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Written by David Montgomery   

Of Free Will


You hear a lot about this in society, both in the religious and secular worlds, but I have never understood it. This essay is an attempt for the writer to understand this concept as well as the reader. To do this, I need to dumb it down to its lowest level, so dummies like me can grasp and try to make an intelligent decision whether it’s true or not.

What is free will? Here is the easiest definition I have found: “God does not assert any power or influence over the will of human beings.” So it’s like, do whatever ya wanna do cause God aint a gonna do nothing about it. Wow! Think of the implications if this is true. Your eternal destiny rests in your hands. You make the decision on whether you will go to heaven or hell. You are the boss, the chief, the top dog, the big cheese, the big enchilada, the numero uno…it is ALL in your hands. Believe and be saved…do not believe and be damned. You get it? If you do not accept Christ as your personal savior, you will go to hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars. You have free will and God will not intervene in this or any important decision. Yes, He wants you to be saved but he is leaving it all up to you. Why? Because you have free will, my friend! YOU make the call!!

So, a building is burning down, ok? And a bunch of fire fighters go in and see and a roomful of people. “Hey!” the fire chief cries, “Tell me you wanna be saved and we’ll pull you guys out.” No one says anything because they have fainted from smoke inhalation. The chief speaks again, “Now look people, we really want to save you but you’ve got to accept me as your personal fireman!” No response. The chief shrugs his shoulders, walks away and leaves them all to die. This scenario compares well to eternal salvation. If God is waiting for sinners to accept Him then He is going to wait a long time. Why? Because we are dead in sin…we can’t respond to God just as those unconscious people could not respond to the fire chief.

In my opinion, there no such thing as free will. I believe in a limited will, and when you think about it, it makes sense. For instance, did you choose to be born? Did you choose the location of your birth? Did you choose the time of your birth? Did you choose your parents? Did you choose your gender? Did you choose your chemical makeup? Of course not, these things are totally beyond your control. I personally would like to be two inches taller with a lot more hair. But alas! alas! I yam what I yam.

So, if we can acknowledge that these natural and physical things are beyond our “free will” why not also spiritual things? Spiritual birth (regeneration) is just as beyond our control as is our natural birth. Jesus said this very thing to Nicodemas in John 3:7-8. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

After we are born physically, we have a will with the capability to make natural decisions both wise and unwise. Likewise, after we are born of the spirit, we have a will with the capability to make spiritual decisions both wise and unwise. Again, this makes sense…it is logical and also very comforting. I would have totally screwed up my natural birth had I been given a leadership role in it. Knowing me, I would have wanted to stay “in there” for a lot longer, but that would not have worked out so well…especially for my mother. I am still mad at my son Nathan for ruining that wonderful Sunday Robbie and I had planned. We were going to go to church, take a walk in the park, and eat some Italian. But neeeeoooow! He had to deruinate it by getting born! Should I really be angry at him? Was it his will to be born that day? Nah, it was beyond his control. Thank the good Lord that our spiritual birth is beyond our control as well.

Let’s take this a little further. Question: Does your will and the decisions you make change the fact that you were born? NO...that is a done deal isn’t it? You can really mess up and make stupid decisions, but sure enough, you were born and you still have life and a personage. The fact is: nothing you can do in this life can ever change the fact that one day, however long ago it was, you were born and came into this world. It is the same with regeneration. As Mr. Spock often said, “That is logical.”

I conclude that we do NOT have free will, and in fact, in regard to obtaining life both physical and spiritual, we have NO will or say in the matter at all. But what about God’s will? I like what Jesus said in John 6:39-40, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son (because they now have life—DM), and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Also Romans 8:28-31: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

And Matthew 6:10: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

It was God’s will that ruined sinners be given divine life and preserved forever. We do not choose God, but He chooses us. It was His will that we are saved, not our will. I would much rather leave this thing in God’s hand’s than trust it in mine.

Yet, you may say, “But it is my will be saved!” But Total Depravity comes along and says, “But you are dead and depraved and thus, you have no will at all.”

But then you cry, “But it is still my will be saved!” But Regeneration comes along and says, “But I have given you spiritual life apart from your will.”

And still you cry, “But I want to be saved!” Then Preservation comes along and says, “But I have preserved you in that spiritual state no matter what your will dictated.”

And my prayer is that you will then come to a wonderful understanding, “OK. Right! I see that now. I had nothing to do with it. It was all the work of God and the fact that I WANT to be saved is proof that I HAVE been saved!”

After that, I hope you will echo the word expressed by King Nebuchadnezzar, when he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

If you can come to this conclusion, then you are now ready to move on to the deeper levels of doctrine: election, predestination, justification, sanctification and glorification. If you cannot come to this conclusion, keep praying and keep studying. It will come, if the Lord wills. It did for me.

Thank you,
David Montgomery
 
 
 
Last Updated ( Friday, 03 April 2009 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.