Aleksey Gladysh

Just another dude with a weblog.

A case for free will and God's absolute sovereignty

By Aleksey on

I've recently been told that if God sovereignly chose whom to save instead of giving people the free will to choose salvation, then they would love God like robots instead of choosing to love Him, which would make it not love, but dry, preordained praise. The problem with such a conclusion is a confusion of what salvation, love, and praise are and a misunderstanding of their source and action.

Ephesians 2:1-10
1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

This passage is very clear: we were dead in trespasses and sins, we walked in disobedience, all our will was for the lusts of the flesh and the unregenerate mind. Please make note of this: we were DEAD! How can a dead person have free will to choose life? It's impossible: life after death requires divine intervention; a dead person is only free to rot in his grave! When we were sinners, our understanding was darkened and our will was in bondage to sin (Ephesians 4:18; Romans 6:6). Verse 5 makes the point absolutely clear: while we were yet dead in sins, God brought us to life with Christ, and raised us up in Him. Regeneration happens without any act on our part whatsoever. God brings us to life by His grace alone and for His glory (Ephesians 1:4-6) and when we are regenerated, we are now free from death and bondage to sin and can now do the good works that God has ordained for us to do.

So, if we have no will in being saved (who among the dead has the will to rise up?), how can our love for and praise to God be genuine? Are we not merely then robots? Hardly. We were robots before, enslaved to fulfill only the desires of our flesh and wicked mind. We were dead, with no free will to do any good, and any good we did was for our own benefit, so that added to our wicked desire, we falsely did a good deed, making it worse than an openly bad deed! But now we are freed by the grace of God from that bondage, how can we not worship Him for it? How can we not love Him when He loved us so at first?

What is love anyway; what is it's source? "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." - 1 John 4:8. How can one ever choose to love God before God is in him when God is love? Let me ask that again: God is love, so can you have love towards God when love Himself isn't in you? Can you choose not to love God when He is in you? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," - Galatians 5:22. You can only love God when His Spirit is within you, and you can't not love Him when you have His Spirit! So you do not choose to love God, but when God's love is in you, you can rest assured that your love towards God is genuine, because God is the only source of genuine love that there is.

What shall we then say about praise? When God raised us up to life from dead works how can we not willfully praise Him? How can preordained praise be dry? If you were born a baby, you were meant to breath. Can your breathing be not genuine? Genuine praise comes from the joy that God gives us when we see His might power. When the apostle Paul finishes telling of God's sovereignty in Romans chapter 11, he bursts forth in praise:

29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35. Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

So, do we have free will then? Of course we do. Do we have a choice of whether to breath or not? Yes, but preventing yourself from breathing will result in suffocation. But more importantly, you are only truly free when you are in the truth: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32. You are freed from sin and death so that you may freely worship the One who freed you! True free will is not independent of God. In fact, the opposite is the same; the will that tries to be independent of God is at enmity with God and is subject to the power of darkness and therefore is not free at all. The same can be said of love and praise to God. It is not genuine and not free if chosen independently of God, because God is the only source of genuine love and praise! For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen!