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The State of Faith
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Renewing Your Mind


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About Doctrines

Personal Will

Did you ever stop and think about what it means to have a "will?"  In a huge sense, this is something we all take for granted -- or for which we proceed under an invalid definition.  Man is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26).  Part of this image is that man has personality -- intellect, emotions, and will.  Intellect is sometimes viewed as the mind, the ability to remember things.  Emotions are not bad, but generally get us into trouble.  Our feelings, properly controlled and understood, are a part of being human.  Trouble is, we frequently allow our emotions to run wild and we respond to this wildness.  This is unscriptural.  Last, the will is our ability to take our knowledge and our emotions and to analyze the proper response to a situation.  Our will is our ability to chose between options.  Our will is the ability to act or not act in a godly fashion.

Just as mankind has placed emotions at too high a level in the decision making process, so, too, mankind has mismanaged his will.  Many speak of man as having free will or a freedom of choice.  While there is a sense in which this is true, mankind is not free to chose in any fashion he desires.  First, Paul writes in Romans 6 that we are slaves, either to God or to sin.  If we are a slave to sin, our decisions become sinful.  This does not sound like a good freedom of choice to me. 

Mankind does not have true freedom of choice.  What God has granted mankind is the will to analyze all situations in order to find God's path among all possible decisions and then to choose God's path or to choose to disobey God.  I like to call the two options "God" and "not God."  There are no other options.  Man never has true freedom of choice.  Mankind only has the freedom to pick for or against God. 

Verses such as Gen 3:6; Psalm 110:3; Matt 26:41; John 1:13 and 1 Peter 5:2 all recognize that man has a will.  This will can

One of the great difficulties of understanding the human will is much the same as understanding any biblical truth.  Mankind must be empowered to respond properly to God (John 6:37, 44, 65; Phil 2:12-13).  This would seem to suggest there is more to this idea of a free will than is present in the above Scriptures.  This is where Paul's argument in Romans 6 comes to the forefront.  Mankind is painted as always having a master he follows.  For unsaved, unrepentant man, that master is sin.  Mankind cannot produce a spiritual birth on his own (John 1:13; John 3:1-12).  Thus, God must empower mankind to seek Him.  This is the discussion of John 6. 

It is impossible for mankind to produce good apart from God (Rom 7:18; John 15:5).  This is difficult for mankind to accept since man is prideful.  Self-seeking man will never do good as God defines good.  Even the born again Christian can still sin against God (Heb 10:26).  God has place some knowledge of Himself within man.  Man is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26) and God has placed the spark of eternity upon man's heart (Ecc 3:11).  Mankind recognizes there is a God.  Mankind's choice is to seek and find this God or to rebel against this knowledge of God and eternity.  To rebel is to choose "not God."  This is man's will at working, choosing God or choosing against God.  There are no other options of life.




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May 30, 2024

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