Calvinism, Arminianism and Free Will Explained Clearly With 136 Verses

“Calvinism, Arminianism, So What?”

Who Gets Credit for Your Decision for Christ:
The Evangelist, You, or God?

  • Why are you a Christian, but your unconverted friend is not?
  • Where did your repentance and faith come from: You or God?
  • Understand Calvinism, Arminianism & free will explained simply
    with one chart, 23 questions, and 136 verses…

By Greg Gibson
JesusSaidFollowMe.org

Have you ever wondered why you’re a Christian, but your unconverted friend is not? Why did you receive Christ, but your friend rejected Him? Did you hear a better evangelist? Or, were you smarter than your friend? Or, did God make you to differ? (And, how can Calvinism and Arminianism help you understand the answer?)

In each of the 2 columns below, there are several verses. Which verses are true, the ones on the left, or the ones on the right? Since the Bible is true (“inerrant,”) we must interpret both sets of “seemingly contradictory” verses. How can we harmonize both sets of verses so they’re both true at the same time? Look for any verses that clearly state sinners can/can’t or are able/unable to come to Christ…

Which Verses Are True: Those on the Left or Right?
Are Sinners Able or Unable to Come to Christ?


Human Responsibility to Come to Christ

1. “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15)

2. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

3. “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God.” (Jn. 7:17)

4. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (Jn. 7:37)

5. “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized” (Acts 2:38)

6. “Repent therefore and be converted” (Acts 3:19)

7. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31)

8. “but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30)

9. “Whoever wills, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

Human Inability to Come to Christ

1. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? (No!) Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jer. 13:23)

2. “How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Mt. 12:34)

3. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Mt. 7:18)

4. “‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Mt. 19:25-26)

5. “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Jn. 3:3)

6. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (Jn. 6:44)

7. “no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (Jn. 6:65)

8. “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” (Jn. 8:43)

9. “They could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Jn. 12:39-40)

10. “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6)

11. “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7)

12. “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8)

13. “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

On the left, are 9 verses inviting or commanding sinners to repent, believe, and come to Christ. These verses make sinners responsible to come to Christ. Notice, the number of verses that clearly state sinners can or are able to come to Christ: 0

On the right, are 13 verses clearly stating sinners can’t come to Christ. (In addition, the Bible contains 3 verses clearly showing Christians inability to do anything for Christ, without His power: Jn. 15:5; 1 Cor. 12:3; Heb. 11:6. If Christians are unable to do anything without God’s ability, then how much more impotent are unregenerate sinners?)

Which verses are true? The verses on the left stating sinners must come to Christ, or the verses on the right stating sinners can’t come to Christ? Since God’s Word is inerrant, they’re both true. Then, how can we harmonize both sets of “seemingly contradictory” verses so they’re both true at the same time?

3 Different Views of Our Responsibility vs. Inability to Believe

There are 3 popular views attempting to interpret the above verses: Arminianism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Calvinism. Of the 3, Arminianism and Hyper-Calvinism are the 2 extremes. Calvinism is the middle view.

1. Human Ability vs. No Interpretation (Some Arminians)

Many Arminians interpret the verses on the left labeled “Human Responsibility” at the expense of the verses on the right labeled “Human Inability.” Most have no interpretation for the 13 verses on the right explicitly stating sinners can’t, or aren’t able to come to Christ. They interpret the verses on the left commanding responsibility as though they implied ability. Here’s their logical fallacy:


The Logical Fallacy of Some Arminians

First Premise: God commands sinners to repent, believe & come to Christ.
Assumed Premise: (God would not command what we’re unable to do.)
Conclusion: Therefore, sinners are able to repent, believe & come to Christ.

There is no proof for the 2nd premise. It’s assuming what you’re trying to prove. Plus, if we could find only one example in Scripture where God commands more than we are able, it would also refute the assumption.

6 Examples Where God Commanded the Impossible

Below, are 6 examples where God commands humans to do something which they do not have the ability to do. In the first 4 verses, God commanded physically dead corpses to live. But, they had no desire or ability to respond, until God first gave them new life, with new desire and ability. (Likewise, we’ll see later that He commands spiritually dead men to live, then gives them new life-regeneration, desire, and ability.)

1. “Prophecy to these (dead) bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!’” (Ezek. 37:4 Notice, those dead bones had no ability to hear the word of the Lord. God had to give those skeletons life first, before they had the ability to hear the word of the Lord.)

2. “a dead man was being carried out…Then He came and touched the open coffin…and He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’” (Lk. 7:14 The dead man couldn’t hear, until Christ first gave His miraculous power to him.)

3. “Your daughter is dead…He…took her by the hand and called saying, ‘Little girl, arise.’ Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately.” (Lk. 8:49-55 The dead girl had no power to arise until Christ gave it to her.)

4. “Lazarus, come forth!” (Jn. 11:43, Lazarus was dead! He had no ability to come forth. First, God had to make him alive before He had the ability to come forth.)

5. “Therefore you shall be perfect (complete), just as your father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48)

6. “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)

Just as it took a supernatural miracle to raise the physically dead before they could respond, so it takes a supernatural miracle to raise (regenerate) the spiritually dead before they can respond.

“Just as it took a supernatural miracle to raise the physically dead before they could respond, so it takes a supernatural miracle to raise (regenerate) the spiritually dead before they can respond.”

2. No Interpretation vs. Human Inability (Some Hyper-Calvinists)

Many Hyper-Calvinists interpret the verses on the right labeled “Human Inability” at the expense of the verses on the left labeled “Human Responsibility.” They don’t command or invite all men to repent, believe, & come to Christ. They don’t proclaim the gospel to all sinners. They preach the gospel selectively only to those they think are elect.


The Logical Fallacy of Some Hyper-Calvinists

First Premise: Sinners are unable to repent, believe & come to Christ.
Assumed Premise: (God would not command what we’re unable to do.)
Conclusion:
Therefore, don’t ask sinners to repent, believe & come to Christ.

Notice, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism share the exact same assumed premise: “God would not command what is unable.” Both Arminianism and Hyper-Calvinism exalt human reason above Divine revelation. They resort to humanism-rationalism.

3. Human Responsibility vs. Human Inability (Calvinism)

Sinners are responsible to repent, believe, and come to Christ. Yet, at the same time, they’re unable to repent, believe, and come to Christ. This is the only solution that can harmonize both sets of “seemingly contradictory” verses as simultaneously true.

(If it seems unfair to you that God holds rebels responsible for what they’re unable to do, then please remember no one deserves salvation. True justice would be hell for the whole human race, wouldn’t it? So, if God decides to give to some the desire and ability to come to Christ, then that’s undeserved grace!)

But, why then does God command and invite sinners to believe, if they’re unable? Perhaps, He uses the commands/invitations to come to Christ, as the “means to the end.”

In other words, perhaps He uses the command to repent, as the means to granting repentance. And, He uses the command to believe, as the means to giving the gift of faith. And, He uses the invitation to come to Christ, as the means to give the desire and ability to come.

The idea that God uses commands as a means to an end is also demonstrated in how He preserves us in salvation. For, He actually warns true Christians of eternal damnation in Jn. 15:2, 6; Rom. 11:20-22; 1 Cor. 9:25, 27; Rev. 22:19, etc. And at the same time, He promises us eternal security. How then can we reconcile these 2 “seemingly contradictory” truths? It’s simple…

He uses the warnings of losing our salvation as the means to preserve us in His promised eternal salvation. His warnings of losing salvation are the means He uses to keep us persevering to the end

Here’s a clear example where God used warning as the means to the end of fulfilling His promise.


Promises of Divine Security:
“there will be no loss of life among you…” (Acts 27:22)
“God has granted you all those…with you.” (Acts 27:24)
“not a hair will fall from the head of any…” (Acts 27:34)

Warning of Human Responsibility:
“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31)

Now, how in the world could God possibly warn of those sailors losing their lives, since He just promised that they wouldn’t lose their lives? It’s simple…God used the warning of death to keep them in the ship, to preserve them from death.

Likewise, He uses the command to repent, as the means to grant repentance. And, He uses the command to believe, as a means to give the gift of faith. And, He uses the invitations to come to Christ, as the means to draw sinners to Christ. To understand how God saved you, keep reading…

There are 2 popular views of how God saves sinners:

1. Some believe all sinners are born with the desire and ability to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and exercise their own “free will” to choose Christ. (Arminianism)

2. Some believe that in the Fall, all sinners lost the desire and ability to come to Christ. So, God graciously gives to some both the desire and ability to freely will to choose Christ. (Calvinism)

So, before we examine what God has said in the Bible about who gets the credit for salvation, let’s consider a few introductory thoughts…

The question is settled if we can find only one verse clearly stating:

Sinners can come to Christ.
or
Sinners are able to come to Christ.
or
It’s possible for sinners to come to Christ.

Human logic or reason could never ever explain away such a clear statement of sinners’ ability to come to Christ.

Or, the question is settled if we can find only one verse clearly stating:

Sinners can’t come to Christ.
or
Sinners are not able to come to Christ.
or
It’s impossible for sinners to come to Christ.

Again, human logic or reason could never explain away such a clear statement of sinners inability to come to Christ.

Many Doctrinal Errors Interpret One Set of Verses
At the Expense of Another Set of Verses

This common interpretive error is made by both cultists and Christians. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a good example. You quote a verse about Christ’s deity. Then, they reply by saying, “But, what about this other verse?” (It’s as if their verse makes your verse false.) When you hear the reply, “But, what about this verse,” it may be a sign of interpreting Scripture against itself.

Instead of harmonizing both verses as true, the JW’s interpret one verse at the expense of another verse. In effect, one verse is true, while the other verse is false, or has no interpretation. They interpret Scripture as “either/or,” when they should interpret it as “both/and.”

If you have no interpretation for a verse or set of verses, that’s always the wrong interpretation. It’s a sign that something is wrong with your system. When a verse won’t fit into your system, it’s time to reconsider your system.

“If you have no interpretation for a verse or set of verses, that’s always the wrong interpretation.”

But, What About Free Will?

The phrase “free will” is found in the Bible 16 times. All 16 times it means “voluntary.” Fifteen of those times it’s used of a freewill (voluntary) offering. Not one of those 16 times does “free will” refer to salvation. Also, the idea that man has a “free will” independent from God’s rule, probably had its origin in heathen, Greek philosophy.

“…the idea that man has a ‘free will’ independent from God’s rule, probably had its origin in heathen, Greek philosophy.”

Those Who Use the Phrase “Free Will” Rarely Define it

“Free will” is the topic everyone assumes, but few define. If “free will” is defined as the “ability and desire to will to receive Christ”, then that contradicts the 13 verses in the right column above. But, if “free will” is defined as “voluntary will to make choices,” then humans have “free will.”

We have free will in the sense we freely (voluntarily) will whatever we have both the desire and ability to do. God influences us by circumstances, thoughts, and power so we become voluntarily willing to fulfill His will. Perhaps a better phrase than “free will” is “voluntary will.”

You may be surprised to discover that many Protestants share the Jesuit-Romanist view of free will. They think sinners have some inner desire and ability to “prepare and cooperate” with the Holy Spirit for salvation. They don’t understand that since the Fall, humans are spiritually dead, blind, and deaf, with no desire or ability to choose Christ. They don’t see the need for God to first give new birth, faith, and repentance, before sinners can “freely will” to choose Christ.

Many Protestants Believe the Jesuit- Roman Catholic View of Free Will
(The Roman Catholic Council of Trent, The Sixth Session: Justification)

Canon IV. If any one saith, that man’s free will moved and excited by God, by assenting to God exciting and calling, no-wise co-operates towards disposing and preparing itself for obtaining the grace of Justification; that it cannot refuse its consent, if it would, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive; let him be anathema.

Canon V. If any one saith, that, since Adam’s sin, the free will of man is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing with only a name, yea a name without a reality, a figment, in fine, introduced into the Church by Satan; let him be anathema.

Actually, you probably already believe that God’s will rules man’s will, but you just didn’t know it…

4 Examples How God’s Will Rules Man’s Will

1. Inspiration of Scripture
2. Infallibility of Bible prophecy
3. Eternal security
4. Heaven/new earth

1. Inspiration of Scripture: Do you believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture? If so, then you believe God ruled the wills of the Bible authors. They did not have “free will” to write errors in Scripture. Thankfully, the Lord kept their wills from error.

“All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16)

2. Infallibility of Bible Prophecy: Do you believe the Bible prophecies are infallible? If so, then you believe God ruled the wills of the prophets. They did not have “free will” to prophesy errors. God inspired the Old Testament prophets to prophesy accurately about the coming Messiah. During the inspiration process, He influenced and ruled their wills to keep them from error:

“no prophecy of the Scripture came into being of its own private interpretation. For prophecy was not borne at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:2-21)

That’s why the test of a true prophet vs. a false prophet is the infallibility of their predictions (Deut. 18:21-22.) If the prophets could have exercised their own wills, free from God’s control, then they never could have infallibly predicted Christ’s virgin birth, city of birth, suffering death, resurrection, second coming, etc.

3. Eternal Security: Do you believe in “eternal security?” If so, then you believe God rules believers’ wills. Most Christians agree they can’t fall away finally from Christ. Christians don’t have “free will” to become atheists or Satan worshippers. Thankfully, the Lord influences our wills to keep us believing and persevering in Him until the end.

“I will give you a new heart (will) and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart (will) of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek. 36:quot;Arial?strong
26-27)

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

4. Heaven/New Earth: Finally, even if you don’t believe in eternal security in this life, still you probably believe Christians can never leave heaven or the new earth. If so, then you believe God rules His peoples’ wills. No one in heaven is free to leave and choose Hell. God will keep them willingly in heaven forever.

So, if you believe in biblical inerrancy, prophetic infallibility, or eternal security, then you already believe man doesn’t have a 100% “free will.” God’s will sovereignly rules our wills. And, I’m glad He does, aren’t you?

“So, if you believe in biblical inerrancy, prophetic infallibility, or eternal security, then you already believe man doesn’t have a 100% ‘free will.’ God’s will sovereignly rules our wills.”

23 Questions on Calvinism vs. Arminianism

Below, you’ll see 23 simple questions designed to help you decide what God has said in the Bible about how we come to Christ. Some of the verses answer the questions explicitly, while others offer implicit principles for your consideration.

Granted, some of the either/or answers may not necessarily be mutually exclusive. (You can make them mutually exclusive by adding before each question the phrase, “In this/these verse[s]…) Yet, taken as a whole, these verses are (Acts 17:30) p align=”left” class=”MsoNormal” style=”"/p/strongb Do you believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture? If so, then you believe God ruled the wills of the Bible authors. They did not have “free will” to write errors in Scripture. Thankfully, the Lord kept their wills from error.strong a powerful witness to God’s sovereign rule over our salvation.

All Christians believe humans make choices. The issue is how do we choose Christ – by internal, self ability and desire, or external, God-given ability and desire? And, if God gives His ability and desire to us, can we resist, or does He prevail?

1. Was your will free from Satan’s control, yes or no?

“So ought not this woman…whom Satan has bound…for 18 years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Lk. 13:16)

“the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:26)

2. Was your will free from sin’s control, yes or no?

“His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, &? he is caught in the cords of his sin.” (Pr. 5:22)

“whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jn. 8:34)

“For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:23)

“you were slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:17)

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, slaving various lusts and pleasures” (Tit. 3:3)

“they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” (2 Pet. 2:19)

3. Is God sovereign & in control over humans’ wills including yours, no or yes?

“you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20)

“But I will harden his (Pharaoh’s) heart, so that he will not let the people go.” (Ex. 4:21)

“And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.” (Ex. 12:36)

“And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen.” (Ex. 14:17)

“But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand” (Deut. 2:30)

“For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them” (Josh. 11:20)

“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech” (Jud. 9:23)

“the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’” (2 Sam. 24:1)

“The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets” (1 Kings 22:23)

“that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom” (Ezra 1:1-3)

“the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God” (Ezra 6:22)

“He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants.” (Ps. 105:25)

“A man’s heart (will) plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Pr. 16:9)

“The king’s heart (will) is in the hand of the LORD…He turns it wherever He wishes. (Pr. 21:1)

“Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger…I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge…Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so” (Is. 10:5-7)

“For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (Is. 14:27)

“Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure’” (Is. 44:28)

“I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever” (Jer. 32:39)

“I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” (Jer. 32:40)

“I will give you a new heart (will) and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart (will) of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek. 36:26-27)

“For His dominion is and everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?” (Dan. 4:34-35)

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:27-28)

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

“Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” (Rom. 9:19)

“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Cor. 12:11)

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

“Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” (Jas. 4:15)

“For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” (Rev. 17:17)

God Is in Control of ALL Things,
and Sovereign Over ALL Things

Wow! Could God possibly make it any clearer that He controls our wills? What we’re saying is: God is in control (of ALL things, even salvation.) He is sovereign (over ALL things, even salvation.) Most Christians acknowledge He’s in control only in a general, vague sense. But, He tells us He’s in control of every minute detail of His universe, even your decisions, and the number of hairs on your head.

In the Fall, Did Adam & His Offspring Lose
Their Desire and Ability to Come to Christ?

4. After Adam and Eve sinned, did they move toward God, or hide from Him?

“Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Gen. 3:8)

5. Did Adam initiate contact with God, or did God initiate contact with Adam?

“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Gen. 3:9)

6. As a fallen sinner, were you just spiritually sick, or spiritually dead?

“for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)

“you…who were dead in trespasses and sins…even when you were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:1, 5)

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive” (Col. 2:13)

The spiritually dead can’t raise themselves. They must be raised by God.

7. Could you spiritually see the gospel, or were you spiritually blind?

“yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive & eyes to see & ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4)

“I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Mt. 13:13-15)

“Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’” (Jn. 12:38-40)

“to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 26:18)

“there is none who understands” (Rom. 3:11)

“But their minds were blinded.” (2 Cor. 3:14)

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4)

The blind can’t see, until God first gives them sight.

8. Could you spiritually hear the gospel, or were you spiritually deaf?

“yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive & eyes to see & ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4)

“I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Mt. 13:13-15)

9. When you were spiritually dead, blind, & deaf, did you desire & seek God, yes or no?

“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.” (Gen. 6:5)

“men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (Jn. 3:19)

“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light” (Jn. 3:20)

“haters of God” (Rom. 1:30)

“There is none who seeks after God.” (Rom. 3:11)

“I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” (Rom. 10:20)

10. Are unbelievers not sheep because they don’t believe, or do they not believe because they’re not sheep?

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep.” (Jn. 10:26)

11. When you were spiritually dead, deaf & blind, were you born again by your will, or God’s will?

“who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn. 1:13)

“it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” (Rom. 9:16)

“of His own will He brought us forth (birthed us) by the word of truth” (Jas. 1:18)

How much of a part did you have in willing your own physical conception? None! Your parents conceived you by their own wills. As it is with physical birth, so it is with spiritual birth. You didn’t ask to be birthed. The Father birthed you.

Then, the question arises, “If fallen, dead, deaf, blind sinners can’t come to Christ, then how do they come to Christ?” Does God give the new birth because they believed, or so that they can believe? In other words, is faith the cause of the new birth, or is the new birth the cause of faith?

To believe that fallen, dead, deaf, blind sinners repented and believed to be born again is like getting the cart before the horse. Logically, they must have first been spiritually born again, before they could repent and believe in Christ.

Well, whether faith or the new birth comes first is irrelevant – because God gives not only the new birth, but also faith and repentance, so He gets all the credit, as you’ll see below…

12. Did God predestine your adoption & inheritance according to your will, or His will?

“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5)

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11)

13. Did God choose you because you would believe, or so that you would believe?

“God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thes. 2:13)

14. Whose choice made the ultimate difference, the apostles’ choice, or God’s choice?

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit” (Jn. 15:16)

15. Whose will made Paul an apostle, his own will, or God’s will?

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (1 Cor. 1:1)

16. Did God call you according to your purpose (will,) or His purpose?

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom (not “what”) He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:28-29)

“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Tim. 1:9)

17. Who opened your heart, you or God?

“He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Lk. 24:45)

“The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14)

18. How many of the lost does God call/draw, all or only some?

“Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Mt. 11:27)

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn. 6:44)

“Moreover whom He predestined, these he also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”(Rom. 8:30)

19. How many of those whom God calls/draws respond, some or all?

“And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)

“whom He called, these He also justified” (Rom. 8:30)

“concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom. 11:28-29)

20. Who did your repentance come from, you or God?

“Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5: 31)

“God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:18)

“those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25-26)

21. Who did your faith come from, you or God?

“…those who had believed through grace” (Acts 18:27)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8)

“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer…” (Phil. 1:29)

“God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thes. 2:13)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (Jas. 1:17)

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2)

“to those who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God” (2 Pet. 1:1)

22. Who made the difference in your decision for Christ, the evangelist or God?

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7)

23. Who made the difference in your decision for Christ, you or God?

“that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus…that as is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (1 Cor. 1:29-31)

“For who makes you differ? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? (1 Cor. 4:7)

“But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

If you made the difference in your decision for Christ, then you’d have reason to boast, wouldn’t you? Many credit God for 99% of salvation, and themselves for the other 1% (their decision.) Will you give Him ALL the glory?

Man Gets the Credit for Sin,
But God Gets the Credit for Salvation

Ever since Adam and Eve’s Fall, their offspring are spiritually dead, deaf, and blind. And, they freely, willingly, voluntarily choose sin instead of God. So, the Bible always makes man responsible for his sin. God is never responsible for man’s sin.

But, ever since Adam and Eve’s Fall, God (by His undeserved grace) initiates contact with some sinners. He gives them new birth, new desire and ability to freely, willingly, and voluntarily choose Him. So, the Bible always gives God the credit for salvation. Humans are never credited with having achieved salvation.

Undeserved Grace

Praise Him that He’s chosen to save some because of His undeserved grace. He could have justly chosen to save none. That’s what He did for the fallen angels. They have no plan of salvation, no opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. They don’t deserve it, and neither do we!

He could have justly left Adam and Eve and all the rest of us to perish in hell. He didn’t have to design a plan of salvation. He doesn’t owe salvation to anyone. He freely chose to redeem a people for Himself, to the praise of His glorious grace.

So, who made the difference in your conversion: The evangelist, you, or God? Who gets the credit and glory for your decision for Christ: The evangelist, you, or God? God made the difference, didn’t He. Yes, God gets all the credit and all the glory for saving us, doesn’t He?

Dear saint, if He has given you the gifts of new life, repentance, and faith, then won’t you humbly bow down low right now, to thank Him, and worship Him!

So now, who made the difference in your salvation?

1. If the evangelist makes the difference in conversion:

Then, if you’re an imperfect evangelist, there’s little hope God can use you. For, if sinners’ response depends on the evangelist’s clarity and persuasiveness, then we should despair of their conversion. Even the most persuasive, logical, clear gospel presentations are often rejected. It can be very frustrating to faithfully give out the gospel only to see it rejected time after time.

2. If the hearer makes the difference in conversion:

Then, if you’re witnessing to an extremely hard-hearted sinner, there’s little hope God can save them. For, if unbelievers’ response depends on their interest, intelligence, morality, desire or ability, then we should despair of their conversion.

Sinners’ hearts are so hardened by sin that most show no interest in the true Christ. Often, their hearts are hardened by false religion, pride, greed, sexual immorality, or some other secret sin. Some even go so far as to publicly criticize the gospel and resist Him.

Unbelievers reject Christ not just because they’re not persuaded the gospel is true. If they do try to claim skepticism, it’s often only an excuse to justify their sin. They reject Christ because they love sin and hate Him. (Plus, if unbelievers make the difference in their own conversion, then what if their faith is imperfect?)

3. If God makes the difference in conversion:

Then yes, there’s hope He can use even imperfect evangelists, like you. And yes, there’s hope for even the worst of sinners. God by His power can change even hardened occultists like King Manasseh. He can change even persecutors like Saul. If God makes the difference, then we can evangelize with confidence in His power to change sinners.

Witness with Confidence in God’s Power to Save Sinners

So, we can witness with confidence in God’s power to change sinners because He makes the difference – no matter how hard-hearted the hearers are, and no matter how skilled an evangelist you are. Now do you understand Calvinism, Arminianism, so what?

Now, go and take the good news of Christ crucified and raised, to all nations. Make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. Surely He will be with you always, to the end of the age.

How Does Your View of Who Makes the
Difference in Conversion Affect Your Life?

What you believe about who makes the difference in conversion affects how you’ll evangelize. And, it will also affect your…

  • Humility?
    Do you ever struggle with the temptation of pride, looking down on sinners, lacking compassion for them? Do you ever feel like you’re better than them, because you were more moral or smarter than them to choose Christ?

  • Thanksgiving?
    Have you lost that fresh sense of thanksgiving to God for His miracle of saving you?

  • Worship?
    How long has it been since your heart was filled with reverence, wonder, and love to God for including you in “so great a salvation?”

More studies on Calvinism at JesusSaidFollowMe.org:

“Half-Truth Hyper-Calvinism”

Balance the above study on God’s sovereignty with our responsibility. How often do you talk about God’s sovereignty? For those who talk twice as much about God’s sovereignty as our responsibility. See 3 definitions, 3 charts, 126 verses, and the 11 Points of Anti-Hyper Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism

Why Limited Atonement Is Not Part of the Gospel”

The apostles never once preached limited atonement in their gospel messages to the lost in Acts. Limited Atonement – Gospel

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