Our will and God's WILL
Question: If I have 'free will', why does Romans 9:6-24 say it is GOD who has
free choice? And if GOD is omnipotent, is my so-called 'free will'
beyond the power of GOD? And is my so-called 'free will' really mine if
I were bought at a price? Where does it come from if the Kingdom of GOD
is in me?
God is indeed omnipotent. Not only did He not have to give us free will, He never had to make us at all.
God is omniscient as well - He knew from before the foundation of the earth all that would happen, including the sin and rebellion of some of His creatures, and their unwillingness to ever repent under any circumstances.
This second point is really at the crux of the "free will" issue, if we are to view it in terms of where we stand in the mercy of such a wondrous and loving God. If we didn't have the right to reject Him, then what would our acceptance of Him mean? The sacrifice of His own dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, removes any and all doubt about the fact that God is indeed serious about His love for us, and scripture is also very clear that He would much prefer that all His creatures loved Him back (cf. 1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9).
Yes, God has a choice - He is God! - and Romans chapter nine emphasizes that choice. He has a right to make vessels of honor and dishonor, for He is well aware ahead of time the choices which we all will make. But to blame God for our bad choices is like saying "let us sin that grace may come" (the very principle Paul had condemned in Rom.3:8). The fact that God gives us choice is His choice. Neither the fact that this choice of His is sovereign, nor the fact that He knew of all our choices before we ever made them, negates the fact that we have "free will".
I have used the phrase "free will", but, really, we only have two choices when all is said and done:
1) to follow God as He tells, prompts, and earnestly desires us to do, or
2) to reject Him and His Son, and all the marvelous grace He is waiting to pour out upon us.
1. If I have 'free will', why does Romans 9:6-24 say it is GOD who has free choice?
The choice that we have been put on earth to make (i.e., for or against God in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ), is in truth in no way contradictory to nor contradicted by the Sovereign will of God (for this choice comes from Him).
2. If GOD is omnipotent, is my so-called 'free will' beyond the power of GOD?
Nothing is beyond the power of God. However, God has chosen in His sovereignty to do some things and not to do others. He did not, for example, immediately cast the devil into the lake of fire when he rebelled against Him. God could indeed have made us, mankind, without free will. He could have made Satan incapable of choosing against Him - but that would have also made Satan incapable of choosing for Him and it is willing worshipers that God wants (Jn.4:23), not automatons. This one fact tells us volumes about the awesome God we serve. He wants us to experience the joy that comes from seeking and serving Him as we should, and He will not force us down the right path, but like the loving Father He is, will guide us, and encourage us and help is in ways we cannot even imagine, responding beyond any expectation to any and all positive turnings toward Him and His Son and the service thereof.
3. Is my so-called 'free will' really mine if I were bought at a price? Where does it come from if the Kingdom of GOD is in me?
The blood of Jesus Christ purchased everyone, for without the blood of Christ, none of us would be able to stand before God, not even if we dearly wanted to. Only through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross can our sins be covered, and the death He died He died for the sins of all that all might be saved (cf. Rom.6:10). Jesus has indeed truly bought His Church, and we do belong to Him. But just as Christians, genuine believers in Jesus, do not do all they should for Him at all times, and sometimes do things they should not (exercising their "choice" for ill instead of for good), so on a more basic level most of the human race has chosen not to respond to salvation at all (despite the price Jesus paid). We are His, indeed. But even slaves are sometimes disobedient; even soldiers can be lax; even the best of servants sometimes perform sub-par; and every son and daughter is at some time or other disobedient to their parents (and requires the firm hand of discipline to correct their course in love). We are His servants, we are His soldiers, we are His children - but we still have to day by day commit ourselves to "offering these bodies as living sacrifices" (Rom.12:1-2), and to "picking up our cross" to follow Him wherever He leads.
In our hearts, we understand perfectly well that He is Lord, and that we are responsible to respond to Him. Call it choice, call it free will, call it whatever you wish, the point, the scriptural point, is that God expects believers to live a certain way; that Jesus expects us to follow Him up that steep and narrow road, to pay whatever price and to suffer whatever hardship to gain the goal, the upward calling to which we have been called. This is not an easy thing, and all should "count the cost" before they decide to commit their lives to Him (Lk.14:28). But for all of us who do embark on this most important of journeys, who dedicate ourselves, our lives, and all we have to Jesus Christ, who offer up our choice, our will, our all to Him, there is no better feeling, no grander realization, than to come to the point where our "will" and God's WILL blend into one and the same thing.
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In the hopes of fast approaching that perfect standard in the service of the One who subordinated Himself to the Father's will in every way that we might be saved, our glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.