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Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:58 pm

Have to say . . . I'm tearing up a little this evening and just thanking the Lord. Thanking Him for putting His Spirit within us. That is what makes us able to rise above our "wormness" and remember that although in our flesh we are mere worms, because of HE who lives in our hearts and has captured our very lives, we can step out of that place and walk as His Sons and Daughters. I am SO GLAD when I experience those moments now--right here, in this place. I'm SO GLAD that He proves who He is in us and by us. Yes, we can say that we really and truly do love each other, even though we have never even seen each others' faces. (Some of you may know each other face to face, but I don't know you all that way.) What an awesome God we serve, y'all!

If you all will permit me, I'd like to tell another "teacher" story. Yesterday I talked about how impatient I get with my students this time year. TODAY . . .well, today brought me to a different place in my heart. One of my students asked in one of the morning classes if he could share a video slide show he had put together of some of the highlights of the year taken from yearbook photos. I allowed him to show the video. There they were on the screen at the front of my classroom: dozens and dozens of faces of young people I have loved this year--laughed with, argued with, shed tears over. Games won and lost--and even some pictures of them gathered around our school's flag pole at the annual "See You at the Pole" totally student-led prayer service. I was overwhelmed by how much I love them.

Then, because I am a senior class sponsor and their class t-shirts came in this morning, all the seniors trapsed through my room to get their shirts and show me their faces. This class is particularly close to my heart because my youngest son is one of them. I've watched them grow up from kindergarten all the way to today. One young man said, "Ms. Kemp, you know you're gonna miss us." I'm telling you, what flooded through me--I don't even know if I have words to describe it. It was a longing, a deep, deep longing to keep them and protect them. Right there, in that moment, so many faces and memories flooded my heart. I've been a teacher for twenty-three years. I've given away MANY senior t-shirts. I want to keep EVERY one of them safe--those that are mine by blood and those that have only been mine because I was made their teacher. I couldn't help pondering in my heart all of our discussions on this post, too, and the depths of the truths we have discussed.

I am a worm--but I love those kids with that kind of longing. How much more does Christ love them? Go even further . . . WHY do I love them like that? It has absolutely nothing to do with me all by myself. That kind of longing is not from the heart of man. It's not, and I know it because I've felt the "other" kinds of longings toward people, too. I know the difference.

What does this mean in light of all we've been discussing? I am not really sure. That is why I have the deep questions. I cannot imagine the kind of anguish I will feel if I have to watch any one of them be cast into an eternal hell. Maybe that is because I cannot see any spot or blemish in them. Maybe all I see is the redeeming power of the longing I feel for them--and it is not my natural longing. It is only there because of who lives in me. I'm pretty sure of that, too.

I know that it is a very dangerous thing to attempt to change truth because of our human experiences and our desires to make it all make sense. The only way we can NOT believe that there will be people who die and go to hell is to erase a significant chunk of the scriptures--and doing that will only temporarily ease our anguish. It will not change truth.

I know that I cannot save them and that my longing for them cannot save them. They have to know they need to be saved. They have to be called from the deadness of their tombs by the only One who can save them. There are many who bear fruit as evidence that they have been raised to life in Christ, but some of them do not.

What do we do? What do we do? We beg our Father. We beg Him. We beg Him to show up and to reveal Himself. We beg Him for the souls of those we love. That's what I do anyway, and I offer myself to Him to be used as a vehicle of His gospel.

Some days I long for His Coming more than others--and then I have days like today where I long for His Coming not in plain sight but in giant moves in the hearts and souls of mankind. Not yet, Lord. Please, not yet . . .

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:43 pm

You are such an inspiration :) I feel blessed to know you.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Come forth » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:11 pm

The concept of using an earthly story, as Mike has done above with the tale of four sons and their father, to reveal a Spiritual Truth is well established, tried and tested. It is also Scriptural. The prophet Nathan used it to confront King David, 2Sam 12:1, and Jesus used them all the time; most of His parables are such.

I believe the story told by Mike reveals the heart of the whole matter.

What happens if one of the older three repents, comes and confesses the folly of his ways? Does the father in this story still say; "I'm sorry, my decision is made and there is no repenting for you."

What if one of them goes and makes a big name for himself, becomes famous and rich, has no need for dad's school fund or inheritance; but then realizes that it is all empty without the relationship of his good old dad? Does he waste his time if he tries to come home?

And what if, the young son uses the school fund, becomes very successful; but it all goes to his head? Dad is forgotten, the cat's in the cradle and I'm too busy dad; maybe next year. Does his favored position remain the same and justice is ignored?

In all situations, is the father in this story so blinded that justice, fairness and true relationship don't even count?

A relationship between two people in the natural is no different (notwithstanding that the fullness of wisdom is not yet ours) than the relationship we have with DAD; that's why we can call Him ABBA (Romans 8:15; and this word means Daddy).

It is not a one way street, it requires both parties to be involved in the decision making and both to be working together for the good of the individual as well as the relationship.

Pause, big breath, change subject.

I know that when upset and feeling attacked, I guess like most, I often say things that are silly and plain wrong. So let me make something clear here about what I really believe.

For me, A, C, or M is NOT the real issue. The real issue is that the discussion and searching out of Truth is a reflection of our desire to know Him more intimately and to walk in His Truth. A, C or M, it doesn't matter, I take my hat off to and thank God for all that seek Him.

Shalom, Graham
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A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:41 pm

Come forth wrote:I take my hat off to and thank God for all that seek Him.


Yes, Paula and Graham and everyone else, too. We have so much to learn from hearing each others' testimonies. HE is our common bond.

I think there's a missing character in Mike's story and Paula and Graham's continuations of it. It is the Advocate who stands between us and the judge in Paula's, and it is the Eldest Son in Mike and Graham's. It is Jesus. He is the bridge between us and the Father. His blood is what makes us Sons and Daughters. It is His obedience, His righteousness, His sacrifice, His claim on us and our acceptance of it that puts us in the bonds of family relationship. Without the advocate, without the Eldest Son, we are guilty before the judge or aren't even adopted children. Jesus is the Favored Child who is favored because He did no wrong. He begs the father for Grace and Mercy on our behalf and begs the Father to include us as Sons and Daughters, just as He presents us to the judge blameless and harmless.

We cannot know God without Jesus.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby mikeedwards » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:21 am

I was responding to Paula with this verse and asking for her opinion on it. How does it fit in your analogy. I ask because I personally see an issue with it. This carries over to Calvinism which says Christ died only for the elect.

1John 5:22 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

I would also like to point out that Jesus constantly gave proof to the disciples so they would believe. He told them to believe based on the miracles if they did not believe his claims. He made a special appearance and plea to Thomas. He rose and displayed himself to over 500 people. God basically pleads with all to come to repentance.

Why all this effort to convince people he was who he claimed. Defined as I understand Calvinism God irresistible grace should be more than enough.

Then we have this verse - Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

One of the biggest issues I sense with Calvinism is that to me it makes the Bible and Gods pleas for man to repent and all of the evidence to convince just a big charade. Many simply cannot do it. They are like drones walking around in the world.

Now some would quote - Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? Romans 9:21 I agree God can do whatever he wants within his nature of truth. Could this verse simply be speaking of the fact that God knew who would accept him before he created anyone. He could have created only those who would accept him. Yet he still created those who would freely reject him. These are the ones that would fall under dishonorable use. Some translations say garbage, common or ignoble use.

All of this and tons more is why I mention Molinism. It seems to take into account the whole of scripture better. Check out Bill Craig's links Paula.

I agree with CD and Graham (and I am sure Paula too). Christ and Christ crucified is what is important as Paul preached. For some reason this topic raised its head big time since spending a month with a staunch reformed pastor as he open air preached. I do not know that I would claim to be A,C or M. However M is looking better to me if I had too.

M subscribes to a corporate election. Gods determined before time that all those who would place their faith in Christ (the elect) would be saved. Total depravity in C speaks against this ability. Yet we all have a God given conscience we obey or disobey out of free will. How would that be possible and it be impossible to choose or reject Christ for salvation apart from God stepping in.

Just thinking.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:17 pm

grr, having trouble posting!
Last edited by Paula22466 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:19 pm

Paula22466 wrote:
mikeedwards wrote:I was responding to Paula with this verse and asking for her opinion on it. How does it fit in your analogy. I ask because I personally see an issue with it. This carries over to Calvinism which says Christ died only for the elect.

1John 5:22 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Mike, the verse is 1John 2:2 - there seems to be a glitch in the thingy. I will get back to this later, and I promise to look at the links from Craig. In the meantime, please look at this link which sums up what I believe concerning Christ as our propitiation and should also answer Colin's question. It's an article by John Piper. Thanks and happy Saturday :) http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/piper/piper_atonement.html
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby beaedwards » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:55 pm

I just realized that I spelled Arminianism incorrectly...that's all, other than I am eternally grateful that we continue to glean Truth from each other through the Holy, Inspired, Infallible, WORD implanted in us.
Go God!!

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby Paula22466 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:10 pm

I will be posting portions from the links provided which refer to Molinism, so I can comment
Actually, I (Dr. Craig) have no problem with certain classic statements of the Reformed view. For example, the Westminster Confession (Sect. III) declares that

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Now this is precisely what the Molinist believes! The Confession affirms God’s preordination of everything that comes to pass as well as the liberty and contingency of the creaturely will, so that God is not the author of sin. It is a tragedy that in rejecting middle knowledge Reformed divines have cut themselves off from the most perspicuous explanation of the coherence of this wonderful confession.

If it's true that Craig agrees with this portion of the Westminster Confession, I am baffled. Notice that it says God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. Craig goes on to say he believes God not only ordains everything, it is pre-ordained.

By rejecting a doctrine of divine providence based on God’s middle knowledge, Reformed theologians are simply self-confessedly left with a mystery.

This is where I stand. It's a mystery to me how God ordains whatsoever comes to pass yet does not violate the free will of the creature.

Dr Craig goes on to talk about "compatibilists" and "determinists" - I'm not sure why he lumps both of these types into Calvinism since I have never known or heard or read a Calvinist who is a determinist, although that doesn't mean there aren't any. However, I would say just because someone calls themselves a Calvinist, or a reformer, does not mean they hold true to the tenants of that belief system.

3. Universal, divine, determinism makes God the author of sin and precludes human responsibility. In contrast to the Molinist view, on the deterministic view even the movement of the human will is caused by God. God moves people to choose evil, and they cannot do otherwise. God determines their choices and makes them do wrong


This is what got my gander up earlier...(I'm better now) ;) I am not aware of any Calvinist's who believe, or say, or teach, or would even entertain the notion that God is the author of sin and causes people to choose evil. Absurd.

A compatibilist, on the other hand, defines free will as the individual's total freedom to choose without coercion from any outside force, but (granted, a Big but) people will always choose according to their natural inclinations, desires, experiences, etc. People will choose according to their nature. In other words, if I decide I want a piece of chocolate because I love it and think it tastes great, there is no outside force that can make me want to rather eat a carrot. It's totally illogical. However, when speaking of God, a compatibilist also believes God is sovereign over all things, even whether or not I eat that piece of chocolate. God is always the primary cause and the individual is the secondary cause. Yes, there is tension here, how both can be true is a mystery, yet both are believed to be compatible. No compatibilist would say (that I am aware) that God causes people to sin, although He certainly is sovereign over it - in so much that He certainly must allow it or it wouldn't happen.

Maybe I'm missing something, or not understanding something, but overall I think Craig, in this first page I have read http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism gives Calvinist's a very unfair and untrue treatment.

From this link: http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/middle1.html
We have seen that the doctrine of hell poses a significant challenge, not to God's justice and holiness, but to His omnibenevolence. Hell is a demonstration of God's justice, but it is difficult to understand why an omnibinevolent God does not do more to prevent persons from going there.

Why did God not do more than send His only begotten Son to live in an evil wicked world for 33 years and die an agonizing death by crucifixion? I'm flabbergasted by this "difficult understanding" from Dr. Craig.

From what I have gathered here and other places, the basic premise of Molinism is to solve the mystery I spoke of earlier. How can God be completely sovereign so that all things work according to His decree without doing damage to human freedom. Molinism supposedly solves this problem by saying God has a "middle knowledge" which means He knows what a person with free will, will do in any given set of worlds or circumstances.In other words, God inspects all possible worlds until He finds one that best suits His plan and purposes, and this is the world we live in.

Molinists use 1 Samuel 23:11-13 as a proof text because it seems to express God using middle knowledge, although I would explain it as God decreeing certain actions, not just foretelling them.

The biggest problem I see with Molinism is that, like the dreaded A (although not as explicitly) it argues that God rewards salvation on the basis of His foreknowledge of whether or not the person will choose salvation by their own power. I think Scripture is clear that salvation comes by and through God, not of our own choosing. (I could give Scripture here ad nauseum but will not for the sake of time)
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby mikeedwards » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:32 pm

I read Pipers paper and while I have been able to recognize some of the truth in C, it still seems full of issues too. As I read it his arguments were not convincing to me as there was obviously another strong possibility readily available in scripture. To me C seems to redefine some things like "free will". It seems to make much of what we read a charade. Kind of like a puppet show.

It is a mystery like you mentioned. A,C and M are truth seen through blurred vision and mixed with mans opinion. I think this is why the Bible tells us to preach the gospel. It is Gods actual word that is a two edged sword not my opinion of the word. I do not know how it works but it works.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby pheeweed » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:12 am

I have a question, but first I want to be clear where I'm coming from. I'm an unashamed Calvinist who was raised a Presbyterian but confirmed my understanding by exploring scripture and the teaching of Calvinists like Piper and Sproul.

Anyway, I've been wondering why the preservation of the idea of the free will of man is so important. It seems that you place it on the same level as the sovereignty of God. As I understand scripture, man's free will is given to us by a sovereign God and therefore cannot stand apart from Him. In a sense, all our choices are about Him.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:21 am

I am appreciating very much these discussions. The biggest reason I am is because--and I think Graham said it first--in these discussions, I am seeing fellow Believers digging deeper looking for Truth--seeking. And we are seeking because we want to understand God and understand who we are and what our purposes here are better.

Maybe I can add something else to help us arrive at where the Lord is leading us. When I think of God's will vs. our free will, I often think of Jonah. God intended for Jonah to deliver a message to Ninevah. Jonah did not want to do it. God made him by sending a great fish. Jonah ended up being obedient. However, in the end, God did not violate Jonah's will as to what attitude he would take toward God or toward other people. Jonah was not happy that God spared Ninevah. He sat and pouted, and then God used even his choice of pouting to teach Jonah something about who God is and what He is about. God IS sovereign and will do exactly as He proposes to do, even against our will, but we choose how we respond to our lives and circumstances.

But let me tell you, I know without a doubt, that there are situations and circumstances in my own life that if God had not intervened in my heart to speak to me and show me another way to think or feel or believe--maybe even to give me Grace to forgive or to behave like I ought, I would not have behaved in a way honors the Savior who died for me. There have also been times when He didn't intervene and override--when He didn't pour out His Spirit in me--when He let the consequences of my own fleshly behavior be the teacher. Today, there are situations and difficulties and weaknesses and attitudes in my life that I am praying for strength and wisdom to overcome. I have no doubt that God could instantly touch my heart and change those things in me--because He's done it in other situations. He's just not doing it in these. Does that mean my will is stronger than His? Absolutely not. From where I stand, it means that there is something in the struggle that I must learn or else He would change me right now. My "free will" will always serve self until even that will has been transformed, and it cannot be transformed without the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit in my life. At least this is what has proven true for me in my own life . . .

When I think of free will, I also think of someone very dear to my heart--a stepson that I raised as my own whose free will has brought him to some terrible consequences. He still thinks he has the power to change himself, in spite of the fact that his own choices continue to prove over and over and over again that he cannot. He still claims that he can be "good" by changing his actions, in spite of the fact that his own behavior proves that he can't change his actions. He has not yet seen himself as the "worm," if you will. Until he is able to see himself as the worm in need of something Supernatural outside of himself coming in to reside within himself, he will continue to live believing that his will can overcome his own sin nature.

Who is in charge of the Supernatural? It is not me. If it were me, my son would not be where he is today. Who is in charge of giving us eyes to see our own unrighteousness? It is not me. In fact, I usually do exactly the opposite for people--because I love them and I love myself and don't want to come across like I think I'm better than someone else or because I think that by telling people all the good things about them, I can encourage them to do good. There is a divide. There is definitely a divide. All by ourselves, apart from the covering BLOOD of Christ, we are all worms. We hesitate to tell people that they are worms because when we do, they immediately start defending themselves. We can tell Believers that they are worms, and they know right away what we mean by that--usually. Sometimes, even we Believers (myself included) forget that we are worms if not for Christ.

This is why I believe that people cannot of their own free will come to Christ. SOMETHING has to happen in their hearts to reveal a need for Christ. Do I fully understand the how's and the why's? No, I don't . . .and I don't know if I ever will in this life. I live in a limited flesh. I am not capable of fully understanding God. I try to explain Him by giving him human characteristics, but perhaps, what I really ought to be doing is recognizing the pieces of His character that exist in this world and in man because man was made in His image. But, in the end, His ways are higher than my ways, and I will not know all His purposes. He is a mystery. We CAN draw closer and closer and understand Him more and more all the time, but we aren't going to get all the answers here--not for now anyway.

Today, I find myself appealing to the God's mercy more than to His justice--but I do it, knowing that God's intent is to end the evil that plagues Creation and that mercy sometimes comes through justice. It is God Himself who decides how to administer both mercy and justice. That is why we "work out" our own salvations in fear and trembling. We learn how to yield our flesh to the workings of the Spirit within us--and sometimes, if the Spirit DOES NOT come in stronger than our wills, we operate by our reasoning. At least, that is true for me.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:54 am

Bottom line of what I believe. GOD saves people through Christ. We do not, our words do not. We have been charged with delivering the gospel, and I, in fact, believe that God uses Believers' lives as a gospel message, even if they never open their mouths to share it with an unbelieving world.

I was saved by Jesus Christ the Lord and not my own will. There is no other explanation for me being who I am today. I could not and would not have chosen so many things that I have chosen all by myself. I am different than "the world," and I continue to realize that more and more all the time--but also continue to understand that I am not different because I chose to be. If it were up to me, I would live a quiet little life, controlling all the circumstances and all the rules and all the outcomes. I would even decide for myself what is right and what is wrong because then I could live without guilt or remorse. THAT is the way of the world--and I can recognize those ideas in my own mind and heart--but I don't keep them! Why do I not keep them? Because the Spirit of God Himself lives in me, showing me the difference between flesh and Spirit. I did not get here all by myself--and trust me, SELF would have been content to be her own god. JESUS happened to me. Why doesn't He happen to other people? That is the "million dollar question" in this forum . . .

The problem for me in the Sovereignty of God verses man's free will argument continues to be that we put more strength and power in man's hands than we do God's when we focus on the will of man and when we say that man's choice overrides God's. You cannot say that God is sovereign and then say that man's will can thwart God's purposes.

This is the problem we have a hard time accepting. God's ultimate Sovereignty means that He allowed people to be born, knowing that He would never extend "irresistible Grace" to some. We do not know how to make that "mesh" with our knowledge of God's mercy and forgiveness. We do not want to have such a great gift and not be able to give it away to other people--but, I have learned through my own life experiences that I cannot give people a heart to know God. It comes from Him alone. Does that mean that He ordained that those people should die without Him? I guess we would have to conclude that He did--since He could have chosen to never give them life in the first place. I do not know how we "solve" this problem.

For me, the "free will" answer is too easy. We give it to satisfy the "mystery," but it's also dangerous because to say we believe it, we have to compromise the power and authority of a Sovereign God.

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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby mikeedwards » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:11 am

Hey Phee, Love Sproul and Piper. Just read Holiness of God by Sproul.

However if you take away free will, you cannot have love as best as I can decipher. Love is a choice. Salvation is presented again and again in scripture as a choice whether it is or not.

I lay before you life and death, choose life - is from God and God (Truth) is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow.

I prefer to think of it as God knowing who would come and not come. Creating everyone still and then calling out to all knowing only His sheep will come.
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Re: Calvinism, Armenianism, Molinism

Postby carpenterdaughter » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:37 am

But why do we love Him, Mike? Because He first loved us. I would not have known of His love for me had I not been born into a family that took me to church, where I was given head knowledge. Who decided my birth? Whose Sovereign Will appointed it? Even then . . .I have a hunger in me for a deeper walk and MORE of Him than my own siblings, sometimes. Why? Did I give that to myself or choose that for myself? Honestly, I don't think I did--because sometimes it would be SO MUCH easier to just walk away from such a hunger and a thirst, and sometimes I even say, "Why can't I just be like everybody else and not worry about these things?" Sometimes, I even TRY not to or TRY to put my focus somewhere else. Nope. Doesn't work. WHAT IS THAT? It is definitely not my will. It is something in me much BIGGER than me. If I say that it is because I chose it, THEN I am saying that I am better than other people because I chose it--I am saying that there is some power in my will that is better than other people's will.

If the workings of the Spirit were all about our ability to choose, why don't we ALL choose life? How ridiculous to choose death--how utterly ridiculous, but we do it all the time in our flesh. I know . . . God presents the choice, but maybe even in that presenting, it is only to show us that we cannot in and of ourselves choose life. Only ONE did that. His name was Jesus and BY HIM we have life.

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