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  • BIBLE TRUTHS EXPLAINED

    What God’s Word teaches about

    FREE WILL

    Gordon Lyons

    KJV Edition

  • Important Notice

    The series Bible Truths Explained may be downloaded, printed and used free of charge

    by individuals, groups, and institutions

    However, none of these Doctrinal Notes may be offered for sale or for commercial publication

    Bible Truths Explained: Free Will Revised: 1987, 2000, 2005

    First published: 2005 1-word.com web site publication

  • ii

    Copyright Notices

    Bible Truths Explained

    Free Will

    Copyright © 2005 Gordon Lyons All Rights Reserved

    Limited extracts from this work may be quoted elsewhere, on condition that the name and author of the original work is acknowledged in a format

    similar to the following:

    ‘Quoted from Bible Truths Explained: Free Will Copyright © 2005, Gordon Lyons

    Used by permission’

    Scripture quotations taken from The HOLY BIBLE

    KING JAMES VERSION unless otherwise stated

  • iii

    Principal Works Consulted

    Berkhof, Louis Systematic Theology, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1939, 1941 reprint.

    Dabney, R. L. Systematic Theology, [St. Louis: Presbyterian Publishing Company of St. Louis, 1871, second ed. 1878] Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust edition, 1985.

    Danker, Frederick William / Based on Bauer, Walter

    A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (Third Edition BDAG) Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

    Hodge, Charles Systematic Theology, Vols. 1-3; Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publish- ing Company, 1977 reprint.

    Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary on The Whole Bible (Revised edition, 1961): Grand Rapids, Zondervan Publishing House, 1991.

    Poole, Matthew A Commentary on The Holy Bible Vols. 1-3 (1685-1700): Edinburgh, Banner of Truth Trust, 1975 reprint.

    Robertson, A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures, Electronic edition (public domain)

    Vincent Vincent’s Word Studies, Electronic edition (public domain)

    Westminster Confession of Faith, Inverness: Free Presbyterian Pub- lications, 1976 reprint.

    Special Acknowledgement

    I must acknowledge a genuine debt of gratitude to the work of Dr. Charles Hodge. The writings of this theologian from a previous generation have helped considerably in preparing this work. On a number of occasions—as will be seen when reading these studies—I have cited or alluded to Dr. Hodge’s re- marks in his three-volume Systematic Theology. These references have been acknowledged in the footnotes to the study text.

  • iv

    Free Will

    Contents

    BIBLE TRUTHS EXPLAINED __________________________________________ I

    FREE WILL ________________________________________________________ I

    CONTENTS _______________________________________________________ IV

    PART 1____________________________________________________________1

    Synopsis: Free Will ______________________________________________________________1 Note 1________________________________________________________________________1 Mankind’s Freedom of Choice _____________________________________________________1 Note 2________________________________________________________________________2 Man is Responsible and Accountable to God _________________________________________2 Note 3________________________________________________________________________3 Man’s Free Will Not Independent of God’s Sovereignty__________________________________3

    PART 2____________________________________________________________5

    Summary of Free Will ____________________________________________________________5 Free Will and Ability _____________________________________________________________5

    PART 3____________________________________________________________7

    Mistaken Beliefs Regarding Man’s Ability____________________________________________7 The Holy Spirit Must Effectually Call ________________________________________________7 Even Believers Lack Ability to Live Perfectly __________________________________________8

    PART 4___________________________________________________________11

    Without Ability, Free Will is Powerless _____________________________________________11 Morally Helpless and Spiritually Dead ______________________________________________11 Repentance and Faith __________________________________________________________12

    PART 5___________________________________________________________15

    The Work of The Holy Spirit in Effectual Calling _____________________________________15 The Holy Spirit Must Open a Sinner’s Eyes __________________________________________15 Limitations of Free Will__________________________________________________________17

  • v

    PART 6___________________________________________________________19

    Man is Fully Responsible ________________________________________________________19

    PART 7___________________________________________________________21

    Free Will and The Believer _______________________________________________________21 Yielding to Sin_________________________________________________________________21 Acts of the Sinful Nature_________________________________________________________21 These Will Not Inherit God’s Kingdom ______________________________________________22 Putting to Death Sinful Desires____________________________________________________22 War Between Old and New Natures _______________________________________________22

    PART 8___________________________________________________________25

    Free Will Involves Deliberate Choice _______________________________________________25 Believer Lacks Ability to Obey Completely ___________________________________________25 Christ Saves the Worst of Sinners _________________________________________________26 Christ’s Righteousness Imputed to the Believer_______________________________________26 Daily Transformed in Christ’s Likeness _____________________________________________26 Translated and Glorified _________________________________________________________27

    PART 9___________________________________________________________29

    Free Will Yielded to God’s Will ____________________________________________________29 Bought At a Price ______________________________________________________________29 Led by The Spirit of God_________________________________________________________30

  • vi

  • Bible Truths Explained: Free Will

    BTE04: Free Will 1.1.05 1

    Part 1

    Synopsis: Free Will When God created man, he created him originally righteous and with complete freedom of the will. Adam had perfect liberty to choose between good and evil, and the ability to implement that choice. In- deed, since at this stage, Adam did not have a fallen sinful nature, and since he had no inward ten- dency to sin, it was as easy—if not easier—for him to choose good than evil. Because of the Fall, however, and the resulting corruption of his nature, Adam—and all mankind—lost the ability to do that which was good in God’s sight. In his or her fallen state, no one has the ability to live righteously. For the same reason, no one has the ability to exercise saving faith in Christ of his own free will. Unless, by the free and sovereign grace of God, the Holy Spirit draws a sinner to Christ, that person cannot be saved. Salvation, therefore, is not of man’s desire or effort, nor of man’s free will, but of God’s sover- eign grace and mercy.

    Note 1

    Mankind’s Freedom of Choice God made man in his own image. Included in this is the idea that man is a fully rational and intelligent being, with a moral nature and conscience that tells him right from wrong. In addition, God created man with complete freedom of the will, together with the ability to exercise his mind in making rational and intelligent choices. Man could choose, therefore, between good and evil, right and wrong. How- ever, in choosing evil, Adam and Eve brought upon themselves and all their descendants (i.e. the whole human race) the corruption of their entire nature—including their free will. As a result of this cor- ruption of his nature, man’s free will is now permanently averse to choosing good and much more in- clined to choose evil. Furthermore, man's corrupt nature renders him spiritually powerless; or, rather, spiritually dead. Consequently, mankind cannot live righteously, or in a manner acceptable and pleas- ing to God. Nevertheless, although insufficient to secure acceptance with God, fallen mankind can still perform a certain degree of moral (as opposed to spiritual) good.

    Scripture References

    The Exercise of Free Will in Doing Evil Genesis 3:6

    (6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    Matthew 17:12 (12) But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not,

    but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

  • Bible Truths Explained: Free Will

    BTE04: Free Will 1.1.05 2

    The Powerlessness of Free Will in Living Righteously; Even after Regeneration or The New Birth

    Romans 7:18 (18) For I