Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

You Were not Willing!
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING!” (Matthew 23:37, NKJV)
People who were not Willing
If one wants to get into an argument with theologians, one only needs to bring up the subject of free will.  Does man make his own choices or have people’s choices been predetermined by God?  Did He create some people to be saved or did He create everyone with an ability to respond to the invitation of the Gospel?  
The Bible speaks of free will (voluntary) offerings.  It also speaks of people who were stiff necked.  For example Stephen is very direct in Acts 7 and says,  “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye (Acts 7:51 KJV).”   That seems to be the sense of Matthew 23:37 above as well.  
My Position (which is subject to change without notice)
Ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God and believed the subtle lie of Satan, I believe that left to ourselves we would all rebel against God.  We are predisposed to make bad choices.   But I also believe that we ALL have the ability to respond to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit when we hear (or read) the Gospel.  That is the free will or the voluntary submission to the Lord mentioned in Romans 6.  That passage says that we were the slaves of sin but have obeyed from the heart if we are saved.  That is why repentance or a change of mind is so prominent in the New Testament.  We all have different reasons for wanting to reject the Gospel.  Some think God is unfair.  Some think His plan of salvation is cruel because of what it required of His Son.  Some simply think that science and the Bible do not agree and they have chosen to believe what they think science says rather than what God says.
But why do some respond and why is it that others do not?  That is the 64,000 dollar question that nobody can really answer.  But I believe God holds the unbeliever responsible for rejecting the Truth when it is presented to them.
For example He says to the Jews,  “IF YOU ARE WILLING AND OBEDIENT, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken (Isaiah 1:19-20, NKJV).”  The willing and obedient are blessed and the rebellious are punished.  The rebellious are held accountable for their rebellion.
In the New Testament we read again, “You (religious people) search the Scriptures, for in them YOU THINK you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But YOU ARE NOT WILLING to come to Me that you may have life (John 5:39-40 NKJV).”
The Lord is also NOT WILLING
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, NOT WILLING that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV).  I am glad that I can preach with authority that God did not create anyone who cannot believe.  All can come to the change of mind that brings them to faith in Christ.
The Bible includes a story about those invited to a wedding feast by a king and those who were invited  WOULD NOT come.  Obviously, they didn’t respect the King (they likely didn’t vote for him).  But  there were consequences when they refused to come.  While the Lord is not willing that ANY should perish, many will foolishly perish. 
Why?  Explain that to me! 
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of February 5, 2023

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