Did Paul Have Free Will?

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Posted February 3, 2005

Hi C____,

It is good to hear from you again.

It is hard to see that we have no free will. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but the reason it is so hard to accept is two- fold. One reason is the fact that we are not yet as familiar with God’s Word as we need to be. It took me years to see that God’s sovereignty is total; that He really does “work all things after the counsel of His own will.” The second reason is the fact that when we acknowledge God’s total sovereignty, what we are doing is dethroning the man of sin and replacing him with the one who belongs on the throne of our heart, Jesus Christ. To acknowledge God’s total sovereignty is to put Christ where He will some day be in us all, in complete control of all we say, think and do. He is already doing that, but since he is not in us to begin with, He has to operate through evil spirits working with us as with Adam and Eve, Job, Saul, David, Ahab, etc.

2Sa 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he [ the Lord] moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah

How did the Lord get David to do that which He had told David not to do?

1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

This is not a contradiction in God’s Word. It is simply a demonstration of how God “works all things after the counsel of His own will. It was the same method that was used in Eden and ever since. God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree. Then, as if they had decided to do so on their own, our original parents ate of the tree anyway. While it appears that they did this on their own, the Truth is that God had already supplied a sacrifice for what He already knew they would do. All Adam and Eve had to do was to refrain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But they couldn’t accomplish that because they were not made in such a way as to be able to obey God. Adam and Eve were both created “in the hand of the Potter,” in a “marred” condition.

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.

This is not written for the sake of ancient Israel, even though they, along with all the world, still think that it is. But this is the truth of this matter.

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them…: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

The ‘ends of the ages,’ the outcome of the ages, had come on no one until after Christ came and redeemed the entire human race of all time.

1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world [ Of all time].

In what way was Adam “marred?” God had deliberately formed Adam of the “dust of the ground.” And God did this knowing full well that:

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption[ flesh and blood] inherit incorruption.

Here we have a verse telling us something that the entire orthodox Christian world refuses to believe. They refuse to believe this verse because they have been caused to be unable to see it. The most learned ministers in Christendom cannot see this verse. It has not been “given unto them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” This verse plainly states that God created Adam “corruptible,” incapable of “inheriting the kingdom of God.”

Exactly what is it about the flesh that disqualifies it from being able to inherit the kingdom of God? Paul tells us that it is “corruptible.” But what is the fruit of this corruptible state in which God formed this “marred vessel of clay?” This is the state of every man who has ever been “formed of the dust of the ground:”

Rom 8:7 Because the carnal [ Greek- sarx] mind is enmity [ Greek- echthra – hostility, hatred] against God: for it is notsubject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The word ‘carnal’ here is the same word that is elsewhere translated ‘flesh.’

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh [ Greek- sarx] and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

God created Adam as ‘flesh.” God created Adam hostile toward God’s law. God created Adam with a “carnal mind.” That is why Eve committed every sin in the world before she ever ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yes, according to the apostle John, that is exactly what Eve did in her carnal condition in which she was created:

1Jn 2:16 For all [ sin] that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Now compare the Truth of this verse in 1 Jn 2, with all the sins Eve committed before she ever ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [“the lust of the flesh“], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [the lust of the eyes], and a tree to be desired to make one wise[[the pride of life], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Eve committed every sin which John says includes all sins, in the very order John listed the three categories of all sins.

And she completely, unashamedly accomplished this before she ever even realized just how sinfully “naked” she and Adam had been created.

Gen 2:25 And they were both naked [ marred in the hand of the Potter], the man and his wife, and were not ashamed [ because they were as yet unaware of their naked sinful condition].
Psa 51:5 Behold, I [ Adam and all in him] was shapen [ by the Potter Himself] in iniquity; and in sin did my mother [ Creator] conceive me.

The Potter “conceived” an earthen vessel prior to “making it again another vessel as seemed good unto the Potter.”

There is nothing that man has ever done or ever will do that comes outside of these scriptural parameters. The bombing of the World Trade Towers and the Tsunami we have just witnessed and that many are now experiencing “all things [ are] after the counsel of His own will.”

With all this in mind let us read what is said by the very people who “told Paul by the spirit that he should not go up to Jerusalem:

Act 21:12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done…

So you see, whether we obey the spirit or not, it is not because of our fabled ‘free,’ will. It is always because He is “working all things after the counsel of His own will. Whether Adam or Paul, the fullness of Truth on this matter we are discussing is:

Pro 20:24 >Man’s goings [ good or evil, yes even making children pass through fire to Molech] are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

You missed the point of:

Jer7:31 and 19:5 … and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind–

What is being said here by God is that He has never even considered tormenting men with fire. This verse gives the lie to the false doctrine of eternal torment in hell fire. Nowhere does God ever say that He has never put in into the minds of evil spirits to have men to both do and teach such horrors. He definitely has done that, inasmuch as it has been done, is being done and it is being taught that God Himself is doing this to our lost loved ones even as we speak. Nevertheless, the Truth is that such a thing is repugnant to a loving Father “who will have all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1Ti 2:4).

I hope I have made it clear that this was as hard for me to see as it is for you. Nevertheless I had to familiarize myself with God’s Word till I began to see what David meant in the Psalm I quoted earlier. Just before informing us that we are sin by nature, David reveals the purpose for his and all of our sins:

Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight [ killing Uriah so he could take Bathsheba for himself]: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psa 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Psa 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psa 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; [ that] the bones [ which] thou hast broken may rejoice.
Psa 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psa 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Psa 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [ with thy] free spirit.
Psa 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Just like Adam, we are given the law. The law was given to show us our nakedness. Not knowing this, we take the law and use it to show God how well dressed we are. The purpose for all law is “that you [ God] might be justified when you speak and be clear when you judge.” God made us as we are so He can hold us accountable for our sins which He knows in advance we will commit. It is all by design so that He can deliver us from what we are “and make us another vessel as seems right unto the Potter to make us.”

The Truth of God’s Word is to this day, “not given unto them [ the multitudes of God’s people] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” “Many are called but few are chosen” to ever see the “hidden wisdom” to which both David and Paul refer:

Psa 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

The multitudes know Christ and Him crucified. They do not understand what is “behind of the afflictions of Christ” (Col 1:24). Such thoughts are getting into the “hidden wisdom” of God:

1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you [ spiritual babes in Christ], save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect [ Greek- mature]: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even] the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this [ fallen Christian] world knew: for had they known it [ God’s hidden wisdom, Christ], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

This is “hidden wisdom” to this day. When you do understand it, it will be “in the inward parts.” That is where Christ sits on His throne, if indeed he is on His throne in our hearts.

When you do understand this “hidden wisdom,” it will be for this one and only reason: ” Flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you but my Father which is in heaven.”

I hope this has answered your “conundrum,” for you. God grant you “eyes to see and ears to hear.”


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