Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whose Will Is It, Anyway?

I’ve always been an “every man has free will” believer.  Like many others, I’ve been known to make statements like, “They just need to turn their life over to Jesus”!  However, “free will” vs. “sovereign grace” is one of many topics that I’ve been re-evaluating in recent years.  As I re-read Scriptures with a new lens, it seems that my long-standing view may be inaccurate.  Would you be willing to ponder this with me for a few minutes?

If I have “free will,” why was I delivered into this world without a choice to be born?  Why was I affected by the behavior of Adam and born a sinner (Psalm 51:5), yet had no choice in the matter?

I didn’t choose to be hostile toward God, yet Scriptures says that I was born that way.  In fact it says that:

  • I was incapable of submitting to God.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:7).

·        The inclinations of my heart are evil

Every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5).

·        I had no power to even repent.

Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots?  Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil (Jeremiah 13:23).

What was the cause of my repulsive condition?

  • According to Eph 2:1-2, I was born not only spiritually dead toward God, but with a spirit that desired to follow after another master.

·        1Corinthians 2:14 says, The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Let’s make sure we are grasping this. 

We are born:

·        hostile toward God

·        without power to repent

·        spiritually dead

·        incapable of comprehending or accepting divine truth

·        with a spirit which inclines our every thought toward wickedness

Is it foolish pride to believe that we are even capable of choosing Jesus?

Some might be thinking, “Well, Miss Bonnie, I know that I, for one, choseJesus.”  If you had the wisdom and will to choose Jesus and I did not, then you have reason to boast.  However, Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I hear a contradiction when people confess that we are saved by grace through faith, yet, assert that we have free will to choose Jesus.  Isn’t choosing “works”?  If Ido the choosing, then who gets the credit?  Me?  The one who “led me to Jesus”?  God?  All the above?  Salvation is either by grace or by works, it can’t be both!

Saying that we have free will to choose Jesus seems to run contrary to Romans 11:4-6, “Just as God reserved for Himself seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal, so too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would not longer be grace.”

If I were born without the ability to accept the things of God, then how did my relationship with Jesus come to be? Can a dead person willto receive life or like Lazarus is he/she raised from the dead, regenerated by the power of God and then called forth?

By the mercy of the Heavenly Father and power of Jesus’ resurrection, we are given new life (1 Peter 1:3).  It is He who gives us a new spirit and a heart (Ezekiel 11:19) which will respond only to its Master’s voice.

Can we rightfully pat ourselves on the back for “choosing Jesus” while condemning others who have not or is it true that no one can come to Jesus unlessthe Father has enabled them (John 6:65)?

Whose will is it, anyway?



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