You Coerced Me

Whatever do you mean Jeremiah?

LORD, you coerced me into being a prophet, and I allowed you to do it. You overcame my resistance and prevailed over me. Now I have become a constant laughingstock. Everyone ridicules me.  –Jeremiah 20:7 (NET)

The morning after the lively discussion at the Festival, I was reading Jeremiah 20.  What do you see here?  Jeremiah tells God that He coerced him into being a prophet, Jeremiah allowed it, and God overcame his resistance.  Whatever does Jeremiah mean?  Did he submit to God’s will?  Did God overcome his “free will”?  Which one is true?

This is where most people will select a side and fight to the death.  They pull their swords and start swinging.  If we believe God’s Word is inerrant, then we must agree that both are true.  When I had that lively discussion at the Festival, she said that Calvinist always pull out Romans 9 on her.  I told her that was a good chapter but I much prefer pointing people to Jesus in John 6 which is what I had pulled out.

We see the same type of discussion from Jesus in John 6.  If you believe that my labels are accurate below then is man responsible for his salvation and/or is God sovereign over his salvation?

Man is responsible.
John 6:29 – Jesus says “God requires – to believe in the one whom he sent”

Man is responsible.
John 6:35 – “the one who believes in me will never be thirsty”

God is sovereign.
John 6:37 – “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me”

Man is responsible.
John 6:40 – “for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life”

God is sovereign.
John 6:44 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”

God is sovereign.
John 6:45 – “And they will all be taught by God”

Man is responsible.
John 6:47 – “The one who believes has eternal life”

God is sovereign.
John 6:63 – “The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help!”

Man is responsible.
John 6:64 – “But there are some of you who do not believe.”

God is sovereign.
John 6:65 – “no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”

Man is responsible. (note this is not Jesus speaking)
John 6:69 – We have come to believe and to know

God is sovereign.
John 6:70 – “Didn’t I choose you”

It seems clear to me that both are true.  Let’s open up our Bibles and see what other wonderful news we can find!  God is amazing.  God’s Word is too.