But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.
Question: If God had a good “purpose” for them, through John’s baptism, then how does that coincide with the Calvinistic “sovereign decree,” which holds that all of man’s actions are predetermined by God, such as God predetermining them to reject God’s purposes, for His greater glory? “Secret will”?
Answer: To a Calvinist, they did not reject God’s personal plan for them, specifically, but only rejected what God had purposed for Israel, generally.
However, even that would be odd, in light of an all-determining decree:
Calvin on God’s eternal Decree: “We also note that we should consider the creation of the world so that we may realize that everything is subject to God and ruled by his will and that when the world has done what it may, nothing happens other than what God decrees.” (Acts: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.66, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “First, the eternal predestination of God, by which before the fall of Adam He decreed what should take place concerning the whole human race and every individual, was fixed and determined.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “God had no doubt decreed before the foundation of the world what He would do with every one of us and had assigned to everyone by His secret counsel his part in life.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, p.20, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “…the reason why God elects some and rejects others is to be found in His purpose alone. … before men are born their lot is assigned to each of them by the secret will of God. … the salvation or the destruction of men depends on His free election.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.203, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “At this point in particular the flesh rages when it hears that the predestination to death of those who perish is referred to the will of God.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.208, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “But here he runs full sail against God for determining some from their very creation to destruction.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.78, emphasis mine)
It’s one thing to reject God’s commands, which is normal for the lost, but it’s entirely another matter to reject God’s purposes, being His intentions, which is also apparent from Matthew 23:37, and these had rejected God’s intended purposes.
One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians: “What is the purpose of God in the context of Luke 7:30? It has to do with John the Baptist’s ministry, in terms of his preparing the way for Christ, through his message of calling all Israel to repentance. So the purpose of God, in context, is basically God’s purpose for all to repent. Thus, for them to reject for themselves that purpose, was still to reject God’s purpose for them, specifically, as in, God’s purpose for them to repent etc. Therefore, this is a strong example of both resistible grace and free will.”