Apologetics: The Truth of Freewill

The concept of freewill gets tossed around a lot by both Christians and nonbelievers. The question is, do we have free will, and can we live our lives the way we want?

Free will is something that has been sadly twisted and corrupted by both Christians and Atheists alike. We no longer hold God’s original idea of free will, but our own concept. For a lot of us it is the freedom to choose how we live our lives and who we believe in. A common argument I’ve seen against God is the idea that God gave us free will, yet punishes us with Hell for not believing in Him. For the nonbeliever, this means we don’t have free will, which means God has contradicted Himself, which in turn means He doesn’t exist. However, this argument forgets something major: sin.

Paul talks about his freewill in Romans 7:15-20, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” 

Paul said he could never do what he wanted to do, nor live the life he wanted to live. He hated the things he did, yet he continued to do them. Why? It was not him that did these things, but the sin that dwelt within him. The evil he didn’t want to do, he did, and the good he wanted to do, he couldn’t do.

And so we have come to believe that free will is us choosing the life we want to live when in reality it is the virus of sin that decides the path our lives take. Paul commands us in Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” This is a command for those in Christ, but for those who live without, live in servitude to sin and its passions, not their own will. The concept of freewill we have come to believe is entirely false, as we will never have the authority to choose the path for our own lives, we simply follow the steps of sin.

So does God give us free will at all? He does, but we need to see the true concept of free will God has given us to understand. God gave us free will as a window to escape sin’s reign. It’s God opening the door to salvation, and the freedom He’s given us to take it. It has never been the other way around.

This is further seen in God’s very action towards us. His relentless pursuit. John 6:44 says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The gift of free will is the ultimate act of mercy towards us. It’s the gift Jesus gave on the cross, the open door to salvation. How sad it is that we would abuse this gift and use it as an excuse to live for sin’s passions.

However, this can also come with an argument. “It’s not freewill if we’re forced to choose God.” This comes because we haven’t yet seen the end of sin. Sin, when it’s finished, leads to death and destruction. In the novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress, by James Bunyan, Christian-the main character-realizes his home is about to be wiped out by a massive fire. This fire symbolizes the end of sin. However, a messenger by the name of Evangelist comes along and offers him the way to salvation. This symbolizes the gift of freewill. Christian willingly accepts this invitation, wanting to be delivered from sin’s destruction. If we could see sin’s end, we’d all want the salvation Jesus gave. This very thing, Christ has done, revealing to us our fallen nature and sin’s corrupted end through His Word. But alas, we’ve deemed these warnings as fables and have turned to serve another, far more gruelling and demanding master.

The weight of sin may be great, but the power of mercy is so much greater.


16 thoughts on “Apologetics: The Truth of Freewill

  1. I find the real issue with freewill is everyone will really ascribe it to humans but none is ever given to God… he just reacts as we let him or don’t. That’s the real problem with the discussion as far as I call it.

    1. That is true. We believe freewill is a human right, but when God exercises His desires and will, it’s rejected. For the Christian,our will shouldn’t be our own, but His.
      Thank you for your thoughts Vonleonhardt, and God bless!

    1. If by freewill, you mean our will? Then yes, we need to lay down our lives and follow the will of Christ, not our own. His is always greater than ours.
      Thanks for commenting, God bless.

  2. I think you are forgetting we cannot completely lay down our own will.
    Temptation and sin is always with us
    That is why Christians , Jews and Muslims are urged to confess their sins before God.
    At our best we concur with the will of God but never a hundred percent.
    Another point ; we do not always know Gods will and may have conflicting interpretations.

    1. That is true, good point. We’ll always be human, and we’ll always be tempted by sin. However, God sees the heart, and when we set our hearts upon Him and to do His will, He will begin the process of change. When we come to Christ, that doesn’t mean sin won’t try to come in, and a lot of times it may even win, but we are called to lay down our heart’s desires. Actions will follow.
      On your last point there, we may not always know God’s plan for our lives, but His will for us is to love as He loves, and to live in a relationship with Him.
      Thanks for commenting, God bless!

    2. I agree with Lucas here, I think in my opinion that we can concur with God’s will 100% because when we make Jesus the center of our life, we are perfect because He is in us and with that He is also in complete control over us, our only job is stay steadfast in Him

      1. I must warn you that is a dangerous doctrine called perfectionism.
        ‘ All have fallen short ‘
        Im not too sure of the quote but its there in the Bible.
        ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’

        1. Yes but also in James, it says that when we focus on Jesus and hand our lives over to Him, we become a new person in Christ, it’s like you said,
          “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” And that’s right. That means we can’t do it ourselves, only Jesus can perfect us inside our hearts. Remember Jesus can not be where sin is, so if He is in us, than we are Perfect.
          James 1:4 says
          “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
          I hope I have helped you to understand my point,

        2. The spirit is willing is about the failure of the disciples to wait and pray. You must recognise human failure. I don’t mean to offend you or detract from your faith. We are all everyone failures due to sin and the desires of the flesh.
          Today great emphasis is placed on the Christian life but we need to admit our weaknesses that was why John the Baptist preached but he was sadly killed for telling the truth.
          It is why the Catholic church instigated confession that we may be forgiven.
          Please don’t take this personely I am not trying to get at you.

        3. But still as I appreciate and understand what you’re saying, but you must understand, that wasn’t Jesus, when we die to self and give our lives, it’s no longer you or me they see, It’s Jesus. And He is in everyone’s eyes Perfect. So when He lives in us and through us to guide us down the right path, we are Perfect because he is in us.
          Blessings to you, you are a very intelligent gifted person. Take care.

        4. You are mistaken I have an IQ of about 105 slightly above average.
          I failed the eleven plus exam.
          I’m 74 married with four grown up children.
          My spelling is dodgy and my punctuation poor.
          You are taking an extreme position and like all extreme views it can lead to self delusion.
          If it gets on top of you remember you have the sanity of the established church to fall back on.

        5. Kaptonok, I agree with what you’re saying here. Our salvation cannot depend on our works or we’ll fail. The fight for perfection is one that must be forfeited. I read a quote the other day that said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” Our righteousness is in Christ alone, yet confession and repentance is something we must do everyday to remain dependent on Him.

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