Got Free Will?
First things first. The only place to consistently find truth is by reading or hearing the word of God that is recorded in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures called the Bible. Next, it requires faith in an unseen God who dictated the words that were written. Argue with this and truth becomes unknowable. So, let’s cut to the chase, and with God’s Spirit as guide ask the question, “Does man have free will?”
It doesn’t take much to recall that Adam and Eve had free will. The choice was theirs to obey or not. They chose wrong and something died, their fellowship with God. No longer would He walk in the garden with them. They were expelled and prevented from eating the fruit of the tree of life. They would now die because of their free will. But God knew what would happen long before their fall. The day would come when He would make a sacrifice to restore His fellowship with man.
Still Got Free Will?
What about those times of being dragged to do those things now regretted? Or those times enticed by desires that were uncontrollable? Emotions triggered? Sounds like a bit of slavery to me. There is an interesting verse of Scripture seldom quoted that will change your mind if you still think you run your own show. “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that He might have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32) The reason this verse is rarely heard is to avoid having to explain that little word “might.” We are “bound to disobedience,” but God is not bound to have mercy on them all. So, under these conditions how “might” we be saved?
The apostle John makes it pretty clear how that happens. Jesus, God’s Son came into the world. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, (the Jewish nation) but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, (Salvation) He gave the right to become children of God – Children born not of natural descent, nor human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:10-13) How is it that some received Him and others did not? They all heard the same message and saw the same deeds. What caused that difference between receiving and rejecting?
Seems We Still Do Have Free Will!
Jesus gives the answer in the form of a judgement. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:19-21) When those bound to disobedience are made aware by God, some “will not” come to Jesus and will remain in darkness. But others who live by truth acknowledge their deeds done in the sight of God. That is a process called repentance, and it is fellowship with God restored.
No Room For Boasting
“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. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Only “by” God’s “grace” do those who are “bound over to disobedience” receive the blessing of His presence as His Spirit draws them to His Son. His light shines wherever the gospel is proclaimed. Into His light some come (be it ever so slowly), because they live by truth. Others run from the truth. God, who is Spirit, revealed Himself through His Son in order to be received. “so that He MIGHT have mercy on them all.”
About this Free Will thing. God shows us the beauty of His will. In time we truly want His will to be our own. Pray that more would receive Jesus. He came in His Father’s name. It would be a tragic loss to reject Him.