Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 1 – Ezekiel 36:26

As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the first portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

You are always using Human reasoning instead of scripture. God can change and has to change a person’s will to be saved. Ezekiel 36:26 John 3:3-8 Romans 3:10-12 Psalms 14:1-3 even though you think he can’t interfere with natural man’s will and someone will have to tell me how one person believes the Gospel the true gospel that is and another doesn’t. No freewill advocate can give me an answer. They ignore that question.

I suppose the first issue to address is the reason for his comment above. I had asked a question regarding God’s will as my friend understands God’s will. If I understand him correctly, God has absolute control over every decision made by every human, and that God’s will can never be resisted.

So my original question was……

How do you explain the Lord’s frustration with Jerusalem as He entered the city before His passion? He was willing but the people of Israel were not willing.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Matthew 23:37 ESV

Seems the people got their way.

Nevertheless, lets consider the first portion of my friends comment. His initial comment is followed by four Scripture references. I have supplied these passages below, and will attempt to understand his reason for providing to support his statement.

Ezekiel 36:26

Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

What a great verse, speaking of the sinful nature and the darkness and hardness of the sinners heart. Ezekiel was specifically speaking to the sons of Israel, and of their restoration to the land. From verse 22 through verse 32, Ezekiel records the phrase “I will” 13 times referring to God’s intent with the children of Israel.

This passage speaks of God’s overarching care, protection and provision to His wayward, sinful people. Upon getting to verse 26, it is clear that the Lord Himself gives the new heart, gives the new spirit, removes the heart of stone, and gives a heart of flesh. There is no debate upon these gracious gifts of God to His people.

One item that is not addressed in this passage is the responsibility of the sinner. Of course, my friend assumes the sinner has no responsibility in receiving the new heart, but I don’t see Ezekiel expressly stating that. Nowhere does Ezekiel come out and state – You sinners are unable to respond to the grace of God. You are completely without any responsibility in God’s work with your nation. You have to be completely passive!! As a matter of fact, you couldn’t respond if you wanted to.

Shucks, I don’t see Ezekiel stating that!

Ezekiel continues with verse 32, telling of the reason for the gracious gifts of God toward His people in the future. These future promises were provided through the prophet Ezekiel, in order for the people to know of His future actions. Then Ezekiel caps off the message with the intended response that is expected.

 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

The Lord will act – Be ashamed now. There is a response expected prior to the Lord’s acting out His promises. There is a responsibility on the part of the Israelites.

But that is not all, regarding the will of God that Ezekiel teaches us. Let us look at verse 37 of the same chapter.

 “Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock.

The Lord allows the people of Israel to ask of Him for a particular request. This seems odd if the Lord’s will is determined from time eternal, before creation. The entire issue of prayer is a difficult topic to understand if the Lord’s will has been locked down prior to creation. (Dang it is difficult to understand no matter what!)

It is obvious that Ezekiel emphasizes God’s will towards His people in this passage. There is no doubt. Yet with this emphasis, God seems to invite the will of men (in praying to God) to participate in the work of God. This is surely a mystery and yet He invites us.

For prayer does change things!

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.