Part 3 of 3
Taken from The Myth of Free Will
by Walter Chantry
"Nevertheless many assert that the human will makes the ultimate choice of spiritual life or spiritual death. They say that here the will is altogether free to choose eternal life offered in Jesus Christ or to reject it. It is said that God will give a new heart to all who choose by the power of their own free will to receive Jesus Christ.
There can be no question that receiving Jesus Christ is an act of the human will. It is often called "faith." But how do men come to willingly receive the Lord? It is usually answered, "Out of the power of their own free will." But how can that be? Jesus is a PROPHET . To receive Him means to believe all that He says. In John 8:41-45 Jesus made it clear that you were born of Satan. This evil father hates the truth and imparted the same bias into your heart by nature. Hence said Jesus, "Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." How does the human will jump out of man to choose to believe what the human mind hates and denies?
Further, to receive Jesus means to embrace him as a PRIEST — that is, to employ and depend on him to sue out peace with God by sacrifice and intercession. Paul tells us that the mind with which we were born is hostile to God (Rom 8:7). How can the will escape the influence of human nature which was born with a violent enmity to God? It would be insane for the will to choose peace when every bone and drop of blood cries out for rebellion.
Then too, receiving Jesus means to welcome Him as a KING. It means choosing to obey His every command, to confess His right of rule and to worship before His throne. But the human mind, emotions, and desires all cry out, "We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14). If my whole being hates His truth, hates His rule and hates peace with God, how can my will be responsible for receiving Jesus? How can such a sinner have faith?
It is not man’s will but God’s GRACE that must be thanked for giving a sinner a new heart. Unless God changes the heart, creates a new spirit of peace, truthfulness, and submission. man will not choose to receive Jesus Christ and eternal life in Him. A new heart must he given before a man can believe, or else the human will is hopelessly enslaved to evil human nature even in the matter of conversion. Jesus said. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye MUST be born again" (John 3:7). Unless you are, you will never see His kingdom.
Read John 1:12 & 13. It says that those who believe on Jesus have been "born, not of the will of man, but of God." As your will is not responsible for your coming into this world, it is not responsible for the new birth. It is your Creator who must be thanked for your life, and if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation (II Cor 5:17). Who ever chose to be created? When Lazarus rose from the dead, he then could choose to answer the call of Christ, but he could not choose to come to life. So Paul said in Ephesians 2:5, "Even when we were dead in sins, [God] I hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)." Faith is the first act of a will made new by the Holy Spirit. Receiving Christ is an act of man just as breathing is, but God must first give life.
No wonder Martin Luther wrote a book entitled The Bondage of the Will which he considered one of his most important treatises. The will is in the chains of an evil human nature. You who extol the free will as a great force are clinging to a root of pride. Man, as fallen in sin, is utterly helpless and hopeless. The will of man offers no hope. It was the will choosing the forbidden fruit that brought us into misery. The powerful grace of God alone offers deliverance. Cast yourself upon God’s mercy for salvation. Ask for the Spirit of Grace that He may create a new spirit within you."