Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
How Free is the Will pt 3
- There are two common accusations against this teaching.
o Man cannot be responsible if he is not able.
§ Fallen men do have the mental and physical ability, but deliberately reject God and His gospel.
· They love sin more than God.
§ They freely and willingly oppose the God of the scriptures and this is precisely why man is responsible.
- What about “Whosoever will”?
o Does this imply ability?
§ This is not about man’s ability, but about God’s promise to those who do come.
o God commands us to do things everyday that we do not have the ability to accomplish.
- For the unbeliever, the command to love God with all their being is just as much applicable to them as us…
o Not to mention the rest of the commandments and…
- Yet no unbelieving person can love God OR come close to obeying Him without the Spirit of God!
o Even as Christians, we cannot fulfill a single command without God.
- Jesus says you can do nothing apart from Him in John 15:5 - that is, you cannot bear fruit apart from Christ and...
§ We do not rely on our natural ability, but upon Christ for everything we do!
o The general command is a promise for those who do come to God through Christ.
§ Are these people unknown to God? NO!
· God is omniscient and He knows who will come to Him AND He draws those who come to Him (John )
- What is the purpose of these commands and truisms?
o One is to describe what it means to come to Christ.
§ We must repent and believe in Him.
· This describes the attitude of the heart of a true believer.
o There are two distortions of this teaching.
§ First, there are men who genuinely want to come, but can’t come to Christ because they are not the elect.
§ Second, men are forced against their will to come to Christ even though they do not want to come.
· They are the elect so too bad!
o This is a BAD caricature of the teaching and is only meant to poison the well.
§ Those who do want to come to Christ represent those who are the elect.
§ Those who do NOT want to come to Christ may represent those who are not elect.
o I use the word may because until someone dies there is hope for their salvation.
§ If you do not know whether you are the elect, do not delay, but repent and trust in Christ ALONE for your salvation.
· Not in works of religion, works of good deeds, being a faithful church member BUT in Jesus Christ and nothing else.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
How Free is the Will pt 2
- We should speak of free agency instead of free will.
o Free-will, generally speaking, refers to man’s inherit ability to choose either good or evil.
§ This affects the scriptural view of man which states man does NOT have any ability to choose good.
· Romans - So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
o Free agency refers to man’s ability to make free choices in accordance with who he is.
§ Our choices are always a reflection of the heart, agreeing with what we think and feel.
· Another way of saying it–man will choose what he pleases.
§ This is the kind of freedom everyone has and is the reason we are accountable for our choices.
- God does not prevent man from coming to Him or believing in Him.
o Man has the physical ability and mental capacity to come and believe in Him BUT….
§ Man loves his sin and hates God.
o In fact, because man does understand God’s truth and realizes the demands of the gospel, he does NOT want to come.
§ Look at the Pharisees and the Jews in the gospel of John who understood Jesus’ teaching.
· They were offended by what Jesus was saying.
o They understood it and rejected it.
§ See also Romans 1:18-21.
o So man’s problem does not relate to his physical or mental ability - man's problem is his moral inability.
§ Man has NO innate desire to repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
· For a fuller study see our original study on sin and its effects.
o Do we deny that people have a choice? No!
§ Everyone has a choice
· What’s the problem then?
§ People do not want to choose God, but they do want their sin.
Friday, February 19, 2010
How Free is the Will pt 1
- Much of this was based off of Mitch Cervinka’s excellent article on free will found here.
- Do we have a free will? If so, how free is the will? What do the scriptures say about our will?
o As we looked at here, the scriptures clearly teach we are all sinners by nature.
§ We are not sinners because we sin, but sin because we are sinners.
· Because of our sinfulness we sin willingly and constantly by choice.
§ Until we are converted to Christ, we will always choose sin instead of righteousness.
o What about good works then? How about unbelievers who feed & provide for the poor? Who do many beneficial things for those less fortunate?
§ Romans - …whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
§ Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please him (God)…
§ Isaiah 64:6 – Righteous acts = filthy rags.
§ Romans 3:10,12 – There is none righteous, not even one. There is none good, not even one.
o Again, any so-called good works done by an unbeliever are done for reasons other than for the glory of God.
§ They are not done to magnify God’s Name and exalt Jesus Christ.
· There is none good, not even one.
o Until we realize that our character, our nature, the essence of our being is utterly sinful, then we will never see ourselves as God sees us, nor will we fully appreciate the depth of our sin and our desperate need for Christ.
- What about the will?
o It is not autonomous, being independent of all other things.
§ Our choices are always based on rational and emotional considerations.
o For example, given a choice of a beefy burger or a salad, we might choose one or the other or both for various reasons.
§ We consider our health, our desire for juicy burgers, our financial situation, or even our dislike for either one.
o We do not make random choices, but our choices are based on values or priorities at any given time.
§ An evil or sinful value system pits our desires, goals, etc, over against God’s.
§ A godly value system is based ultimately on the love for God and desire to glorify Him.
· Our will or choices are a reflection of the heart
o An evil heart will reflect self-centered sinful choices.
o A godly heart will display choices that honor God.