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Does Jeremiah 32:38-40 Speak Of Free Will? I Say Not

Posted by Job on July 16, 2007

Was elated when in this book I happened to be reading I saw them assert Jeremiah 32:38-40 as evidence of free will in some fashion. But after reading the scripture, it is actually the opposite. It was a prophecy that under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit would seal one who is saved. Jeremiah 32:38-40 states “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

“And I will give them one heart” = indwelling Holy Spirit. “that they may fear me for ever” and “but I will put my fear in their hearts” = law written in your heart, Holy Spirit will grieve and vex you and not allow you to continue in sin. “that they shall not depart from me” = the Holy Spirit will seal you, not allow you to fall or any man or spirit to take you out of God’s Hand.

Now the context that the theologian gave this scripture vis a vis free will was that perhaps God allowed free will to exist PRIOR to this, but now it has been taken away. I disagree. It speaks not of allowing people to choose or reject God at any point, but rather giving people under the new covenant supernatural assistance to prevent them from falling into sin and from continually sinning. So, my search for scriptures that bear evidence of free will continues.


8 Responses to “Does Jeremiah 32:38-40 Speak Of Free Will? I Say Not”

  1. djenk23 said

    but what about 1 Chronicles 11:16…”Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers”…..they set their own heart on seeking God…In Jonah, it doesnt say anything about God turning the hearts of the people….Jonah 3:4-5 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them…..isnt that free will?

  2. djenk23: 1 Chronicles 11:16 I will give you. But Jonah 3:4-5, no 🙂

  3. Jonah was not allowed to go his own way. God picked him (not the other way around) to be His prophet. And as an example of that, he allowed Jonah free will to try and avoid his assigned task, then showed Jonah when you are God’s child you have no choice. Into the whale he went.

    Jonah’s role was to speak a call to repentance and God knew who would respond when they heard the word from God spoken through Jonah.

    Now for the free will crowd, here’s why it’s all about God and not about you. It’s all about who He decides to make His own, not some great mental accomplishment on the part of your own flesh to decide to follow Him.
    Genesis 12:1-7 (King James Version)

    1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

    2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

    3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

    5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

    6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

    7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

    Abram who became Abraham was of a family of pagans! He had done NOTHING to deserve ELECTION from GOD. God TOOK him from the others and CHOSE HIM to be the one to birth a great nation, Joshua 24:2-3.

    No man alive today has done anything to claim they are greater than Abraham and Abraham did nothing to earn his ELECTION. GOD PICKED ABRAHAM. God picks who are His and all your flesh cares to do with “free will” is sin till death. Every time you see SIN in the Bible, that’s when you see God allowing a case of FREE WILL. God chooses His own and there’s not a thing we can do about it. All who turn their heart to God do so because God allowed them to hear what others can’t, John 10:27, John 6:44. The Father draws you who are His children, and through His Son you are saved.

    It is God who determines your place and time in this life.

    Acts 17:26 (King James Version)

    26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

    God decided it all, you did nothing of “free will” to come to Christ. It’s your “free will” that God turned you from. He did it all by Himself, because you can’t and you didn’t want to. NONE are willing, except those the Father draws in. It is GOD who pulled Saul from his own “free will” of persecuting saints, Acts 9:27. Paul took no credit for his being chosen. None alive are better than Paul. You who are Christians have no greater ability, that caused you to decide all on your own that you’d accept Christ, God called you.

    Ephesians 1:3-6 (King James Version)

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

    4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

    6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

    Before the foundation of the world, you were chosen if you know the Lord. Don’t go thinking you figured it out yourself.

    Of course everyone is held accountable for their actions, but you who know the Lord came to Him because HE picked you. Without Him you are nothing and it is only HIS WORK that made you follow HIM, rather than leaving you in “free will” to sin continually.

    Not my will, but HIS WILL be done.

  4. djenk23 said

    i wasnt speaking of Jonah…i was actually talking about the Ninevites repenting…show me Bible that says that we have the total inability to respond to God….its not given as one of the punishments of Adam and Eve….

    take Joshua 24:14-25

    Now, therefore, (U)fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

    15″If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or )the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

    16The people answered and said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;

    17for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed.

    18″The LORD drove out from before us all the peoples, even the Amorites who lived in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.”

    19Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the LORD, (W)for He is a holy God He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.

    20″If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you.”

    21The people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD.”

    22Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.”

    23″Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”

    24The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice.”

    25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

    in this narrative, where does it say that God changed the hearts of the people to respond to Him?….

    Romans 1:18-22

    18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

    21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.

    Romans 1:21 directly contradicts the total inability issue….It doesnt say that mans mind was dark initially….it became dark..

    Zechariah 7:11-13

    11″But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing.

    12″They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.

    13″And just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,” says the LORD of hosts;

    again, another contradiction of total inability…..the people made their own heart hard….people always frame it like credit is being taken from God when it is said that someone accepted salvation….

  5. Diane said

    Djenk23, good example. That is just one of many examples of God saying “if you do, then I will” God’s sovereign will is that man have free will.

  6. First I want to thank Healtheland for allowing me to eat up so much of his server space 😀 . But these discussions go long because they are beneficial to us all.

    Hi Djenk23 – There are some factors you’re overlooking here.

    You offered no response regarding Abram. So I’ll take it that you agree that he was called by God of no doing on his own part. Which means, the promise of God that we walk in was begun by no special action on man’s part, but simply God calling Abram who did nothing to deserve to be called. That’s what is known as ELECTION BY GOD. God called and took Abram to what He wanted for His divine plan. I’m glad you agree with that. So you agree that we were adopted into the “great nation” that God promised would come from Abram/Abraham and it was fully because God decided to call Abram, a man of His Own choosing at His Own appointed time and that His plan is moving forward perfectly as He said.

    You fully understand that from Abram/Abraham it all started with ELECTION. Abram did nothing to deserve it and was part of a lineage of paganism till God called him. You see the call with Abram, now it’s just a matter of helping you see the call with those after him, including ourselves.

    Jonah is important because God wanted to speak repentance to the Ninevites through Jonah. God opened their ears to listen to Jonah. Why the Ninevites and not some other group? There’s never been a shortage of evil all over (people allowed to act in “free will”). Because God elected to call them out of their evil and call them to repentance, Jonah 1:1-2. God knew once Jonah spoke, they would repent. They did not repent of their own free will, they repented because God opened their ears to hear Jonah. God could have destroyed them in their “free will”, but sent Jonah and had their ears open to repent. And since you don’t dispute God ELECTED Jonah, I guess you understand it with him. Likewise He ELECTED the Ninevites to repent to Him at that appointed time. There would have been a consequence for disobedience, but God knowing all, knew in this case He had the Ninevites ready to repent once they heard from Jonah. Jonah in the whale 3 days and this had to occur because it was the sign Christ referenced, Matthew 12:39. Don’t you see the archetype here? Jonah, 3 days, repentance of the people chosen by God to repent.

    show me Bible that says that we have the total inability to respond to God

    Genesis 6:5


    Genesis 8:21 (King James Version) Emphasis added

    21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

    God KNEW man is evil from youth. So God decided never to destroy man in that manner again. If we use the “free will” view, God should have ended things and just called Noah to Heaven right then and there. Because God declared man is evil from youth. Instead God said man is evil from his youth AND He won’t destroy man. Because the praise from Noah pleased Him and He elects others TO PRAISE HIM NOW. God could have destroyed all of humanity and never let there be another human after Noah and his family.

    Speaking of Noah, are we to think that Noah was a righteous man by circumstance, or according to God’s plan? God knowing all knew Noah would be righteous when He made him and it was declared at his birth, Genesis 5:29. It was prophesied when Noah was born, that he would be one to bring pleasure to God. Noah was not good because of “free will”, it was prophesied, foretold that NOAH WAS ELECTED BY GOD.

    I’ll respond to the rest in another comment, because I’d rather separate these than have one forever scrolling comment, for easier reading.

  7. Hi again Djenk23,

    Regarding Joshua 24:14-25. This is a bigger example of election that you might realize. This call to follow the Lord was not made to the entire world, JUST GOD’S ELECT. They were the people who would have to remain in God’s protection to bring forth the Messiah. And it was also foretold that they would reject Him, Psalm 118:22. They had to remain faithful enough to bring forth the Messiah, yet given enough of that “free will” to reject Him. And they had to reject Him, because the door for salvation had to be opened to Gentiles like you and me, Romans 11.

    Regarding Romans 1:18-22, as I noted in my previous comment, that is the nature of man. But allow me to offer a verse directly from the book of Romans, that verifies what I’m saying. Because you’ve got to read this book well beyond chapter 1 for the full picture.

    Romans 3:11-12 (King James Version)

    11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    This was also noted in Psalm 14:1-3.

    The idea here is that man with “free will” always turns from God. Only those who God calls repent. May God never fully turn me over to simple “free will” and keep me in His hand, John 10:29

    God makes one for destruction and another for honor all for His glory. Read all about it in Romans 9. (No really, read the whole chapter in full. Read it again 😉 .)

    Romans 8:29-34 (King James Version)

    29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

    32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

    33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

    34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

    I didn’t make up that God predestinates, elects and justifies. It’s all right there in the scriptures. God through Jesus Christ by way of the Holy Spirit had Paul to affirm these things to believers right there. And believers from those Gentiles in Rome, to us now know it’s truth.

    (I will continue in another comment.)

  8. Brother Djenk23, may our disagreements never shake our faith.

    Regarding Zechariah 7:11-13, I think by now my earlier comments show how man’s heart is and the continual cycle of man being man and God calling to repentance. Why did they refuse? It was the plan. The book of Zechariah comes almost 1000 years after the citation you made from the book of Joshua. Things are drawing near to the coming Messiah and while Israel goes astray, the Lord promises to save His remnant in Zechariah 8.

    The Messiah had to come with them under bondage, them mistakenly feeling they would get military victory and physical freedom at that moment.

    It all was the fulfillment of a plan established before the foundation of the world.

    Romans 11:8-11 (King James Version)

    8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

    9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:

    10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

    11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

    Praise the Lord, he saw fit to save us.

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