God is a gentleman... or is He?

A common rebuttal to the doctrine of God's sovereignty in salvation by people who insist that man can "choose Jesus" is the statement,

"God is a gentleman and would never force Himself on anyone."

This statement is supposed to support the notion that man can enact salvation for himself by 'accepting Jesus' or some such notion. God might make it available, enticing, even, but ultimately, we choose.

Not so.

I wrote about God's sovereignty in salvation in 2015, rebutting the 'God is a gentleman' notion, here:

Is God a gentleman? The illusion of a Gentleman God

Today I want to look at other cases besides salvation where God is certainly not a 'gentleman' (a foolish statement anyway, because God is God and not man, even a gentle man).

So I ask the question, using reverse logic, if God is a gentleman and never forces someone to convert, then why is He not a gentleman in these situations?

The spirit:

So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day. (1 Chronicles 5:26).

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1).

The heart:

But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken to Moses. (Exodus 9:12).

for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (Revelation 17:17).

The mind:

As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. (1 Samuel 7:10).

God can and does intervene in man's affairs. He governs man's spirit, man's mind, and man's heart. He does so in man's life, his salvation, and his death. God is God and there is no other.

I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.
Psalm 145:1-3


  1. Just another example of man imposing his humanistic concepts upon a sovereign God who does as He pleases to whomever of His creatures He pleases. If God didn't intervene in choosing some to go to heaven, then only the angels would occupy heaven. We have no ability within our sinful nature to choose righteousness outside of God's election. They just can't accept Him for who He is, thus, they don't really know Him. Its futile thinking that's proclaimed from most pulpits today.

    1. Hi Sheryl. Thanks for the comment, well said. You're so right, it's what we hear from too many pulpits today. It's where I first heard it, "God is a gentleman, He'd never force anyone to the cross", from the pulpit at a former church. Key word, FORMER.

    2. Thank you, Elizabeth. Your blog offers others like me the opportunity to encourage or warn people and to contend for the faith on those hard doctrines you discuss. Thank you for the work you put forth. May God use all our words for His glory and edification of His saints.

  2. Ladies, this is something that I dont quite understand and wrestle with. I do believe in God's total sovereignity. My question is should we pray and how should we, for the lost especially within our own families if its not a man's choice to follow Jesus but His own to call men to Him? Your thoughts about this will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance Elizabeth and Sheryl.

    1. The Lord said we are saved by hearing. (Rom 10:17). We do not know whom God foreordained for salvation, so we share the Gospel with one and all and leave it to Him for both the election itself and the timing of the activation of His Gospel message. We also pray, since again,w e do not know the ones He has elected. Praying and witnessing are blessed activities not only for the hearers but for us because we are obeying His commands to do both.

  3. ISAIAH 50
    Where is your mothers certificate of divorce with which I sent her away?
    Or to which of my creditors did I sell you?
    Because of your sins you were sold; because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.

    2. When I came why was there no man?
    When I called was there none to answer?
    Was my arm to short to deliver you?
    Do I lack the strength to rescue you?

    God is all over you like a nuisance,
    "Get off me man"

  4. Where does Man's responsibility and accountability of what he chooses come into it?

    1. Man is responsible for his sin, and unrepentant sinners are eternally punished. (Rev 21:8).

      Man is born a sinner and does not seek after God. Rom 3:11. He can't because he is dead in his sins. Eph 2:1. So how can man repent?

      It is God who gives grace and catalyzes one's faith (after hearing the Gospel). Rom 10:14. We do not have the free will to choose Him. He gives us a spirit of repentance after he drops the scales from our eyes and we see Him, and our sin.

      Our finite minds cannot reconcile God's sovereignty and our responsibility. But that's OK, because He can reconcile them. His mind is pure and good and perfect, so what God does is also pure and good and perfect. His infinite mind is satisfied with the tension between the two. Here is a short article on the subject, and thanks for asking. :)



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