• Joseph Durso

Free Will or in its Bondage?

Not I But CHRIST

One of the longest, ongoing debates in the Church is over the freedom of the will. Two books that many of the most used men of God in church history agree are the finest literary works are "Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther and "Freedom of the will" by Jonathan Edwards. Both men come to the same conclusion that all men are born into slavery to sin.


They agree with scripture as man falls into sin in the garden where Adam becomes the federal head of a race of men bound in slavery. Only two races are present in chapter five of Romans, the lost race of Adam and the redeemed race of Christ. Many families follow as man is further cursed at the tower of Babel, but only one race remains. In Exodus chapter twenty, at the giving of the law, God starts by saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2, 3)


For perfect clarity about bondage and freedom, we turn to the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. "For if we have become united with Him (Christ) in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for the one who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:6, 7)


Paul uses the word douleúō from doúlos or "...to serve as a slave, having all personal ownership rights assigned to the owner; (figuratively) to willingly give over the prerogative to be self-governing." In the garden, the race gave over its rites to be self-governing to sin. Jesus said a man could not see the kingdom of God, let alone enter it without rebirth. To be born again, that is of God, is to be born from above, and no one has any volition regarding his own creation. At rebirth, according to Paul, a person is set free; before that time, they have no self-governing ability.


Paul is not referring to our choosing to tie our left or right shoe first; he is thinking in the realm of moral choices. There are choices made to worship and glorify God, and there are choices made because of a hatred for Him. The hater of God is bound by sin when making a moral choice to do it out of hostility and alienation. Only those given a new heart (Hebrews 10) can choose morally out of love for Him.


"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and after being freed from sin, you became slaves to righteousness." (Romans 6:17, 18) Without debate, in verses 17 and 18, Paul states that we were slaves to sin. How can a slave to sin choose to receive Jesus Christ as Lord or Master? The born-again believer is, in fact, a slave of righteousness. The entire argument rests on whether or not a person is born-again before choosing or after choosing Christ. It is unbiblical and inconsistent to insist for the sake of "free will" that a person must first decide.


My beloved reader, God is sovereign over salvation. It should not be hard to believe because He is sovereign over everything else. Who placed the sun in its place? Who keeps your heart beating, and who makes a wretched sinner holy?


"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions..." (Colossians 2:13)


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