Some people it takes a lot of verses to convince.Me, it only takes one if I know of no other verses that seem to contradict it.
"Jesus Christ, the Author and the Finisher, of our salvation"
The fact that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith by no means fully answers the issue of free will, and IMO the discussion is much broader than any one verse can accomodate
To deal with the seeming disparity between certain verses that speak of the sovereignty of God versus other verses(I do so love "versus verses" and "paradoxical paradigms":o) that indicate that man has a will of His own and the he must "yield" it to God- one has to step back into a wider perspective.
IMO, The problem with this discussion (man's will vs God's will) is the "narrowness" of vision from both sides of it.
My view MUST include ALL of the verses about GOD'S WILL and MAN'S WILL(The code by which I pursue the truth through topical hermeneutics and exegesis of the scriptures).
The fact that God is ultimately sovereign is not in question.
What is in question is how many proponents of God's sovereignty get uncomfortable with certain verses, even as certain proponents of free will, or man's will get uncomfortable with others. Somehow, before we settle so comfortably into "the know"- we have to see ALL the verses represented within our overall paradigm.
For instance, Jesus is the author of our faith, but what does that mean? We were begotten by the will of God yet we are told, "Today if you here His voice harden not your hearts".....Why? At what point do we stop contradicting one another when someone says "Choose you this day whom you will serve" or "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". Jesus learned obedience
through the things He sufferred- that is THE FAITH HE AUTHORED. What are we learning? How is He finishing our faith? As clay upon the wheel He is teaching us, "Nevertheless not my will but thine be done". He is, IMO, finishing us by teaching us how to agree with the Father in the exercise of the will which we have been given so that we will be "no more like children" but grow into mature sons.
We are in a "bubble in eternity" called time, or, the ages. Within the bubble, we are exhorted, we are called to choose, WE AND THE UNBELIEVERS UNTO WHOM WE SPEAK THE GOSPEL are continually exhorted to exercise our wills in certain ways AND BE REWARDED OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES- and, theses consequences are very real so..........
How do we reconcile these seemingly paradoxical paradigms
Well, one thing I can ASSURE OF is that the issue is never as simple as the proponents of the polar extremes seem to make it. For every verse you can quote to me about the ultimate sovereignty of God I can quote you one about the IMMEDIATE ACCOUNTABILITY OF MAN. There will always be someone standing for this aspect of the word BECAUSE IT IS CLEARLY THERE.
My point is not to promote one view or the other, but to FIND THE SEAM, THE INTEGRATION POINT, THE HIGHER PERSPECTIVE that incorporates ALL OF THE SCRIPTURES.
Fortunately you do not have to believe one way or the other to believe in UR
. I believe free will IS GIVEN BY GOD TO ALL HIS CREATION and He is winning back His whole creation THROUGH LOVE to a point where EVERY WILL IS YIELDED because of a REVELATION OF THE HIGHER WAY OF SACRIFICIAL LOVE. I present UR NOT MERELY as a result of the empirical will of God but rather as the INEVITABLE RESULT OF THE SUPERIORITY OF LOVE. It is after all love that drives YHWH's empirical will, because God is love. Love is the HIGHEST MANIFESTATION OF HIS WILL. FREEDOM IS THE HIGHEST AND FINAL GIFT OF LOVE. My answer to someone who does not see the sovereignty of God as I do but is from the free will side of the aisle is "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me". My answer to someone the sovereignty side of the aisle is that God exercises His sovereignty through the INEVITABLE VICTORY of love given freely(freely you have received freely give)- this is how we learn and this is how He wins us over and all of we learn through trial and temptation lead us there (freely yielded to God's will because of love).
I am in no way ever offended by anyone who sees it differently from me, but I believe the balance is in the middle somewhere and UP HIGHER and that God's sovereign will is expressing itself through FREEDOM- "For freedom Christ has set you free"....."You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free"..... and "the whole creation groans in anticipation that it will be set free into the "glorious liberty of the children of God".
Many others will come to UR with a similar perspective to my own. I do not come from a preterist background, I was born into the faith as pentecostal/charismatic Christian. I would not like to see the message of UR saddled with the additional and (IMO) unnecessary weight of the sovereign/free will debate- but rather put forth the answer that assuages both views, which is that God's love is great enough to win over every sentient being in a free will universe as well as a universe where God is forcing all things to a point of subjection to Himself. Surely if, God in His very nature, if the height and breadth and depth of His I Am That I Am- IS LOVE, then it is love that is the superior working agent and is the root of His power to "make all things work together according to the counsel of His will."