dave_l — 2017-10-31T08:03:40-04:00 — #1
From THE BONDAGE OF THE WILL By Martin Luther page 100
First, God has assuredly promised his grace to the humble [I Peter 5:5], that is, to those who lament and despair of themselves. But no man can be thoroughly humbled until he knows that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, devices, endeavors, will, and works, and depends entirely on the choice, will, and work of another, namely, of God alone. For as long as he is persuaded that he himself can do even the least thing toward his salvation, he retains some self-confidence and does not altogether despair of himself, and therefore he is not humbled before God, but presumes that there is—or at least hopes or desires that there may be—some place, time, and work for him, by which he may at length attain to salvation. But when a man has no doubt that everything depends on the will of God, then he completely despairs of himself and chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work; then he has come close to grace, and can be saved.
It is thus for the sake of the elect that these things are published, in order that being humbled and brought back to nothingness by this means they may be saved. The rest resist this humiliation, indeed they condemn this teaching of self-despair, wishing for something, however little, to be left for them to do themselves; so they remain secretly proud and enemies of the grace of God. This, I say, is one reason, namely, that the godly, being humbled, may recognize, call upon, and receive the grace of God.
fred — 2017-10-31T21:14:08-04:00 — #2
Impotency The Human Will
Does it lie within the province of man's will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour? Granted that the Gospel is preached to the sinner, that the Holy Spirit convicts him of his lost condition, does it, in the final analysis, He within the power of his own will to resist or to yield himself up to God? The answer to this question defines our conception of human depravity. The general impression seems to be that man is now mortal, that he is no longer in the condition in which he left the hands of his Creator, that he is liable to disease, that he inherits evil tendencies; but, that if he employs his powers to the best of his ability somehow he will be happy at last. O, how far short of the sad truth! Infirmities, sickness, even corporeal death, are but trifles in comparison with the moral and spiritual effects of the Fall! It is only by consulting the Holy Scriptures that we are able to obtain some conception of the extent of that terrible calamity.
When we say that man is totally depraved we mean that the entrance of sin into the human constitution has affected every part and faculty of man's being. Total depravity means that man is, in spirit and soul and body, the slave of sin and the captive of the Devil-walking "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). This statement ought not to need arguing: it is a common fact of human experience. Man is unable to realize his own aspirations and materialize his own ideals. He cannot do the things that he would. There is a moral inability which paralyzes him. This is proof positive that he is no free man, but instead, the slave of sin and Satan. "Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts (desires) of your father ye will do" (John 8:44). Sin is more than an act or a series of acts; it is a state or condition. It is that which lies behind and produces the acts. Sin has penetrated and permeated the whole of man's make-up. It has blinded the understanding, corrupted the heart, and alienated the mind from God. And the will has not escaped. The will is under the dominion of sin and Satan. Therefore, the will is not free. In short, the affections love as they do and the will chooses as it does because of the state of the heart, and because “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9) "There is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11).
Does it lie within the power of the sinner's will to yield himself up to God? Let us attempt an answer by asking several others: Can water (of itself) rise above its own level? Can a clean thing come out of an unclean? Can the will reverse the whole tendency and strain of human nature? Can that which is under the dominion of sin originate that which is pure and holy? Manifestly not. If ever the will of a fallen and depraved creature is to move Godward a Divine power must be brought to bear upon it which will overcome the influences of sin that pull in a counter direction. This is only another way of saying, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me, draw him (John 6:44).
If by the words, 'freedom of man,' is meant that no one forces man to reject the Lord, this liberty fully exists. But if it is said that, on account of the dominion of sin, of which he is the slave, and that voluntarily, he cannot escape from his condition, and make choice of the good-even while acknowledging it to be good, and approving of it-then he has no liberty whatever. He is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be; hence, they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
The will is not Sovereign; it is a servant because it is influenced and controlled by the other faculties of man's being. The sinner is not a free agent because he is a slave of sin-this was clearly implied in our Lord's words, "If the Son shall therefore make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Man is a rational being and as such responsible and accountable to God, but to affirm that he is a free moral agent is to deny that he is totally depraved. Because man's will is governed by his mind and heart, and because these have been vitiated and corrupted by sin, then it follows that if ever man is to turn or move in a Godward direction God Himself must work in him "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Man's boasted freedom is in truth "the bondage of corruption"; he "serves divers lusts and pleasures." Said a deeply taught servant of God, "Man is impotent as to his will. He has no will favorable to God. I believe in free will; but then it is a will only free to act according to nature. A dove has no will to eat carrion; a raven no will to eat the clean food of the dove. Put the nature of the dove into the raven and it will eat the food of the dove. Satan could have no will for holiness. We speak it with reverence, God could have no will for evil. The sinner in his sinful nature could never have a will according to God. For this he must be born again".
In order for any sinner to be saved three things were indispensable: God the Father had to purpose his salvation, God the Son had to purchase it, God the Spirit has to apply it.
The superficial work of many of the professional evangelists of the last fifty years is largely responsible for the erroneous views now current upon the bondage of the natural man, encouraged by the laziness of those in the pew in their failure to "prove all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The average evangelical pulpit conveys the impression that it lies wholly in the power of the sinner whether or not he shall be saved. It is said that "God has done His part, now man must do his." Alas, what can a lifeless man do, and man by nature is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1)! If this were really believed there would be more dependence upon the Holy Spirit to come in with His miracle-working power and less confidence in our attempts to "win men for Christ."
Why preach the Gospel if man is powerless to respond? why did the sinner come to Christ if sin has so enslaved him that he has no power in himself to come? Reply: We do not preach the Gospel because we believe that men are free moral agents and therefore capable of receiving Christ, but we preach it because we are commanded to do so (Mark 16:15); and though to them that perish it is foolishness yet, "unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18). The sinner is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), and a dead man is utterly incapable of willing anything, hence it is that "they that are in the flesh (the unregenerate) cannot please God" (Romans 8:8). To fleshly wisdom it appears the height of folly to preach the Gospel to those that are dead, and therefore beyond the reach of doing anything themselves. Yes, but God's ways are different from ours. It pleases God "by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21).
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-01T12:44:02-04:00 — #3
Actually, I have come to notice people even on these forums who reject free choice / free will and who display MORE PRIDE than the folks who hold to the concept of free choice/ free will. Thus the title of this thread "Why Free Will fosters Pride" is shown to be misleading by the very conduct of those who make such claim ...
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-01T13:01:14-04:00 — #4
Seems rather clear that there is a misconception of "will" ( will power ) and what is commonly called "free will / free choice" which is at the basis of the further conclusions drawn in this article.
Yes, a human being is able to choose to either believe or reject information (whether it be information concerning the weather, travel, literature, information concerning the Messiah ... BUT - of course - this ability to choose has nothing to do with a particular mental power as if by will power a person would change anything.
Will power is irrelevant ... what is relevant is the content of the message. Choosing to believe the message will bring the results of receiving what is promised in the message, choosing to reject the message will bring the consequences of not receiving what is promised.
The person reading the train time table has a choice to make, either believe what the time table tells or reject what the time table says. It is NOT the free choice / free will decision of the traveler which changes anything about the trains running or the information given on the time table; in other words, the will power of the person is irrelevant to what train will come or whether the information on the time table is correct or not. The free choice / free will of the traveler determines whether the person will benefit from what the train company provides or whether the person will not benefit from what the train company provides. The train company provides their service for ALL ... independent of any traveler's free choice / free will decisions.
dave_l — 2017-11-01T13:50:05-04:00 — #5
We can judge people's actions and words, but we cannot judges their motives. The reason Luther says free will is prideful is because only the self-righteous use it as a tool to procure salvation from God. No matter how you look at it, whoever completes the " requirements" of salvation is the savior. In the case of free will, it is the human element of choice = self-righteousness.
bkmitchell — 2017-11-01T18:42:53-04:00 — #6
Very well articulated:
I think the above applies to a number of different conversations I have seen and experienced on these forums. For me, the concept of 'Freedom of will' only means 'freedom of choice' the act of choosing between two or more possibilities. However, it seems that when some others use the phrase "Freedom of Choice" it refers to the concept that one has unlimited possibilities and/or power.
dave_l — 2017-11-02T06:57:44-04:00 — #7
I believe God sends the reason and the motive why we choose what we do. If man is sovereign in this matter, then God is not. And God is not omniscient, but must wait in time to see what the creature decides. Even if this is from an eternal perspective, it introduces time into eternity.
Francis Turretin (1623-1687) says;
(1) “Every decree of God is eternal; therefore it cannot depend upon a condition which takes place only in time.
(2) God’s decrees depend on his good pleasure (eudokia) (Mt. 11:26; Eph. 1:5; Rom. 9:11). Therefore they are not suspended upon any condition outside of God.
(3) Every decree of God is immutable (Is. 46:10; Rom. 9:11).”
bkmitchell — 2017-11-02T09:23:39-04:00 — #8
I am still not sure what you mean that.
I still do not understand how human's ability to make choices infringes in any way on God's sovereignty.
However, thank you for sharing your opinion on this matter again.
dave_l — 2017-11-02T09:35:35-04:00 — #9
The will always reacts. It never acts. Whatever drives it is part of God's eternal decree. You might assume life is a series of multiple choice situations. but whatever the reason you might give for each choice, it was the reason God sent, causing you to make one choice over another. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” (Ephesians 1:11)
The way I understand is God is the cause. And everything else is the effect. If the effect escapes his control and causes God to react, the thing that did this becomes the cause (God).
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-02T09:41:48-04:00 — #10
Hmn ... God was the cause of the serpent's lie (sort of like "God inspired the serpent to lie and deceive" ? ... so that in effect, God was tempting man to evil, to transgress His earlier given command ? ....
Sounds to me like Dave_L's concept is false ....
dave_l — 2017-11-02T09:45:26-04:00 — #11
You are getting warmer......
And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (1 Kings 22:20–23)
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-02T09:48:51-04:00 — #12
And more mingling, mixing of passages ... linking them with contexts with which they have nothing to do
dave_l — 2017-11-02T09:49:52-04:00 — #13
It just shows you are not as "on target" with your interpretations as you would hope to be.
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-02T09:57:11-04:00 — #14
That could be .....
God being the cause of tempting a person to evil just does not quite want to fit with Jam 1. But then, perhaps the epislte of James is not really an inspired writing?
dave_l — 2017-11-02T09:59:07-04:00 — #15
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:13–14)
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-02T14:03:15-04:00 — #16
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13–14)
But according to you God is the cause of all temptation ... so then, who is telling the truth? Dave_L? or the epistle of James?
dave_l — 2017-11-02T14:06:43-04:00 — #17
God is not the instrument of temptation. But he sends evil on wicked people to increase their sin and punishment. Who created Satan and sustains him? Why?
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-11-02T14:25:17-04:00 — #18
??? I was quoting you and YOU wrote that God is THE CAUSE of everything .... (nothing about "instrument of temptation" mentioned previously by anyone .. why are you now introducing that expression?
See above ... what does this statement have to do with the point raised in the previous posts? nothing ....
Also, why are you not answering the questions I asked?
dave_l — 2017-11-02T14:29:01-04:00 — #19
How can God not be the cause of sin? If he created everything?
I am answering them.............He uses instruments and means to carry out his plans. God does not do the devil's work. He created the devil to do the devil's work. And then controls the devil so he cannot do otherwise.
justin_gatlin — 2017-11-02T14:35:03-04:00 — #20
Yes or no question - is God the author of confusion?
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