The Creator is the only one who has a right to a “will”. The duty of the creature is to obey. Adam and Eve failed in this fundamental principle. An independent will is sin.

The essence of sin is a will of our own, which is, I guess, what people call “free will”. In John’s first Epistle we are told that “Sin is lawlessness”; it is a reciprocal expression and can be rendered “lawlessness is sin”. The old KJV is quite wrong in translating “sin is transgression of the law”. [Sin was in the world long before the law; it just provided a standard by which to measure it.]

Our duty and privilege is to “prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, Romans 12:2.

In Romans I learn that I am a bondman either to sin or to righteousness. So it seems that I am never really “free”. However, a bondman to righteousness is one who knows “the perfect law of liberty”, as James speaks of it. I think that means that we enjoy serving and being regulated by the Lord, just as it was liberty and joy to Him to serve the Father. Assume for a moment that when the Lord Jesus was here that He was to be deprived from serving the Father (which thing could not be) – then that would have been bondage to Him, the opposite of liberty. So it should be with us.

Question:
Having said the above, how do we answer the advocates of “free will” who point to the question posed by Joshua, (Josh. 24:15), “Choose you this day whom you will serve”, that is, the Lord, or the gods of the nations. We have a choice but it is only the goodness of God - His Spirit working in us - that gives us the desire to choose rightly. To say that we, unaided, can make a right choice is to give too much credit to the flesh that dwells in us. Roman 7:18, “For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell”.

MM May 2008