Free Will

<<independence>>

This the freedom of humans to make voluntary choices not determined by prior causes or divine intervention (determinism or fatalism). We are not puppets or robots that God directs and manipulates for unless we are free to choose we can’t be held responsible for our actions. Although we are

   Consider the possible consequences                                 before you make a choice

free to choose, we can’t escape the consequences of those choices. Either man can say, ‘Lord your will be done’ or God says to rebellious man, ‘your will be done’. As we are to give account to God for all we do, it wise to consider the options and choices presented to us in that light, choosing those that will bless and benefit rather than cause loss and are to our detriment (Rom 3:19, 6:23, 14:12; Gal 6:7,8). God does not violate our wills by choosing us and redeeming us against our wishes. Rather, He changes our hearts so that our wills choose Him. He choose and loved us first, then we responded (Jn 15:16; 1 Jn 4:19).

It is impossible for our finite human minds to fully comprehend how God works, as His ways are completely different to ours – including how He shapes and moulds the will of man (Isa 55:8; Rom 11:33-36). “God does whatever pleases Him…No-one can hold back His hand” (Ps 115:3, 135:6; Dan 4:35). “My word will accomplish what I desire” (Isa 55:11). God knows the future and is sovereign over all (Isa 46:10; Mt 6:8; Col 1:16,17). In many areas His purposes are accomplished through people; both those who are yielded to Him and those opposed to His ways. Humanity aligns themselves with a pathway or mindset and God ‘assists’ them, “giving them over” to what they desire, outworking the election and predestination concepts (Rom 1:21-32, 2:6-9). So although neither God nor Satan can force us to obey or rebel (as they will not over-ride our freewill), they can bring thoughts into our minds from which we decide the response.

David did as God directed and it is recorded “He served the purposes of God in his generation” (2 Sam 3:18; Act 13:36). Prior to the exodus from Egypt, Pharaoh had numerous opportunities to respond but continually resisted God. When the Bible says, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart” this was not over-riding his will, rather it was confirming the decision to oppose God. Pharaoh is an example of the “Kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, He directs it wherever He pleases” (Ex 9:12; Prov 21:1; Rom 9:17). Rather than oppose God, we can be like Queen Esther, who chose to co-operate with God becoming an instrument in outworking His plans (Est 4:14).

Our natural desires are largely preoccupied with self, and if not disciplined this ability of freewill can result in our downfall (Jdg 17:6; 1 Kgs 11:2; Prov 14:12). The self-rule choice is continually before us, “Choose this day (and in each situation) who you will serve” (Josh 24:15). While specific rules (eg the Ten Commandments), along with the principles of the Word are to be obeyed, and common courtesy (by doing to others as we would like done to us) should be observed, many choices are purely over to our preference as we exercise logic and common sense.

It is voluntarily giving up our future and rights in surrender to serve our Master, “I choose to do thy will, O Lord” (Mt 26:39,42). Yes, it will be costly; however, the
long-term rewards are phenomenal. As believers we are not to live by the OT legalism, nor by the license to do whatever we please, rather by the grace to act as we should,

 Make good choices by operating                        within His perimeters

and with our conscience not condemning us in what we do (Rom 14:22,23).

A freewill offering is an additional, voluntary gift made by an individual beyond the normal tithes that each Christian should at least give to the work of the Lord.

See also: accountability, boundaries, choice, consequences, desires, election, fatalism, freedom, legal, predestination, self-will, sovereignty of God, tithes, will.


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