The Arminian view of free will: Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannotish please God.


Free agency – Man is free to do what he wants, that is, to follow his heart.

Free will – Man’s will is neutral and can decide to choose Christ or reject him.

According to the Arminians, man has free will. They have a concept called “prevenient grace,” by which they mean – although they would never put it this way – God has decided to woo sinners with this “prevenient grace” Thus He has decided to make it possible for man to decide to open his heart to Jesus, who is continusously pleading for sinners to open the door to let Him in so that he can save them. So, God for them is only a possible saviour; and it’s up to them whether he becomes an actual saviour. In other words, if you’re saved, the possible was made actual by something, good of course, in you, just as if you’re condemned for not having faith in Jesus, it was something, bad of course, in you.

Man is a free agent, that is, it is not something outside of him that determines the decisions he makes about following Jesus, but something inside him – his lub-a-dub. Scripture says that although man is free to choose what he wants, what he does not want, and cannot want is to follow Jesus.

Romans 8

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

How then can you be saved? The Spirit breathes life into you, or to use another biblical description, God removes your heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh:

Ezekiel 26:36 – A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

“Flesh” in Romans 8 means the natural human state of radical corruption. In Ezekiel 26:36 it means “a new spirit.”

“So are you telling me that God is going to give me a heart that loves him, trusts him, without me asking for it.” I reply, if it is you who decides the transplant, then your heart, to start with, couldn’t have been stony, but merely stony-ish; it couldn’t have been dead (Ephesians 2:1) but merely deadish. And that is what Arminians say: (spiritually) dead doesn’t mean really dead. And I suppose “cannot” in Romans 8:8 does not mean cannot, but “cannotish.” – “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannotish please God.”

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