1 Cor 10:13 (ESV) says: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
While not all Calvinists adhere to exhaustive determinism, I think it is worth while to see if exhaustive determinism is biblical. I believe this verse shows us that we (Christians) are free (in the non-Calvinist sense of the word) to choose not to sin.
Determinists often like to claim that humans will always “choose” whatever we most desire, and that desire is a result of our nature and our environment at that point in time. So then, what does it mean to be tempted? Temptation is the influence that causes us to desire sin. Now logically, according to the determinist, when we sin, it is because our desire to sin is greater than our desire not to sin. In other words, we sin when the temptation becomes too great for out nature to deal with.
But what does the above verse say with regards to temptation? “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability…”
God will never let us be tempted beyond our ability. In other words, it’s always possible to resist the temptation. So the times we have sinned, it was possible for us to choose not to sin. But according to the determinist, it is only possible to “choose” what we have been determined to choose. And there lies the determinist’s inconsistency.
And there lies one of the strengths of the Arminian position. If God doesn’t determine us to sin, and we have the freedom not to sin, then the blame for sin can only lie with us. We are responsible for our own sins, and God is not the author of sin. God didn’t decree for us to sin, just as it is evident he didn’t decree the sins in Jer 19:5.
But why is it that we have this freedom not to sin? Is it because God is powerless and must let us have this freedom? Of course not! It is in His Sovereignty that God grants us this freedom. “…but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” It is by God’s graciousness that we are able to not sin. But at the same time we know we still choose to sin. God doesn’t force us to not sin – as we know we still sin – this is His permissive will. As in God’s grace He has granted us the ability to not sin, I also believe He has done so in regards to our ability to repent and believe, but that is a post for another day.