Jesus said that many are called but few are chosen. The believers are referred to as God's elect (those elected to the status of believer by God). I believe that God changes hearts. It is God that puts the desire in a person's heart that causes them to want to follow Him. He is the author (authorizer or originator) and finisher (the completer or finalizer) of our faith. This can be very encouraging to those who are praying desperately for loved ones. They can have assurance that God does change hearts.
Yes, I believe in free will. Each of us has a free will. You can decide right now to follow Jesus or not. But what is missing is the desire to follow God. The desires of the flesh are very powerful, and those desires are opposed to God (Romans 8:5-8) I believe that if God didn't plant the desire in people's hearts, no one would choose to follow Him (Psalm 14:1-3). Fortunately, God does plant that desire in hearts and we can ask Him to plant it in the hearts of our loved ones.
Jeremiah 32:36 "You are saying about this city, 'By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon'; but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
Ezekiel 11:17 “Therefore say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from among the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ 18 They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people and I will be their God.
Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
Ezekiel 36:31 “Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 “I want you to know I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!"
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
1 Samuel 10:1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance? 2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, 'The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, "What shall I do about my son?" 3 "Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. 4 They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. 5 "After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 8 "Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do."
9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying. 11 When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, "What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?" 12 A man who lived there answered, "And who is their father?" So it became a saying: "Is Saul also among the prophets?" 13 After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.
See also the next article: God Chooses Us
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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