Four Stages Of Mans Free Will

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Hi J____,
After reading the list of the four supposed stages of man’s free will, I was struck by the reference to what the reformers taught as opposed to what the scriptures teach:

Rom 9:11  for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,
Rom 9:12  it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Rom 9:13  Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
Rom 9:14  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Rom 9:15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.
Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth.
Rom 9:18  So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will be hardeneth.
Rom 9:19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he still find fault? For who withstandeth his will?
Rom 9:20  Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?
Rom 9:21  Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?

So much for what “the Reformers” taught about the four stages of free will. Which stage do these verses fit into? All of scripture teaches that our wills are the work of God:

Gen 45:4  And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I [ am] Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:8  So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

God tells us to “choose you this day,” and in the same breath, explains to us that our choices are really His workings. Who works our wills? Are our wills uninfluenced by God? Is that what Joseph told his bothers? Is that what the New Testament teaches?

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [ his] good pleasure.

The New Testament teaches the same thing the Old Testament teaches. Our wills are God’s workings.
Just how much does God work the affairs of mankind? This is not a guessing game. We have a clear straightforward answer to that question:

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

“All things” cannot be being worked after mankind’s free will and at the same time being worked “after the counsel of God’s own will.” There is no such thing as two free wills working “all things.” Your minister friend will hate, despise and even deny this next verse.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

If man has free will they how can these next two verses be true?

Pro 20:24  Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
Jer 10:23  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Which of these fabled “four stages of man’s will” do any of these inspired words of God fit into? When you don’t have scripture to back up your doctrine you are forced to turn to the Reformers.
One more thing I want to comment on before signing off here is this unscriptural “first stage of man’s free will:”
“Stage 1 – Pre- Fall – Adam and Eve – fully able to love God.  That was the point of the tree – that was true choice.
According to the New Testament, “the point of the tree” was not to be “fully able to love God, at all. If that is coming from the Reformers, then they simply make that up. The purpose for the tree is what its name says it is. These people are making God out to be a liar. God says that the purpose for the tree is to impart to Adam and Eve, “the knowledge of good and evil.”
That is what God said to Adam:

Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Not knowing the difference between good and evil means that man could not truly love God until He became aware of the naked, dying, dusty “corruptible flesh and blood” which the Potter had made man:

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [ it].

The Reformers were apparently unaware that “the Potter” had made Adam and Eve in a “corruptible body of flesh and blood” and had already slain a lamb to cover their “marred” sinful condition “from the foundation of the world, and He had called his elect “in Christ, before the world began.”

Rev 13:8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called [ us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Tit 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Now how can God have “a lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and know in advance about our “calling in Christ… before the world began,” if He had not already predestined Adam, and every one of us “in Adam” to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Where in all of scripture do we have any basis for a ‘tree of true choice?’ Of course it is not to be found. All eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, accomplished was to reveal to Adam and Eve, their naked, corruptible, earthy, dying into which the Potter had made them.

Jer 10:23 …The way of man [ Hebrew, Adam] was not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

The truth of God’s word, from Genesis to Revelation is:

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The death of Christ Himself was what God’s hand and God’s will had preordained to be done. It had nothing at all to do with the supposed ‘free will’ of Judas or the High Priest or Herod, or Pilate. It was all of God:

Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Again, which of the Reformer’s four stages of man’s free will do these verses belong in???
I hope this is of some use to you.
Your brother in Christ,
Mike

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