an interesting verse for my Calvinist friends

NAU  Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

The word for purpose here is a very interesting word. Thayer defines it this way:

counsel, purpose … especially of the purpose of God respecting the salvation of men through Christ

Here are the references where it is used in the New Testament:

NAU Luke 7.30  But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

NAU Luke 23.51  (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;

NAU Acts 2.23  this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

NAU Acts 4.28  to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

NAU Acts 5.38  "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;

NAU Acts 13.36  "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;

NAU Acts 20.27  "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

NAU Acts 27.12  Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

NAU Acts 27.42  The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape;

NAU 1 Corinthians 4.5  Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

NAU Ephesians 1.11  also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

NAU Hebrews 6.17  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,

I don’t have a lot of commentaries available on this verse, but here are a few interesting comments:

By refusing to be baptized by John they showed that they did not accept his message of repentance or accept the kingdom. Thus they rejected God’s plan of salvation for them.1

However, the Pharisees and lawyers (scribes) did not submit to John’s baptism showing that they had rejected God’s purpose, namely His plan of salvation for them.2

So… I ask… is Grace Irresistable? Or Not?



  1. John A. Martin, “Luke,” ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 223. []
  2. Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Lk 7:30. []


  1. Brian says:

    Okay Don, you sure know how to stir the pot. I await the prevaricators explanation of said verses.

  2. Doesn’t the Bible say in Luke 15 that if only one sinner comes to repentance the angels and all of heaven rejoice. If we are predestined for salvation then why would heaven rejoice?

  3. Fred Moritz says:

    “Punching buttons,” huh? :)

    • Hi Dr M

      Well, I’ve been quiet in this spot for a while, read this verse this morning and thought it might be worth throwing out there. boulh is an interesting and very strong word.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. Jeff Straub says:

    Ah, Don . . . So simplistic! So does a Calvinist cry uncle because you have offered irrefutable evidence? If you are going to reject a theological idea, you really need to demonstrate that you actually understand it first!

    • Cry uncle? Certainly not. But I do think the verse is interesting. Haven’t really seen a Calvinist address it. You could be the first, unless you want to cry uncle.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  5. Brian says:

    Well, there starts the prevaricating. Maybe it’s because Calvin himself didn’t really address these verses in his Institutes. He only mentioned Acts 2:23 (twice); 4:28 (twice); 13:36; 20:27; I Cor. 4:5, and did not address what you bring to light, Don. Since Calvin himself didn’t tackle this, his modern day followers will sidestep as well, following his example?

  6. T. Pennock says:

    We all know Calvinists are notorious for assuming there’s a Bible behind the Bible (or a will behind “the” will). What God says is not always what He means. He has a PR will and a secret will. His PR will says He’s not willing that any should perish; His secret will says He has willed the vast majority to eternal burnings. And, not surprisingly, it’s His secret will that’s always done! What a mess!!!


  7. d4v34x says:

    T. Pennock speaks God’s truth sort of like Caiaphas in John 11, only a little more cynically. :)