Musings 61

The idea of “free-will” sounds so attractive and it seems to alleviate so many problems, but that is only on the surface. The doctrine of “free-will” and the things that must be true for it to be true are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to free grace alone. The doctrine of “free-will” is simply at war with grace since the only true grace is a sovereign grace. There is no real middle between “free-will” and free-grace. The two cannot be reconciled and there is no middle ground between the two. It is one or the other. Justification by grace alone will not admit of a work of the “free-will” and a “free-will” cannot admit of a free-grace which saves as it pleases apart from any and all works of men. While we live in a day where people are always trying to reconcile beliefs and find a place in the middle, this cannot be done with these two beliefs. Both cannot be true despite all the efforts of very nice people to do so.

Below are some quotes of men from the history of the Church, though all are after the Reformation. They saw the issue with great clarity and perhaps we need to wrestle with this once again in our time. This is not a simple issue and it is not an issue that we can stand to the side and let it slide. The Gospel of grace alone is at stake in this issue and we must take sides and we must stand strong on this one.

“This false idea of ‘free-will’ is a real threat to salvation, and a delusion fraught with the most perilous consequences” (Luther).

“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another—God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation.

“So these truths are published for the sake of the elect, that they may be humbled and brought down to nothing, and so saved. The rest of men resist this humiliation; indeed, they condemn the teaching of self-despair; they want a little something left that they can do for themselves. Secretly they continue proud, and enemies of the grace of God” (Luther).

“Again, ‘tis a disposition of soul natural to all men to have a high thought of their own righteousness. And hence, they are pone to reject those doctrines that teach man’s absolute dependence on the free and sovereign grace of God and salvation by the righteousness of Christ” (J. Edwards).

“Till you feel yourself in this extremity of weakness, you are not in a condition (if I may say so) to receive the heavenly help. Your idea of remaining ability is the very thing that repels the help of the Spirit, just as any idea of remaining goodness thrusts away the propitiation of the Savior. It is your not seeing that you have no strength that is keeping you from believing” (Pink).

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