by John Hendryx
Many Christians will (reluctantly) acknowledge that there indeed do appear to be passages in the Bible, especially in the Gospel of John and the the theology of the Pauline epistles which strongly suggest that salvation is by grace alone, apart from the will or effort or cooperation of man (John 6:63, 65, 37; Rom 9:15, 16). However these same individuals will then quickly point out the "many" passages which give the appearance of teaching the free will of man to believe and follow Christ, apart from such grace. For example they appeal to passages in the Bible which say "if you are willing", "if you will hear", "if you will do" and they assume that such appeals to man demonstrates that he has a free will to believe.
Recently one individual with this view pointed out a similar type of passage in Jeremiah 26 where the Lord declares:
"Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4Say to them, 'This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.'"
The person who quoted the passage said the phrase "perhaps they will listen" is proof positive that man has a free will to repent and believe on their own and that the bible does not present such passages as deception.