do not say that people cannot be saved unless they are Calvinists. 🙂

    My statements were directed at those who have made a god out of Free Will. I am trying to formulate a thesis that shows how sotierology built on man’s free will elevates man and demotes God. The huge numbers of false professions plaguing the church in our day is an idictment against retaining the way things have always been done.

    My own testimony was one much like yours. However, I know that God was pursuing me and until I received Him I had no peace. So in that sense it was a choice, but He had regenerated me so I COULD make the choice. Do you see how that differs from some of those out there who are all about decisions that portray God in the false light of the Sovereignty of Man’s Free Will?

    It is these folks that come in here guns blazing with out-of-context scripture proof texts and a lot of venom. It is that group I was portraying in my statement not all non-Calvinists.

    From your statement in your comment about God I would like to offer you the hand of fellowship as a true brother in Christ. Only one who has been regenerated by God can hold that view. 🙂

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  14. Mike, Thank you for your kind responce.

    I use to have an e-mail address as “coolpastorjerry,” but I never used that as an identification that I remember. Hum, maybe I shouldn’t admit to anything. I have said some stupid things in the past.

    Mike, when you say that there are those who make “a god out of will,” are you speaking of well know individuals? Might you name them, or if you rather not, could you e-mail the address you have from me. If you’d rather not, that’s “cool.”

    You write: “However, I know that God was pursuing me and until I received Him I had no peace. So in that sense it was a choice, but He had regenerated me so I COULD make the choice. Do you see how that differs from some of those out there who are all about decisions that portray God in the false light of the Sovereignty of Man’s Free Will?”

    Oh, I understand that “no peace” issue. He moved on me so hard that I had physical pain until I said, “yes.”

    I agree about him regenerating so we/I could make a choice. I guess the problem for me is, I have never run into the teaching on “free-will” that “demotes” God. I don’t mean overt teaching, but subtle teaching. At least I never recognized it.

    I guess I haven’t paid enough attention to the debates on this subject on your blog. I have missed the venom cast about–I will pay closer attention.

    I would love to enter into more of the dialogue that takes place here, but I do a very poor job of putting in written form what I believe the Bible to teach. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the spoken words, thought I lack there too.

    I readily except the “hand of fellowship” you extend. I too extend my hand of Christian fellowship to you as my brother in Christ. However, since I have had the advantage of reading your thoughts, beliefs, and words about our Lord, I long ago felt you my brother. You on the other hand know very little of me.

    I look forward to agreeing with you, challengings you, and learning from you in the future. I may venture out in dialogue from time to time.

    I end this the same way I end every Sunday service.
    “Don’t have a good day—MAKE IT a good day.
    fishon [jerry]


  15. The biggest stumbling block for free-willers is that they can’t get past the idea that God creates anyone for hell. That was what kept me kicking against the goads! Didn’t Jesus say that hell was created for satan and his angels? Yes, but he also told those religious leaders that was where they were headed because they were of their father, the devil. How did I get past this idea? I read and reread Romans 9:22-24. Election is about God’s wisdom being made known to us and to all in the spiritual realm. God’s wisdom and glory is manifested to us and to all the host of heaven both now and for all eternity. We greatly narrow the wisdom and love of God when we think that God would never create anyone for hell. But, if that be true then hasn’t God failed in getting all his created ones into His Kingdom? Those who believe in free-wil think they are besmirching God’s character if they were to believe in election. That’s what I thought. But I couldn’t deny the truth. And instead of besmirching God’s character, I found Him to be more sovereign than I had previously thought of Him. I do have much more reverence for Him now. And gratitude.


  16. I came across this site after typing “what does God choosing us mean?” because I often struggle with this concept. I have only realized this past year the vast difference between those who believe Free Will and Calvinists. My pastor is a Calvinist, and many I know, believe free will, so I am confused. I am so thankful for what I have read today as I am burning with thoughts and questions and just love learning more about His Word.

    Like Sherry stated, I struggle because it is very hard to accept the concept of God not choosing people, even people I may know, so they therefore are condemned to hell.

    I pray for these people, is this in vain?

    God is merciful, but there are so many who deny His Son, and from a worldly perspective they may not all seem like bad people, so it saddens me to even think of them living a life of suffering and torment.

    How am I, with the heart that God has given me, and the knowledge of mercy, love, grace, compassion, suppose to wrap my mind around this? I truly desire an understanding on this, as I want to know God more and grasp His Word better.

    When I read Romans 9:21 and it talks about a potter making clay, and how they have the choice to use some for noble purposes and some for refuse, I totally get this and how it relates to God’s design. But at the same I don’t think I can look at any person as refuse, as God has taught me to love thy neighbor. It feels so conflicting.

    My pastor once told me that it is a paradox, and we cannot reconcile it. I pray that I can make peace with this, and I just praise God that I am chosen by Him, though i am sad for those who aren’t.


  17. Christina,
    Yes, pray. It is not in vain for God has commanded it. And He answers our prayers, for it is God that has softened our hearts for them so that we love them, and pray for them, and work to bring them the Gospel message of salvation through Christ.

    Yes, unbelievers may not really seem like bad people, but they themselves have to admit that the Almighty Creator God is not at the center of their lives, and that they do not do everything for His glory–and that is the greatest crime ever committed. But really, can they take credit for not being all that bad?
    Human nature, no matter where you find it, is totally depraved; there is no moral good in it. It is God’s sovereign grace (“common grace” as the theologians say) that keeps the lid on the volcano of evil in people who are not born again.
    John Piper

    No, don’t look at anyone as refuse, for we are to love our neighbors and our enemies. And yes, cry for the lost, just as Paul did (Romans 9:2-3). Christina, the Bible reveals to us some of God’s thinking and ways, but His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8). God is Holy, and His actions are always righteous and just.

    When it comes to God’s Word and how God deals with us, we shouldn’t worry whether or not it makes sense. If you want to be a Christian and understand the teachings of the Christian faith, you shouldn’t judge the Christian doctrines with your mind to find out whether or not they sound correct. Instead, you should immediately say, “I’m not asking how it all makes sense. All I need to know is whether it is God’s Word or not. If God said it, then that decides it.”
    Martin Luther


  18. Christina, we are not privy to those whom God has chosen. I know of some of the vilest of people who, by human’s standards, now live for Christ and His glory. Who’da thunk it?! I stumble with treating my enemies well, so I must constantly remind myself that I could be affronting a brother or sister to be in Christ. And I must remember that everyone is made in the image of God and have their purposes in Him. Nevermind the self-centeredness on my part in how I treat others. It is sin, not justifiable. Yes, we pray for and treat all people with the love that pleases God. These people are brought to our lives by God who entrusts to us the privilege to pray for them. And, as I have found to be true in many instances, they are to refine us. When all is said and done, we are not responsible for their salvation. If they refuse Christ, though it saddens us deeply now, one day God will bless us with having no remembrance of them. And that time will be when we are together in His kingdom. Our faith is often tested by accepting things about God that we do not understand but trust nonetheless because He has said it in His Word. Some things we can only understand through obedience to His Word. I pray all those whom you are praying for will know of God’s salvation through Christ. May He open their hearts and choose them as His own. Remember, God is not constrained by time. Our prayers are heard before the foundations of the earth because God is ever present and all-knowing all the time.


  19. Thank you so much Sherry! You’ve started my day with a new perspective! Especially the reminder that God is not constrained by time, this opens my eyes to new hope!


  20. People need to know what is really happening in religion and politics today. Wake up people you are being deceived into believing a false religious system created by the Jesuits so that the pope can’t be identified as antichrist. Here is a book you can read on line, and listen to these guys. They are correct.


  21. This is a very interesting site indeed. As a christian i ponder about and ask some of the same questions discussed here. I typed a similar question to Christina “what does God choosing us mean?” My question was quite simple but of profound in depth after struggling on many questions, some seemingly paradoxical. My question was “WHAT DOES GOD WANT FROM ME?”. There is a reason why i asked this, plus many of those questions of life i ponder about. Im sure we have all asked those questions at some points in time.

    It was just this evening i was discussing with my brother-in law about why we need to pray, if indeed for example: We pray for something thst we desire that may not be neccessarily bad but may not be God’s will.
    Will God let us have it? His reply was that No if it was not Go’s will then we will recieve something even better. If thats the case then from my beliefe in God’s mercy, being all powerful, alas all things must be fixed yes? They must be to be in accordance to his soverign will. This means that absolutely everything is designed to be the way it is (or even allowed to be so) because it needs to fit into his overall plan. Is this correct? Without making too much assumptions and going too deep into discussion, i then concluded that for everything to be in accordance with his sovereign, again like the saying of people – what will be for you will be. Does that then mean you dont even need to pray for it? I have a 12 year old son whom i didnt plan. Surely even with that “accident” he is STILL part of God’s plan – even though i didn not consciously desire to make/ have him – “what will be for you will be”.
    Before i start to sound confusing – my question here is: IS EVERYTHING FIXED THEN ACCORDING TO GOD’s ULTIMATE PLAN???

    Im curious to know and would welcome your views. God bless.

    Odd Monk – 9/12/2007


  22. I live in a largely Calvinist community. But this doctrine is new to me. If someone would be willing to answer the questions I have, I would greatly appreciate. I see the scriptures that seem to indicate election and those that seem to indicate God’s grace is for all who seek Him. I am prayerful and as yet uncertain of the truth.

    My biggest hurdle is hell. If sovereign election is true, what is the point of eternally punishing those who have no hope of salvation?

    Which leads me to my second big hurdle. The character of God. What kind of horrible existance must a non-elect person have? A life on earth absent of God’s love and a spiritual eternity of hell. What kind of God would do that? Please help! I can’t reconcile “God is Love” with a truth that essentially puts an asterisk next to that statement…sort of “fine print”…”certain conditions apply, see store for details, void where prohibited”

    I am certain of God’s love for me. But my certainty gives me this combination of humility and overflowing gratitude. Now that I have experienced the grace, mercy and love of God it’s not enough that I have it, I want EVERYONE to have it!!! Why would He put that in me if it wasn’t possible?

    It is my joy to look someone in the eye with passion and conviction and tell them THEY ARE BELIEVING A LIE if they think there is no hope for them because of their past or because of their shortcomings. If I thought I might be wrong, depending on their preordained destiny – I wouldn’t be able to speak to them so convincingly!!!

    I am happy to have my email displayed, as I would love to hear any and all explanations for
    1) Hell
    2) The Character of God


  23. Lori,

    Hell awaits all people and that punishment is just because all are guilty. However, God has elected to save some, to show them mercy. Romans 9 makes it very clear that this is not injustice on God’s part.

    I would suggest that you first study the books of Romans and Ephesians. There are many good commentaries on it out there on these books from the Bible Then I suggest that you read these books.

    Chosen by God by R.C. Spoul
    Knowing God by J.I. Packer
    The Doctrines of Grace by Boice and Ryken

    All are easy reading. I have many other studies on this topic, but they are more doctrinally oriented.

    Also, I humbly submit the posts here on this blog. You can search for the topics you are interested in, but I suggest this one.

    In any case, start with prayer and the Bible. Study Romans and Ephesians before you tackle those books.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


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