Is God Sovereign Over Our Will?

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Is God Sovereign Over Our Will?

Hi Again,

I very much appreciate that you mentioned you realize I am extremely busy, but I still want to answer every honest truth-seeking e-mail I receive, and this one seems to be such an e-mail. As I mentioned to you in our very first exchange, I myself struggled for two long years with the very thoughts you express in your e-mails. I was very upset at the thought of having no free will, and felt as you do that if that were the case, then I really do not matter much, and I am nothing more than a puppet on a set of God’s strings to be manipulated as He sees fit. But as I continued to search the scriptures, and as I applied the keys to the kingdom in doing so, I began to see that whether I could understand or appreciate it the facts of the scriptures are that “who [the Lord] wills He hardens and who He will He shows mercy”, and that all of this was decided “before the world began”.

In time the Lord gave me to ‘lean not to my own understanding’, and to accept His very clear words that “it is [He] who is working in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure”, and that my salvation and the salvation of all men is not of Him that wills, nor of him that runs, but  of God that shows mercy” or hardens in this age. Either way, it is all of God and “not of him that wills”. I notice below you reference that very verse (Rom 9:16) and infer from that verse that we have free will, when the very opposite is the very point the spirit is making.

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

You seem to be simply seeking to know what is the mind of God, so I will ask you to contrast “it is not of him that wills” with your words:

What does “not of him that wills” mean if it is not “you do not have a free will” that is independent of the will of God? Just look at what precedes the words “So then it is not of him that wills nor of him that runs, but [it is] of God that shows mercy”.

Here is what precedes the words “So then…”:

Rom 9:9  For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
Rom 9:10  And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works [not of man’s will], but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have 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 will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Rebecca and Isaac, just like Abraham and Sarah before them, willed of their own to have a son. But God wanted them to know that He does nothing after the counsel of our will, so Rebecca was barren until the time appointed of God for her to have children. Her and Isaac’s so called ‘free will’ didn’t even come into the equation, for the very purpose of teaching us:

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that [either] sheweth mercy [or else “hardens”].

Nothing that happened was “by the will of the flesh nor by the will of man, but [by the will] of God”. That is what the scriptures teach, but look at how that doctrine is introduced to us:

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

As always the scriptures do exactly what they are intended to do to those who are “not given eyes to see” them in the “line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” way in which we are told they are deliberately written for the express purpose of causing us to “fall backward, be broken and snared and taken”:

Isa 28:9  Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
Isa 28:10  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Isa 28:11  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isa 28:12  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
Isa 28:13  But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

The Lord teaching in parables was for that very same reason and for that same purpose. His parables were never designed to make the meaning of His teachings clearer. The exact opposite is true until this very day:

Mat 13:9  Who hath [been given, vs 11] ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them [the multitudes who come to Christ until this very day] in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mat 13:12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Mat 13:13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mat 13:16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

My e-sword has the subhead “The Purpose of The Parables”, and yet not one Sunday school or Sabbath school teacher in a thousand has been given eyes to see the words right here before their eyes. Those are the Lord’s own words with which He tells us He has blinded our eyes and has stopped our ears from understanding His message. Here we have the doctrine of Christ Himself telling us that it is not to given any of us at first to see what the Lord is telling us all: “It is not given to [the multitudes of Christians] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”, and that is the very purpose for Christ’s parables. But it is the false doctrine of  ‘mankind’s free will’ which keeps us from seeing the Truths which are throughout scripture very clearly declaring to us “it is not of him that wills… but of God…” (Rom 9:16). It is God who works our will and our actions for His good pleasure (Php 2:12-13), the preparations of the heart and the answer of the tongue are from the Lord (Pro 16:1), and He makes all things for Himself including the wicked man within us for the day of evil within us (Pro 16:4).

Was there any doubt in God’s mind that Israel might choose to accept their Savior and not crucify Him? There was about as much chance of that happening as there was of Adam and Eve choosing of their own will to be obedient to the Lord’s commandment not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, when God had already “called us in [the slain] Christ before the world began”, and already had Christ “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 [free will], but according to his own purpose [“His own will”, Eph 1:11] 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;

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.

Now let the scriptures demonstrate how the truth of the total sovereignty of God is hidden right out in plain sight. Let’s go back to John 3:12 where it seemed to be saying that we must receive Christ of our own free will before we can become the sons of God. Here is where we left off:

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

That sure sounds like the only people who “become the sons of God” are those who “receive him”, and there is no doubt that is true. The only people who believe on Christ will be those who “receive Him”. But where in John 1:12 are we told that those who ‘receive Christ’ and are “given the power to become the sons of God” do so of their own free will? The answer is that manifestly it is simply not there. That verse does not say that at all. It is our preconceived false doctrines, what Ezekiel calls our “idols of the heart” (Eze 14:1-9), which deceive us into making that verse say, “As many as [of their own free will] receive Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who [of their own free will] believe on His name.” That false doctrine blinds our eyes from the truth of the very next verse of scripture:

Joh 1:13  Which were born, [“become the sons of God] not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

So there is just one more verse saying that our salvation is not of our will, which you [and me, too, at my own time] have told others that it doesn’t say. Here are your own words:

“When God chooses to do that?” Well, if God’s will is supreme and cannot be resisted – “when God chooses to do that”, then we need to ask, “How often are we told He ‘chooses to do that'”? With whom and with which things does He tell us that His will cannot be resisted?” Here are the scriptures:

2Ch 20:6  And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

If nations and rulers cannot withstand the will of God, how much less can we as individuals? So what or which things exactly is God, as you say, “choos[ing to demonstrate to us ‘that [His] will is supreme?'”

Here is the 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:

Our will is not even a consideration to a God who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will.”  No, the Lord is not paranoid of Himself because He “is working all things after the counsel of His own will”, nor when He tells us He repents of making man, bringing Israel up out of Egypt, anointing King Saul, etc:

Gen 6:6  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Exo 32:14  And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Jdg 2:18  And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

1Sa 15:35  And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

The point being made every time we read ‘the Lord repented’ is that He has given mankind an evil experience for the very purpose of demonstrating to us the sinfulness of our dying composition as “the first man Adam”, a marred vessel of clay with the law of sin firmly placed “within [our] members [by the] one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy… after the counsel of His own will.”

It is not my intention to challenge you, knowing you are exactly where the Lord has you, but it is my purpose and commission to show you what the Lord blinded me from seeing for over 45 years of my own life. In all of those years I felt exactly as you express in these e-mails. I thank God that He has mercifully seen fit to open my eyes and ears to see and to hear the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, which blessing is not given to the multitudes of Christians who believe on Christ but do not abide in His word.

Now, let’s examine what comes after the words “So then” in:

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Will we find something in the words following this verse which will in any way lead us to believe that mankind has been given a will that is independent of God’s will? I do not think that is what we are about to read, but let’s read on:

Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose [Pharaoh’s destruction and the destruction of Egypt, all symbolizing Adam as the Lord’s marred vessel of clay] have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19  Thou [You and me] wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 

Romans 9:19 perfectly summarizes all of your questions and all of my questions and the feelings of all mankind concerning what the scriptures teach about God making all things for Himself, yes, even the wicked, such as Pharaoh, and placing “the law of sin in [our] members” and “working all things after the counsel of His own will” without any mention anywhere in scripture that He has to deal with our fabled free will. We are even actually plainly told that our will is in His hands to be worked as He wills:

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.

I quoted verse 12 for all my life, as proof positive that we have free will, and I was not able to see verse 13 because for all those years I was “not given to see the mysteries of the kingdom of God” (Mat 13:10-15).

I also quoted John 1:12 as further proof we have free will, totally blinded to the very next verse stating the exact opposite of what I was forcing upon verse 12:

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

As you do in this e-mail, I, too, quoted this verse in the exact same way you quote it as proof that Christ had His own will that was not worked by His Father:

Just like you, I simply could not see the entire verse which actually in its entirety says:

Joh 10:18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

I do not for one moment think you deliberately left of the last half of that verse. I know I never deliberately did such a thing. The truth is that until we are given eyes that see and ears that hear, a person could put Romans 9:16 right in front of our eyes, slap us in the face and tell us to read this: “It is not of him that wills!!!”, and we still would not be able to see it because the Lord Himself has “given us eyes that see but do not perceive, and ears that hear but do not understand” (Mat 13:10-15, and Eze 14:1-9) and:

Rom 11:8  (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. )

Christ actually went to great lengths to let us all know that everything He said and did was only what His Father gave Him to say and to do:

Joh 8:28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Joh 8:29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

So yes, like Adam and Eve, like Joseph’s brothers, and like Pharaoh, and like all of us, we all have a “will of man” which is contrary to the will of God, but the scriptures tell us plainly that it is all being “worked after the counsel of His own will”, and nothing is ever done which is outside of Him working “all things” in that way.

So what is the answer of the scriptures to our challenge to God that He has no right to complain if He really is working all things after the counsel of His own will? Here is your question in the email you sent me today:

My own flesh rebels against and does not like how the scriptures answer your question, but it cannot be denied that this is His own answer to us when we tell God He has no right to be angry or sad at what man does when everything man does arises from God’s 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 hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

“Why have you made me thus” would certainly include being made with a law of sin within our members to later be called ‘our own lusts which entice us’. Yes, indeed, that verse in James does sound like we have our own lusts, but the scriptures have already told us that when we sin “it is not I that do it, but sin that is in my members.” As Joseph told his ten brothers, “It was not you that sent me here [sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt] but God” and he told them that after twice telling his brothers, “You [chose to] sell me into Egypt.”

So God really is “working all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11) not just some things or most things but “all things”, and it is all for the purpose of saving all who are in Adam, for the very reason that God has made us sin for the purpose of humbling us and saving all men from their sins:

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it. (CLV)

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

1Ti 4:10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 

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.

God has “before ordained [that] as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Co 15:22). He is accomplishing this “every man in His own order”, and that order is “Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” having already been judged and having already been put through His fiery words of judgment in this age, being promised they “will not be hurt of the second death” (Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6) because they were given to “die daily” (1Co 15:31) and be “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) in this age, and having already been judged in this age (1Pe 4:17), so as to avoid the resurrection of judgment (Joh 5:27-29), and the great white throne judgment, also known as “the second death” of the second group of mankind who have not yet been judged, nor have yet died to their old man while in this age and must yet do so in the “lake of fire/second death, in which all men of all time will be “be made alive” in Christ.

Here is the plan:

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1Co 15:27  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
1Co 15:28  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

“God [being] all in all” is the goal, and God will not be denied by any man’s will.  “As in Adam all die, even so  in Christ shall all be made alive.”

“The wages of sin is death” so if mankind really did have free will, then none of these promises of “every man” being “made alive… in Christ” could be true because “it is not in man to direct his steps”.

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. 

No ‘free will’ in that verse of scripture, and add to that verse the fact that God has given man a heart that is deceitful above all things:

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Fortunately for mankind, he has not been given free will and “all in Adam” will “in Christ… be made alive… [because] He is the propitiation for our sins [the sins of God’s elect “firstfruits”] but not for our only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1Jo 2:2).

I have covered most of your queries in this e-mail directly and any that I have not covered here I will deal in my commentaries within your e-mail below.  All the scriptures which appear to indicate that we have a will of our own which is not controlled by a God who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will” are intended to appear as they do for the purpose of answering us “after the idols of our own heart” just as we are told:

Eze 14:1  Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
Eze 14:2  And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 14:3  Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
Eze 14:4  Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
Eze 14:5  That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Eze 14:6  Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
Eze 14:7  For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
Eze 14:8  And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 14:9  And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
Eze 14:10  And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

What kind of a deal is that? “If the prophet be deceived… I the Lord have deceived that prophet and I will stretch out my hand upon him … and they shall bear their punishment?”

Our flesh does not like such words, which are simply God’s ways. Nevertheless, this is the way He is:

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works [our will], but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have 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 will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted 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 hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 

God does not answer to us, we answer to Him. How can anyone read that God had decided before the children were even born, never having decided of their supposed “free will” whether to serve Him, that He hated Esau and loved Jacob? The whole point being made here is that we do not have a will free of God, and that every day of our lives are written in His book before any of those days come along:

Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.
Psa 139:17  How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! (ASV)

Our days are symbolically all laid out in God’s symbolic ‘book’ “When as yet there was none of them”. No free will here!

Here below now  is your e-mail which I will answer paragraph by paragraph. Your words and the scriptures you quote are in italics and indented:

I have no interest in anything but the scriptures, and the scriptures declare clearly that mankind has indeed been given a carnal mind with a will which opposes God’s will and “cannot be subject to the law of God”. The scriptures never say man does not have a will. So you will search high and low, and you will never find where I have ever said, ‘Mankind does not have a will’. Mankind does have a will, but it is a caused will, and this is what the scriptures tell us about the will which God has given to mankind:

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind [the natural mind of mankind] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [No hint here of mankind having a will that is free to choose to please God]

So mankind is not free to choose to obey His Creator. Rather he “cannot please God” because his natural carnal mind, given Him by His Creator “is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be”.

If mankind is free to choose to obey God, then why are we told “the carnal mind… is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be“? So mankind indeed has a will, but it is not free. The natural will of all of mankind must be rebellious against the law of God by God’s own design.

Considering what we are told about ourselves in the previous chapter, it is super clear that we have absolutely no hope of being saved if that salvation depended upon our own carnally minded will:

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

In the e-mail you sent me today you say:

You sign off with, “Sincerely” so I am taking you at your word that you simply “sincerely” want to know what the scriptures say about whether we are given to make decisions and choices which are free from God’s will. Since you are “not questioning scripture”, can I assume that you agree with the holy spirit that when you and I sin “it is not [we] who are sinning”? Can I assume that you agree with the holy spirit that Joseph’s brothers’ decision and choice to sell him into Egypt as a slave was not really their decision or choice but God’s?

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 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6  For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7  And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
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.

Please answer those two questions so I can know that you really are not taking issue with the scriptures.

Is not the statement, “it was not you, but God…” the same as “it is not I, but sin that dwells in me”? If you and I can simply say, Amen!! to those two scriptures, then our contention evaporates into the air, and we are both of the same mind that the Lord really has “predestined” all things and He really is “working all things after the counsel of His own will”, which really is what the scriptures teach from Genesis to Revelation.

The holy spirit goes out of its way to make that very point:

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Eph 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
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:
Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. 
Eph 1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Eph 1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

All that God is doing is being done “according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself“.

Ephesians one reflects the tone of all scripture as the words of a God whose sovereignty is without question:

Isa 45:5  I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
Isa 45:6  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.
Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This is not a ‘sometimes over some things’ statement.  These words are speaking of everything all the time or else they mean nothing at all.

I have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that I do not believe that we do not make choices. We do make choices every day. We must all “work out our own salvation” and make decisions and choices every day “with fear and trembling”. But as the scriptures so abundantly demonstrate with the story of Joseph, and every other story in scripture, all of our choices are caused choices, in which the Lord is working both our will and our actions after the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11) and His good pleasure. His Words, not mine:

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. 

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:

You have mentioned this in an earlier email where you ask me:

I see your point clearly. It was my own point for most of my life until I was given to simply accept the Words of the spirit telling me clearly that even my sins were not mine. They, too, are a work of God via a law of sin which He has placed within my members which gives me a will contrary to God’s will. So, yes, the scriptures agree with you, “It surely is not “I” that is found wanting”. It is the way God has made us with the law of sin in our members that is found wanting. Is that not the exact same message of these verses of scripture?:

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [By God’s design] 
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

Either we are ‘captives of the law of sin’, or we have ‘free will’, but it cannot be both ways, and we cannot say both, ‘It is not I that do it’, and at the same time claim ‘I did that of my own free will’. We cannot have it both ways, and the scriptures make it super clear in Romans 9 that “it is not of him that wills… but [it is] of God… that shows mercy or hardens… after the counsel of His own will”.

Now if, as James tells us:

Jas 4:12  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Surely neither of us will argue that Satan created and sustains this law of sin in our members. “There is [but] one lawgiver” and that ‘one lawgiver’ is God. God Himself confesses to having made a “marred… vessel of clay” for the express purpose of destroying it and making it anew, “as it seemed good to the Potter [that “one lawgiver”] to make it”.

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.
Jer 18:5  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jer 18:6  O house of Israel, [​you and me] cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O [​you and ​me] house of Israel.

There is no ‘free will’ in any of those verses.

That “new vessel” will be “raised a spiritual body” (1Co 15:44), but in the meantime it will demonstrate that the “very good… first man Adam” was never intended to be the finished product, and that giving that first man Adam a carnal mind with a will that is contrary to God’s will was all a part of the Lord’s plan from “before the world began”. So yes, in that way, the Lord has indeed created for Himself an adversary, and we will all at first say “why does He yet find fault” because no one can resist His will. We will all first ask Him, ‘Why did you make me carnally minded and unable to do anything other than resist your will if you do not want me to do so, and what right then do you have to judge me for doing what you have made me to do???’  That is what you and I and all men say when confronted with the fact that God hates our old man before he is born, “having done neither good nor evil”, and He is going to save our new man whom He has predestined to be saved. The holy spirit anticipated our frustration and answers your question in this way:

Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted 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 hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Why are we not informed, right here at this point, that God gave us a will that is free to choose to obey and that if we do not do so, then it is not His fault? But that is not what the holy spirit tells us. This entire chapter is dedicated to denying there is any will other than God’s will, and that we are all first made “vessels of dishonor… vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” for one reason and for that one reason only… “Hath not The Potter power over the clay…?”

Verse 19 is where you are at this time, and I completely understand, having been there myself. I struggled and argued vociferously for two years that, “Yes, God is sovereign, but I also have a free will.” I likened it to being a dog on a leash.

But in time I came to se what verse 16 is saying to us:

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

I have never denied that we have a carnal-minded will and that there is indeed war in our heavens, and that we are admonished to “work out our own salvation”. What you are struggling to understand or struggling to accept is the very next verse telling us why we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and it has nothing to do with a fabled ‘free will’ in any of us:

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 [“the clay”] both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

If the Lord grants you to accept that everything you will, and everything you actually do, even your sins, are actually God Himself “working in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Php 2:12-13), then you will find it a lot easier to accept and to appreciate the trials of life, and to love your enemies, whom He has made to be your enemies, because you will now understand that they are also ruled over by God at this very moment, being caused by Him to be your adversary.

Dan 4:17  This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

After His resurrection Christ told His disciples:

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 

I used to wonder, “If that is true why is He not using His power to straighten out this world?” I thank God that He has given me to understand that it is His will at this time for this world to resist Him and to demonstrate clearly just why it is that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither does corruption inherit incorruption” (1Co 15:50). God’s “very good… first man Adam” is nothing more than a very good adversary whom God Himself equipped with the law of sin and death in his members, whose very purpose is to rebel against his Maker, and give God the occasion He is seeking to “destroy death” in us now, and then at the end of the “little season” which follows the millennium, destroy death in all men:

Rev 20:1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev 20:2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Rev 20:3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Rev 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The Defeat of Satan

Rev 20:7  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Rev 20:8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Rev 20:9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. [This is the end of physical death, and the beginning of the end of spiritual death
Rev 20:10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

In the end we will all be very grateful that we were not given a carnal will free of God’s will and free from Him working both our will and what we do to “His good pleasure” (Php 2:12-13). In the end we will be very grateful that He will judge us for what He worked in us to His pleasure because:

Isa 26:8  Yea, in the way of thy judgments [“beginning now at the house of God”, 1Pe 4:17, and at the “white throne… judgment”], O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
Isa 26:9  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

God’s judgments upon the carnal minds which He has given us, produce neither eternal torment nor eternal death. What His judgments do produce is: “When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” because all of God’s judgments are “chastening of the Lord” (1Co 11:32; Heb 12:6).

You say, “Nowhere does it says “you do not have a free will”,  and you say that after reading this verse along with all those that precede and  follow it, all of which make clear that our days are all predestined “before the world began… while we were in our mothers womb…”:

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy.

“Him” in this verse is ‘mankind’. In light of what is said before and after this verse will you “sincerely” write back and tell me this verse is not denying that mankind has a will that is free from God’s will? We have already dealt with what is said before this verse. God hated Esau and He loved Jacob while they were in their mother’s womb having done neither good nor evil, and He tells us this for the specific purpose of letting us know that what He is doing is not dependent upon our will but is all being done “after the counsel of His own will”.

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works[of mankind], but of him [the Lord] that calleth;) 

After verse 16, “It is not of [mankind] that wills… but of God that shows mercy” He then tells us He hardened Pharoah’s heart, typifying our hardened hearts, for the express purpose of destroying him and his country so all the world would know that His will is superior to our rebellious carnal will.

The story of Pharaoh is what comes immediately after telling us:

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, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted 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 hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 

“Why does He yet find fault” again is the same question you keep floating:

It is manifested that we simply do not like the way God thinks and the fact that He is calling all the shots. So like you and me and all men we ask the question the spirit anticipated we would ask. It is not good to question the fact that God has our days already written in His book and that He loves our new man and hates our carnal-minded old man before we are even born and when as yet there were none of our days (Psa 139:16 ASV and many other translations)

It appears to me that in the context of verse 16, the express purpose for telling us “It is not of him that wills… but of God” is to make the very point that mankind does not have a rebellious carnal will which is free from God’s will for mankind.

We could say ‘The desperately wicked heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps’, and it would be just as true. The Biblical answer to this argument, and to all arguments attempting to limit God’s sovereignty over the carnal will of men, is the story of Joseph and His brothers, as I have pointed out before. You say: “It says “man plans… How can one “plan” without an ability to choose and make decisions?” (End Quote)

Once again this is how man can make plans thinking his plans are of his own free will only to discover that all his connivings were actually given to him by a messenger 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 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6  For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7  And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
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.

Neither Joseph nor I have ever denied that we have the “ability to choose and make decisions”.  What the scriptures do deny here and throughout scripture is that those choices and decisions are not caused choices and decisions. All our choices are caused by a God who has “all of our days written in His book” before we are even born (Psa 139:16), and He has predestinated all things after the counsel of His own will, not ours (Eph 1:11):

Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
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: 

Here is another very graphic example that answers your question:

How can one “plan” without an ability to choose and make decisions? It does not say here that “God plans for you” it says “man plans”.”

This story demonstrates how God worked with King Ahab’s heart for the purpose of showing us how “man’s plans” are really God’s plans, even as we think we are making and executing decisions which are completely free of any influence from God:

1Ki 22:1  And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
1Ki 22:2  And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
1Ki 22:3  And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
1Ki 22:4  And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
1Ki 22:5  And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
1Ki 22:6  Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
1Ki 22:7  And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
1Ki 22:8  And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
1Ki 22:9  Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
1Ki 22:10  And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
1Ki 22:11  And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
1Ki 22:12  And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king’s hand.
Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
1Ki 22:13  And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
1Ki 22:14  And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.
1Ki 22:15  So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
1Ki 22:16  And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?
1Ki 22:17  And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
1Ki 22:18  And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
1Ki 22:19  And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
1Ki 22:20  And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
1Ki 22:21  And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
1Ki 22:22  And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
1Ki 22:23  Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
1Ki 22:24  But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
1Ki 22:25  And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
1Ki 22:26  And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
1Ki 22:27  And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
1Ki 22:28  And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

I hope that answers your question. King Ahab and all his prophets were as convinced and you and I have been that we have a will that is free of God’s influence in our day to day lives. Nothing is further from the truth. “The preparations of his heart and the answer of his tongue [to Micaiah was] from the Lord”, while he and all of his lying prophets thought they were making and executing their own decisions, thoughts and plans when all along these two verses were the actual Truth of what was actually taking place in the spirit realm, which ministers to the physical realm.”

Pro 16:1  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

Pro 21:1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will

Yes, man does indeed plan, just as you pointed out to me in this same 16th chapter of Proverbs:

Pro 16:9  A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

But “the sum of [God’s] Word” is that even “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Your question was:

Yes, it does say “man plans”, but “the sum of [His] Word” reveals that even when Ahab first began to think about taking Ramothgilead back from the Syrians, the very inception of that thought “was from the Lord”. ‘The king’s heart through the influence of “an evil spirit from the Lord” (1Sa 16:14) was being turned by the Lord like rivers of water’ (Pro 21:1). That means that even the king’s heart, and the hearts of all his lying prophets, and the hearts of all men, are actually doing exactly what will fulfill a greater plan, the Lord’s plan for  mankind.

You continue:

Same answer as above. God first gives us all a naturally rebellious carnal mind which “is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be”, and then, if He wills, and when He wills He drags us to Himself and gives us to obey, all “after the counsel of His own will”, all the while making it appear that we chose of our own will to sell our brother into Egypt. “Whom He wills He has mercy [makes to be obedient] and whom He will He hardens [makes to be rebellious]” all of Him, and “not of him that wills”:

Rom 9:16  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Rom 9:17  For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

As we are plainly told:

Pro 21:1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. 

“Deut 30:19 Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” 

To whom is this directive to “choose” directed? It cannot be to the man reading if man has no ability to choose, it must be directed at God (by your reasoning) so God is telling himself to choose, this is absurd I think.

God is not “telling Himself to choose”, what we have seen from His Word is that He tells all men to “choose life” even as He “turns their heart” to do otherwise, in order to “work all things after the counsel of His own will”:

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:

I completely understand how frustrating those words are to our carnal minds. But they are The Truth, and they certainly are not absurd.

You say:

“James 1:13 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

So humans have “their own desire” this seems to me be saying we do have free will.

No, not at all. “Own desire” obviously means to you, that “we do have free will”, but we have demonstrated over and over that mankind’s ‘heart’s desire’ “is in the hand of the Lord [who] turns it wherever He wills” just as Ahab was “tempted when he was lured and enticed by his own desire” to take Ramothgilead. But the Biblical truth is that even our “own desire” is in the hand of the Lord to be “turned” to do what will fulfill His plan:

Pro 21:1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

You say:

If we and Ahab have our own will, then Christ certainly also had His own will. But Proverbs 21:1 is just as true for Christ as it is for us:

Pro 21:1  The king’s [Christ’s] heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will

We have already amply demonstrated how Christ went out of His way to tell us He sought only to do the will of His Father:

Joh 5:30  I can of mine own self [will] do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Christ knew the truth of Pro 21:1. He indeed had a fleshly will, but He knew it was in His Father’s hand to turn where ever His Father willed.

You say:

What John 3:16 tells us is this:

Mat 22:14  For many are called, but few are chosen.

But neither of those verses are “the sum of thy Word” (Psa 119:160). A very unfamiliar verse to most Christians is the very next verse of John 3:

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Through God’s judgments “the world [will] be saved”, because all who are judged “will learn righteousness”:

Isa 26:8  Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

Isa 26:9  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

The judgments of God are a work of His chastening grace, and the greatest work of His chastening grace is this “judgment”:

Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. 

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” is just another way of saying, ‘Whoever was not in the first resurrection was cast into the lake of fire/second death’ at this “great white throne… judgment”.

The word ‘fire’ in scripture generally typifies the Word of God:

Deu 33:2  And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.

Isa 10:17  And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;

Jer 5:14  Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. [Including the lake of the fire of God’s word administered by His elect who have His Word in their mouths]

Rev 11:4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Rev 11:5  And if any man will hurt them,
fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

It is God’s elect, typified by the three Hebrew children, who alone will be comfortable in the fiery burnings of the lake of fire, and it will be through them that all those in the lake of fire will be judged and brought to be all in all with God:

Isa 33:14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?

who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?

Isa 33:15  He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

The lake of fire is not the resurrection to strive to be in, but it will nevertheless be the greatest single harvest of souls for the Lord’s purpose and His Work with mankind.

You say:

My words are meant for your edification. It is not my intention to checkmate you or anyone. But your comment here on this very clear statement demonstrates how effective God is at blinding the carnal mind of men. The Lord plainly states here that His work is not dependent upon human will, and your comment is “There it say human will” as if the word ‘not’ were not there. As I said earlier, when God blinds a person we can take this verse and put it in front of them and slap them in the face and say, ‘There it is, read it with your own eyes’ and they simply cannot see it because “God has given them eyes that they cannot see and ears that they cannot hear unto this day”

Rom 11:8  (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

No, not in the least! This scripture complements what the Lord has revealed about the human will, which He has placed within every man through His own “law of sin and death” which He has placed within our members as discussed above. Paul was inspired to tell us that even our sins are ‘not I but sin that dwells in my members’. So according to the Lord our sins are not our sins but are the result of the law of sin which God has placed within us, “that is in [our] flesh” (Rom 7:17-18). What this verse, Isaiah 55:8, does is to verify the truth of this verse:

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

And once again, this is all true because all human desires are “in the hand of the Lord”:

Pro 21:1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. 

You say:

My position is that your claim that humans have “no free will” is not scripturally sound. You go beyond what is written and represent God’s superior will over our will as being God’s will is our will at all times.

Your argument here does not at all reflect what the scriptures teach concerning the rebellious carnal will God has given all of us, and how He works with our will. What your words here demonstrate is the fact that you simply do not yet appreciate the truths that are in all of these verses below concerning how God as The Master Potter is working all things we do, even our will and our actions to His good pleasure:

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. 

If indeed you are truly given to have no issue with the scriptures, then you will read these two verses telling us to work out our own salvation and at the same time explaining that what we will and do are really all God working in us, and you will be grateful to be informed of these very revealing words and you will very happily agree that our will and our actions are the work of the Lord, and the preparations of our  heart and the answer of our tongue is of the Lord (Pro 16:1), and:

Pro 21:1  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

And:

Jer 17:9  The heart [which the Lord turns where He wills] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

And:

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay [first carnal minded man Adam] was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jer 18:5  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jer 18:6  O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

None of us likes those words because we all know that clay has no will of its own and without the sum of God’s Word it sounds like that verse is denying that we even have a rebellious carnal mind that is not subject to the law of God. But that is not the point being made. The point Jeremiah 18:6 is making is the same point the Lord makes in Proverbs 21:1, above. God has our very desires in His hand and turns them in any direction He wills. This is wonderful revelation which should cause us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling knowing it is God who is working both our will and our actions to His good pleasure and for our good because:

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things [which God is “working after the counsel of His own will“, Eph 1:11] work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose

And:

Jer 10:23  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to [of his own free will] direct his steps.

And:

Pro 20:24  Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

I could go on and on and on with God’s Word demonstrating that our hearts and our carnal rebellious way are all in the Lord’s hands being turned wherever He wills, but this is enough for now.

You say:

All of God’s words are “at ease” with each other, but no verse is ever intended to be understood in a stand-alone manner because we are told:

Psa 119:160  The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever. (ASV)

2Pe 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture at all is becoming its own explanation. (CLV)

I have gone to great lengths to give to you God’s own words in which He had already anticipated that the scriptural statement… “It is not of him that wills but of God” would cause us all to say, ‘Why does He yet find fault because no one can resist His will and if God’s will is superior over our will [it is the same as saying God’s will is our will at all times”.

No, that is not a Biblical conclusion. There is no doubt at all that God’s will is superior to our will. Nor is there any scriptural doubt that He works our will and our actions “both to will and to do of His good pleasure”:

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.

If you truly have no issue with the scriptures, you will say amen to those verses and to this verse:

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: 

As I said toward the beginning of this e-mail, if you can assure me that you actually agree with Php 2:12-13 and Eph 1:11, then our differences will evaporate into the air.

You say:

Yes, indeed. Neither your e-mail nor my​ ​answers caught our Lord by surprise. They did indeed​ both​ “originate from God, and were both​ ​written in our own individual books in which God has already written all of our days before​ ​any of our days ever were. That is not ‘my own stated view’. It is the Lord’s Himself who has told us:

Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

Your brother who struggles with you to know the mind of God.

Mike

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