Dear Calvinist friend,
What does it mean to sigh?
In case you’re not familiar with the meaning, the technical definitions are: 1.) (as a verb) to emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling, and 2.) (as a noun) a long, deep, audible exhalation expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling.
To say the least, practically speaking, sighing is a very human emotion that mixes frustration and pain and the overwhelming sensation of unbelief at the situation that can accompany either or both.
Did you know Jesus sighed? More than once according to scripture. But one time in particular is found in Mark 8:12 which says, “But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.””
Why did Jesus sigh in Mark 8:12? I mean that wasn’t just a sigh in the flesh there – it was a God in the flesh sigh that went all the way down to his spirit!
Well, think about the situation that he was facing.
Sign after sign after sign after sign had already been given to the people (just read John’s gospel – not to mention the miracle that Mark had just covered) but the entire culmination of those signs couldn’t be anything but one big sigh on the part of Jesus because of the unbelief on the part of the people!
Why would Jesus sigh if the people couldn’t help but be caught in unbelief at that time? Better yet, why would Jesus be caught in a state of frustrating unbelief if the people weren’t capable of doing what he desired of them? Either way it’s a good question. How could Jesus not believe what he was hearing if the people couldn’t believe in what he was doing?
My Calvinist friend, I hope you understand what I’m about to say when I think of the damage that the doctrine of irresistible grace has done to the truth of free-will and the responsibility that comes with it in the eyes of many of its followers…sigh.