Many persons may reason that if the will is voluntarily choosing something and not coerced, then it is free. Well, we all make voluntary choices but there is still another sense in which the will is not free. When we speak of freedom of the will we need to ask, freedom relative to what?
Historically speaking, Biblical scholars have understood a "free will" to be one which has in its power the moral ability to choose good or evil. So when we ask whether man has a free will, we are asking if his will is free (or in bondage) relative to sin and evil. In this respect, of course, the will is not free because through man’s innate wickedness, due to the fall, he is of necessity
driven to what is evil, that is, unable to do any redemptive good
(Rom 8:7). The natural man's many good works, even though in accord with God's commands, are not well pleasing to God when weighed against His ultimate criteria and standard of perfection. The love of God and His law is never the unbelievers' deepest animating motive and principle, so it does not earn him the right to redemptive blessings from a holy God. And if a choice to do evil is made out of necessity (since the love of God is never the unbeliever's motive), then it is not free, because it cannot choose otherwise. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit
, the natural person of uncircumcised heart is stiffnecked (of necessity) and will refuse to obey the commandments of the law and the gospel. And if the natural man chooses to sin of necessity, there is no sense
in which he is free that ultimately matters to God. All choices we make are ethical ones, since, in them, we either glorify God or we do not, and God holds us accountable for these choices. And because God holds us accountable for every choice and thought, the ethical nature of each choice is of primary concern in determining whether the will is free or not.
Bad behavior itself, however, is really only a symptom of a much greater core concern. The natural man chooses/wills only what that inner principle desires most. But if the acts of his will are not determined by his internal nature, but rather are choices unconstrained by our nature and desires, as libertarians claim, then in what sense can it be said that those decisions are the results of a decision of the person himself? So any idea of a neutral will is absurd since our will is always driven by its moral nature which direct our desires (either we love God in our choice or we do not). Jesus said, "a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bad fruit." Thus, he is saying that it is the nature of the tree determines the kind of fruit it produces. Only by "making the tree good", Jesus says, will the fruit be good. In other words, unless Jesus redeems us from the bondage to sin (Rom 6; 2 Tim 2:25), we have no hope in the world to make any right (redemptive) choice, including believing the gospel (see John 6:65). Again, in what sense are we in bondage (slaves) to sin if not by our affections or wills? Our affections and desires drive the choices we make binding our will over to certain choices. Jesus said to Nicodemus,
"...men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light ..." John 3:19-20 (emphasis mine)
According to this, and many other passages, people exercise their will, of necessity, according to what they love and hate. The reason anyone does not come into the light is because he hates it and his affection is exclusively set on something else. The natural man, without the grace of the Holy Spirit to open his blind eyes and turn his heart of stone to a heart of flesh, loves darkness and hates the light. His will is then exercised within the constraints of the affections, desires and passions of his nature. In Romans chapter 6 when it says we are slaves to sin, in what sense is the natural man a "slave to sin" if not by the will and affections? This is a legitimate question.
The subject of whether or not man has a free will is a more easily understandable than most Christians imagine. The fact is, it can easily be proven from Scripture, that man has no free will (to choose good or evil), and while many already hold to this idea inconsistently, all true Christians really do embrace this idea without consciously knowing it. Ask most evangelicals, whether man has a free will, however, and most will automatically answer, "yes of course", without showing scriptural evidence, but many other beliefs they already confess flatly contradict this assertion. Let me attempt to show you where this inconsistency exists. Here are two simple questions to ask anyone which will remove all false presuppositions and prove, once for all, that the natural man has no free will:
1. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit plays any role in the sinner coming to faith in Christ? (Because the Bible affirms this, all true evangelicals will answer 'yes')
2. Do you believe that, apart from any supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, the sinner, by nature, has the will, ability, affection and desire to come to Christ?
(Because the Bible denies this all true evangelicals will answer 'no')
Thus you have, in two simple questions, completely disarmed any and all argument against the free will of man. Here is plain proof that all Christians, without exception, believe that no man is found NATURALLY willing
to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ.To read the rest click here: