John 1:12-13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
This week my uncle passed away. This was my mom’s only brother and, even though he was a good man in the sight of the world, I do not think he was saved. It is not that he hadn’t heard the gospel before as my mom gave it to him on many occasions as did I in person in Vancouver. He worked for the BBC in Hong Kong and had quite an amazing life but now it is all over. I am reminded of the words of Jesus: “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul”. My hope would be that in the last hours of his life he turned to Christ and that I will see him again in glory. If that is not the case then I can still rest in the providence of a good God.
One person, not from the church, asked me an interesting question which was: “If your uncle perished then was it because he rejected Christ with his free will or because God chose not to save him”? This opened up an opportunity to really discuss what the Bible teaches regarding man’s so called “free will” and God’s sovereignty. We covered some of what we looked at in the series “God’s Will” from church a few weeks back so I won’t rehash those things now. Interestingly enough I had another person ask me this morning about man’s free will. “Free will” seems to be a sticking point in many Christian’s understanding preventing them from embracing the truth of scripture, and it is often the go to reply when one deals with issues, such as the death of my uncle. The reason free will is the go to answer is because it is the easiest one that enables people to keep their theology of man’s sovereignty intact. It allows them to “keep God off the hook” in regards to hardship and tragedy.
This week we will look at man’s freedom and choices. Is man free? If by the word "free" one means that people have the ability to make certain choices on their own (i.e. free from compulsion, force, or coercion), then the answer is "yes." For example, people have the ability to choose to go to the store or stay home, to buy a phone or not, to eat beef or to eat fish, etc.; such choices are within the natural capacity of human beings. People are free to act according to their nature. Nobody denies this. The question people really want to debate is does man have the free ability to choose God over self, holiness over sin, or righteousness over carnality? Unregenerate people are not free to choose righteousness or wickedness; they are, on the contrary, "free from righteousness" (Romans 6:20). By nature, man’s will is a "will not" (Psalm 10:4; Psalm 58:3; John 5:40, Isaiah 26:10). His only inclination is toward carnality. The natural man will never choose anything but sin, because he cannot operate outside the parameters of his sinful nature (Romans 8:7). The nature of man’s will is not free here at all.
Join us this weekend as we deal a death blow to the foreign idea that the natural man is morally free. This study is so important, in understanding human nature as well as the power of God, that I cannot overemphasize enough how much I believe all should attend. Bring a friend or two that have their own ideas about man’s freedom and let us all reason together to learn the truth of what the Bible really does teach.
Pastor Scott and the entire CBC Staff