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WHAT IS FREE WILL?

 

FREE WILL (Wikipedia):  The ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. Free will is closely linked to the concepts of responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgements which apply only to actions that are freely chosen.

 

In the very first chapter of the Bible God commands humans to be fruitful and exercise dominion over the animal kingdom and the earth. The fact that God must command us to carry out His will reveals that we are not forced to do so. We can choose to obey God or not. See, Genesis 1:26; 2:16-17; 4:6-7.

 

Throughout Scripture, God gives us choices and calls on us to choose the way He knows is best. Recall the way God talks to the Israelites when finalizing His covenant with them at the end of Deuteronomy.  See Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Proverbs 1:29, Joshua 24:15 and Isaiah 55:6-7.

 

Evil originates in us, not God. To give just a few more illustrations, we could cite King Solomon (I Kings 11:6, 9), King Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:14), and King Zedekiah (2 Chronicles 36:12-13).  Jerusalem fell to a low moral point during the time of Jeremiah because God’s people had “a revolting and rebellious heart.” (Jeremiah 5:23) The Lord asked them, “How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jeremiah 4:14)

 

Because we are genuinely free, many things God wills aren’t accomplish, and many evils God wishes could be prevented happen.  An example:  If God instructs certain of us to sow into a ministry and His instructions are ignored, because of disobedience, said ministry does not have enough cash to accomplish what God has instructed men and women of God to do (2 Corinthians 9:7).  You see, what is accomplished here on earth, once again, is not ALL up to God.  God has His part to do and we have to do OUR PART. 

 

Another clear example of the Lord placing choices before people; calling on them to follow Him, is found in Ezekiel 18.

 

The Lord makes it emphatically clear that he doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9, 2 Timothy 2:4, Revelation 3:20, Revelation 22:17). However, it is our choice to accept His invitation.  He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He rather wants everyone to embrace the life He offers them.  But because love must be freely chosen, He cannot simply decree that He gets what He wants. God pleads with people to turn to Him, but He will not force the matter (Luke 18:7, Mark 8:34, John 3:16, Hebrews 11:6).

 

Another way Scripture reveals that humans are free to choose, is by depicting them as the originators of their own free actions. For example, Jesus’ taught that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45)  Similarly, Jesus taught that it was out of the person’s own heart that “evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, [and] slander” arise (see Matthew 15:19, James 1:13-16, James 4:7). These are not things that God in any sense desires or intentionally plans. They originate in a persons’ own heart.

 

So for those of you wanted examples of free will in the Bible.  There is no question God gives us the opportunity to choose everything we do from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep at night.  Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” . . . whether we choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice He offered up freely for our redemption . . . all examples of free will in the Bible are too numerous to list.

 

Following our Captain in Battle,

Delann Conrad