Several days ago I was having dinner with a couple of friends. During conversation the topic of mans free will came up. They are not Reformed in their theology thus they hold fast to mans free will. It is interesting to try and speak with someone regarding this topic because in my opinion, those that proclaim the validity of it are demonstrating their sinful, humanistic nature in that they deny the sovereign will of God and hold their will as an equal to that of the Lord and creator. Ultimately, if the final decision regarding salvation is mans and not God’s then man has usurped the will of God, the election and predestination of God, the atoning, propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. If the free will of man is so apparent as a doctrine, can it be as fully explained through scripture as the Trinity?
With many of the people I have discussed this with, free will is always assumed and never even demonstrated through scripture, at most they only offer verses that deal with an individual making choices but never demonstrate free will. Sadly, most equivocate when using the term or they do not understand that a denial of free will is not a denial of an ability to make choices.The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans tells us that God’s mercy and compassion on man is not based on the will or exertion of man but rather on God, Rom. 9:16. This follows right after the demonstration of God’s purpose of election in verse 11. Here, Paul establishes that God’s election of Jacob over Esau was not based on the works of either since the election was before either had done anything good or bad. This verse too follows after Ch.3 v 11-12, where Paul tells us that there are none righteous, none seek after God and that none do good… not even one.
Who then is sovereign? Is man? Is God? Are they both sovereign or do they both work together to secure salvation? If then God alone is sovereign then His election to salvation is not based on anything outside of God including mans choices. If salvation is based on the free will choices of man then God is no longer sovereign since His election to salvation is now dependent upon man’s free will choice. If then salvation is wholly dependent upon man choosing then the work of Christ on the cross has been made void and empty until that very day that man decided to choose. The propitiatory sacrifice is no longer a perfect work that saves to the uttermost rather it only makes salvation a possibility which is only effective when and if man so chooses.