Free Will in Salvation: Does Salvation Require A Decision on Man’s Part?
By Jesse Morrell
This is from My Facebook:
A Calvinist said:
“There is no free will in the bible that is about salvation. there is free will when it only talks about offerings only.”
Someone else asked me:
“Can you show me in God’s Word where God says man has FREE WILL to Salvation?”
Salvation does require a free will choice:
“But as many as received him, to them he gave right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…” (Jn. 1:12).
That Greek word “receive” means to “to take, to choose, select.”
Jesus said, “If any man will come after me…” (Matt. 16:24; Lk. 9:23). To “will” in the Greek means to “have in mind, intend,” “to be resolved or determined, to purpose.”
When Jesus turned to his Apostles and said “Will ye also go away?” (Jn. 6:67) The Greek word “will” actually means to “choose or prefer,” “to will, have in mind, intent… to be resolved or determined, to purpose.”
Commenting on this passage, Cyprian said, “Therein preserving the law inviolate, whereby man is left to his liberty of choosing for himself either death or salvation…”
Have you ever noticed that the command “be ye reconciled to God” implies that man’s choice or consent is required for reconciliation to occur? This is in the imperative mood which means it is a command – commanding men to make a choice.
Jesus used the same exact language when He said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (Jn. 7:17). Again the word for “will” in this passage is “θέλω.” In this verse Jesus is implying if not explicitly stating that doing the will of God or not is a matter of man’s own free will which he may or may not choose to do. In this too Jesus is regarding man to be a free moral agent capable of choosing between two or more alternatives.
The Bible explicitly connects the freedom of man’s will to choose between two alternatives or his ability or power of contrary choice to his personal responsibility and accountability. God said, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known” (Deut. 11:26-28). And the Lord also said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19). “And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death” (Jer. 21:8).
Freewill offerings would not be spoken of as freewill offerings (Psa. 119:108) or willing offerings (Exo. 35:29) or voluntary offerings (Lev. 7:16, Eze. 46:12) if those who gave such offerings did not have the power of contrary choice.
All throughout the Bible the freedom of the will is taken for granted. Every instance of commanding, threatening, beseeching, calling, persuading, exhorting, punishing, rewarding, etc, presupposes the freedom of the will. For example, the New Testament often says “I beseech you…” (Rom. 12:1; 15:30; 16:17; 1Co. 1:10; 4:16; 16:15; 2Co. 2:8; 5:20; 6:1; 10:1; 10:2; Gal. 4:12; Eph. 4:1; Php. 4:2; 1Th. 4:1; 1Th. 4:10; 5:12; 2Th. 2:1; Phm. 1:9; 1:10; Heb. 13:19; 13:22; 1Pe. 2:11; 2Jn. 1:5).
The broken heart of God that more people do not come to His is clearly indicative of the free moral agency of man. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37). Here is a prime example of the will of man resisting the will of God. When Jesus said “ye would” not, He used the same word “θέλω” and it means “to will, have in mind, intend… to be resolved or determined, to purpose,” “to determine… choose or prefer…” This means that men had chosen or determined within themselves to do contrary to the will of God and this has caused God much heartache and grief. Many other passages speak of the broken heart of God (Gen. 6:5-6; Eze. 6:9). The concept of God’s great disappointment with His subjects evinces their free moral agency.
ALSO CHECK OUT:
The Natural Ability of Man: A Study On Free Will & Human Nature by Jesse Morrell is an exhaustive theological volume that defends the Christian doctrine of man’s free will against the false Gnostic/Calvinist doctrine of man’s natural inability.
This volume explains the truth of man’s freedom of choice in light of Church history and other doctrines like total depravity, regeneration, atonement, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, predestination, repentance, faith, the believers security, original sin, etc. One Bible teacher called this book “the most comprehensive exposition on man’s natural ability in print.”
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