June 8, 2014 by directorfsm
Last time in Part I we discussed the two main schools of thought on free will, Arminianism: Free-will or human ability and Calvinism: total depravity or human inability. Utilizing A Faith to Confess: The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 Rewritten in Modern English we looked at the first two points on this topic which I will simplify into three key points:
1) Man does have choices. Prior to the fall man was fully capable of free will. God did not in fact create robots. Yet seemingly always man desires what he does not have. Better put he covets those things he thinks will better his life.
2) We have a choice in our personal deeds. You have the Free Will to choose to cave in to the temptations of life or not. Johnathan Edwards in his work The Freedom of the Will defines “will” as “that by which the mind chooses”. We as human being make choices daily. You are choosing to be here tonight (or to read this online). You choose to eat, drink and much much more.
3) Our desires or the things we covet drive our will. R. C. Sproul in Chapter 63 of his book Essential Truths of the Christian Faith writes: even the most ardent Calvinist would not deny that the will is free to choose whatever it desires. Even the most ardent Arminian would agree that the will is not free to choose what it does not desire.
Let us begin today with point 4 of the confession:
3. As the consequence of his fall into a state of sin, man has lost all ability to will the performance of any of those works, spiritually good, that accompany salvation. As a natural (unspiritual) man he is dead in sin and altogether opposed to that which is good. Hence he is not able, by any strength of his own, to turn himself to God, or even to prepare himself to turn to God.
Let me attempt to make it even plainer by breaking it down some. First we see the word consequence, which tells us that an action has taken place and there is a definite result of that action. Next that result is un-regenerate man (man without Christ) is dead in sin and opposed to doing good. Therefore because of his fall into a state of sin, man has no ability to will or desire to do anything leading to salvation.
I am going to stop there for a minute and remind everyone that this is nothing new. We covered this at length in our Series on John 3 (see John 3 Part I) when we looked at verse 19. Man in his unregenerated, unspiritual state will always desire or covet sinful things. He has no ability therefor to covet or desire spiritual or Godly things including the salvation of his soul.
Let us look at the confessions reference verses:
John 6:44: No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Wow that my friends is a powerful verse. No man not anyone can come to Christ, that is be saved except those God the Father draws to and sends him. Listen we not only depend on God alone for our salvation we depend on Him alone to open our ears to begin to hear the Word and prick our hearts to even consider coveting or desiring Godly things. We are useless in our own filthy state of sin.
Note also the second part of this verse covers the topic of resurrection of the saints our great hope which we looked at in our All Must Die to Live, series.
Rom. 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly
Hope, a hope that is greater than man can produce, that is what the loving and merciful God of the Bible promises. Not some contrived reward for being good. No we have hope not in and of ourselves but in Christ whom God sent to pay the punishment for our sins.
Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Think about this for a moment and be honest with yourselves. Prior to your conversion prior to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in you what was your mind focused on? The things of God? I dare say not! Again our mind, apart from God’s work in us, is set on (covets, desires) things hostile to God. It can do nothing less. It will do nothing less.
Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Note when God makes us alive anew. It is not after we have done some grand “good” deed and earn His esteem. It is not after we have spent countless hours seeking after Him. No God chooses to quicken (new birth) those who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Again we are made alive not by our own works (lest any man boast) no we are made alive together with Christ (it is a partnership) solely by the grace of God.
Titus 3:3-5 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when)the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but )according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
What more can be said it seems plain enough; we were slaves to our lustful self-centered desires. We lived each day in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another until the day he saved us. Praise God.
In his book The Truth About Man, PAUL DAVID WASHER, writes in Lesson Four about The Bondage of Will:
Man’s will is an expression of his nature. If man possessed a morally pure nature, then his will would be inclined to doing acts that were morally pure. If man were holy and righteous, he would love a holy and righteous God, and he would love and obey His commands. However, fallen man possesses a morally corrupt nature, and so his will is inclined to doing acts that are morally corrupt. Fallen man is unholy and unrighteous, and therefore, he hates a holy and righteous God, fights against His truth, and refuses to submit to His commands. Here we find the answer to the often-debated question:
Does man possess a free will?
The Scriptural answer is that man is “free” to choose as he pleases, but because his very nature is morally depraved, it pleases him to turn away from the good and choose evil, to hate truth and believe a lie, to deny God and fight against His will. In one sense, fallen man does have a “free will,” but he does not have a “good will.” Therefore, he will always “freely” choose in opposition to the person and will of God. Man cannot escape what he is. He is by nature evil, and the works of evil he does “willfully” and “freely.”
Lets us look at a proof text for this: Matt 7:16-20
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
v.16: We identify the nature of a tree by the fruit that it bears. In the same way, the true nature or character of a man is revealed, not by what he confesses, but by what he does
v.17: There is a direct and undeniable relationship between the nature of a tree and the fruit that it bears. The same is true of a man’s nature and his works. A corrupt nature can only produce corrupt works
v.18: A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit
v.19: Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (Eternity in damnation)
v.20: So then, you will know them by their fruits; (whom will you know both sinner and saint)
Lesson Four also includes a section entitled Fallen Man “Cannot Love” God
Most, even the irreligious, claim some degree of love or affection toward God, and very rarely would we ever encounter an individual so bold as to confess their “hatred” toward Him. Nevertheless, the Scriptures testify that fallen man “cannot” love God. In fact, all of Adam’s race “hates” God and lives at war against Him. Most who claim a genuine love for God, know very little about His attributes and works as they are revealed in the Scripture, and therefore the “god” they love is nothing more than a figment of their imagination. They have made a “god” in their own image and they love what they have made. As God declares in Psalm 50:21, These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that Iwas one like yourself.
But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.
If fallen men who claim to love God were to investigate the Scriptures, they would most certainly find a God much different than the object of their affections. If they went on to study the attributes of God, such as holiness, justice, sovereignty, and wrath, they would most likely respond in disgust and declare, “My God’s not like that!” or “I could never love a God like that!” We would quickly see that when fallen man is confronted with the true God of the Scriptures, his only reaction is hatred and hostility! What is the reason for this adverse reaction? Again, it has to do with who man is at the very core of his being. If man were by nature holy and righteous, then he could easily love a holy and righteous God and would joyfully submit to His laws. However, man is by nature depraved and corrupt, and therefore he cannot!
Next week God’s answer.