Do we have free will today?

Published 8:56 am Friday, February 23, 2018


In most societies freedom is a valued ideology. It is so important to most societies that their citizens are willing to give their lives to secure it and maintain it. However, when it comes to “religious freedom” many people believe that there is no such thing. The same individuals believe that when it comes to serving Jesus or opposing Him; when it comes to Heaven or hell that we have no freedom to choose. But is this accurate or is it the false teaching of some misguided individuals? The answer is one that we should allow the Word of God to express.
When trying to answer the age-old question, “Does Mankind Have Free Will,” many go to the sources of human creeds and ideology. One example is found in the (Westminster Confession of Faith) which says, “God had predestined and foreordained some man and angels to everlasting life out of his free grace and love without any foresight of faith or works in man or perseverance in either of them, and others are foreordained to everlasting death and the number of either is so certain and definite that it cannot be increased or diminished.” We should seriously ask, is this what the Bible teaches concerning free will?
While it is true that the Bible teaches Predestination and I believe in such; we can only believe in it in the manner which the Bible instructs, in a manner which is consistent with other clear taught biblical doctrines. We can only believe in predestination in a way that will not contradict other passages throughout God’s Word. This being said, we should understand that the biblical model of predestination is not the same as the Calvinistic representation previously stated from the “Westminster Confession of Faith.” Paul said, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (Ephesians 1:4-5 KJV). We should remember that the apostle was writing to the Church in Ephesus. Thus, he was writing to saved individuals. In his statement it is easy to see that Paul was teaching that God predestined that all “in Christ” would be saved, but we exercise our free will when we choose to place ourselves into Christ through the divine plan set up by God. God predestined “the plan,” not “the man.” Paul’s conclusion was that the group predestined through Christ, (the Church), should live holy lives void of any blame. It is easy to see that for those who have been placed into the Church (Acts 2:47) through the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9, 1 Peter 1:2) because of their obedience (1 Peter 1:2, Romans 1:5; 6:16), free will and the redemptive power of the blood of Christ are active and working well together.
One should ask the question, if there is no such thing as the free will of man then why are there so many passages that demand our free will? Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16 KJV). Then he said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV). There are some important concepts within these two passages, first the command to go, teach and baptize individuals. This would be senseless if God had already predetermined to save and to condemn individuals without regard to their actions. The going and teaching is of utmost importance, if one disobeyed the command, would his free will alter God’s plan to save him? Those being taught would learn how to alter their lives in order to become a part of that predestined group. Another thought is why teach them to observe all things if they are already lost or saved? This would make no sense if an individual person is predestined; if his or her being taught would have no bearing on their eternal state. Joshua stated that as for Him and his house they would serve the Lord and not the Gods in whose land the Children of Israel inhabited. Joshua’s statement shows that he and his family had a choice (Joshua 24:15). Consider some similar thoughts found in (Matthew 11:28-30 & Revelation 22:17). Jesus indicates that the water of life is freely given; however, mankind must take it. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus teaches there are two roads to take in life and that we have a choice. Today you have a choice to follow Christ or to deny Him; what have you done with your free will?
(Tony Hoss is minister at Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton. He can be contacted at 423-737-2287 or by e-mail:

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