Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

You Were Not Willing To Come To Me

But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 
– John 5:40 (NKJV)

There is no doubt that Arminianism holds that mankind cannot just choose in their own power to come to Christ.  They need divine aid to be saved.  Humanity is corrupted by sin (Romans 3:23) and in our free will, we would reject the Lord God.  Mankind does not love God.  We see evidence of this all around us with false worship of all types of false gods from the false gods of false religions to the gods of money, sex, power, sports, self, etc.  Romans 1:18-32 is true about humanity.  We are truly wicked before a holy God.

Yet we also deny the doctrine of unconditional election.  We reject the idea that God choose just a few to be saved while condemning the vast majority of people apart from their own rejection of His grace.  We teach that God sent His Son to die for the sins of all and whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ through saving faith will be the elect of God.  The non-elect are not those who were predestined to be rejected by God but instead are those who reject God in their own free will.  God does not make people believe or disbelieve.  He gives sufficient grace for people to be saved.

We see evidence of this in John 5:40 where Jesus tells the Jews that they have rejected Him despite studying the Scriptures which reveal Him (John 5:39).  Other evidences from Scripture of God calling people to repent but they reject Him by their own free will are Isaiah 65:2; Luke 7:30; 14:16-24; John 1:10-11; Romans 10:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17.  God hates sin and He hates those who abide in sin (Psalm 5:5; Proverbs 6:17-19) but He also loves the sinner by sending His Son to atone for the sinner’s sins who repents (John 3:16; Romans 2:4; 5:8; 2 Peter 3:9).

We believe this grace has been given by God for all to be saved.  This common grace enables us to repent.  None of us can repent on our own but we need the aid of the Spirit of God (John 6:44).  He opens our hearts (Acts 16:14-15).  We read of this common grace in John 1:9.  Adam Clarke comments on John 1:9 are worth reading here:

As the human creature sees the light of the world as soon as it is born, from which it had been excluded while in the womb of its parent; in like manner, this heavenly light shines into the soul of every man, to convince of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and it is through this light, which no man brings into the world with him, but which Christ mercifully gives to him on his coming into it, that what is termed conscience among men is produced. No man could discern good from evil, were it not for this light thus supernaturally and graciously restored. There was much light in the law, but this shone only upon the Jews; but the superior light of the Gospel is to be diffused over the face of the whole earth.

Interestingly is to read John Calvin’s comments on John 5:40:

He again reproaches them that it is nothing but their own malice that hinders them from becoming partakers of the life offered in the Scriptures; for when he says that they will not, he imputes the cause of their ignorance and blindness to wickedness and obstinacy. And, indeed, since he offered himself to them so graciously, they must have been willfully blind; but when they intentionally fled from the light, and even desired to extinguish the sun by the darkness of their unbelief, Christ justly reproves them with greater severity.

We Arminians would agree.  Mankind rejects the Lord Jesus by their own stubbornness, wickedness, and pride.  God does not make them reject the gospel.  We do just fine doing that without Him making us not believe.

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