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Predestination and Free Will

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“A basic answer to scornful Arminians”

We frequently receive communications from Arminians who accuse us of biblical error. They throw out a challenge (or so they think – it is not much of a challenge at all) that if we believe in predestination, this makes us all automatons. They claim that human beings have ‘free will’ and that is why we must say that we ‘choose’ salvation. If we do not accept this, then we are saying God predetermines everything and so we have no choice at all. This ignorance is straightforward balderdash!

This short paper is not a textual study, but an outline of the argument; other articles deal with ‘free will’ and predestination.

Free Will

Free will ONLY exists in God, because only He is omnipotent. Yet, He actually limits His free will actions purposely. Mankind does not have free will, and never has had it. Rather, Adam’s will was rooted in God’s plan and conformed to it, until he sinned. Thus, his will was not ‘free’ but was expected to comply with God’s requirements.

From the time of the first human sin (Lucifer sinned before man did), no man or woman has had a will that is ‘free’ in any sense whatever. Indeed, all unsaved people’s wills are under the direct control of Satan. They cannot do what is good in God’s eyes and cannot choose to do what is right of their own volition, even when other unsaved people view what they do or say as ‘good’... to God it is all as ‘filthy rags’, worthless.

A ‘Timeline’ of the Will

We are all conceived and born in sin. From the very beginning of our existence in the womb we are destined to hell for our Sin: this ‘Sin’ is the core of our being, which leads us to commit ‘daily’ sins. As an unsaved person I was unable to do what was acceptable to God. I could only do what my ‘father’ Satan demanded of me. Therefore, I had no free will. Indeed, I had no will of my own, because I did not have a choice as a person bound by the devil.

When born-again, a person is acted upon by the Holy Spirit so that he begins to seek God. Before this amazing point no man seeks after God (because his ‘father’ is Satan, who hates God). From that point, the person begins to bend his own will towards godly intervention, but he is still not capable of having a ‘free will’.

Then comes the momentous heavenly act of salvation. That is, we ‘see the light’, repent, and are saved. The act of salvation is instant, with no time lapse between being unsaved and saved. It is an act of God, Who predestinated us. This means that He alone causes us to be saved; we have no choice because it is a decision made in eternity. Hence, ‘free will’ has no part in it, nor does a limited human form of the will.

In the matter of salvation, then, we have no choice but to accept what has been given. It is a gift that is never taken back, and it does not rely in any sense on our willpower, choice or even acceptance.

After salvation, we then have genuine choice – to do good or to do evil. Only a saved person can have this choice. Even then, it is not ‘free will’, for, in essence, we return to a position almost like that of Adam before he fell. (Almost, but not the same). For the first time in our lives we can choose, and so have a limited form of human will.

God predestinates everything, but, as saved people, we can go astray and sin, thus betraying God’s will for our lives. We are designed to obey every part of God’s will, in everything. But, after salvation we have a choice. When we move away from God’s will we sin, and our will is weakened. The closer we are to God, the more we want to obey His will in everything, so sin features less. But, at no time do we have perfect will, and especially not a ‘free will’. If we had perfect free will we would ourselves be gods – but we are not.

As created beings we do not have self-determination, we are not self-sufficient, nor our own volition. We are either enslaved to Satan, or we are the servants of Almighty God... and any true servant always does what his master demands, not what he himself wishes. Beside all else, we do not have the capacity or the knowledge to have free will!

So, in answer to the Arminian jibe – nobody has free will and saved people have limited will. However, in the matter of salvation, he has no will at all, for God has chosen him in eternity, and what God chooses in eternity cannot be undone or amended. It is galling temerity to think we can choose to be saved, against all scriptural proof. It is also intellectual weakness to think we can have free will.

What of our acceptance of the gift of salvation? Surely that is of our own will? Yes it is – but only because it is part of the free gift of salvation, an acceptance by us brought about by sheer joy. The Arminian jibes, then, are without substance.

Also see: A-094, A-156, A-157, A-448, O-161, A-150. A-188, A-204, A-220, A-305, A-548

© June 2016

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom