What gives people free will

Do people really have free will?

If “free will” means that God gives us humans the opportunity to decide for ourselves about our destiny, then humans actually have free will. The current sinful status of our world is directly related to Adam and Eve's decision. God made people in His own image, and that included the ability to choose.

However, free will does not mean that people can do what they like. Our choices are limited by our nature. For example, a person can choose to walk over a bridge or not, but he can Not decide whether to fly over the bridge - his nature does not allow him to fly. Similarly, a person cannot decide for himself about his righteousness - his (sinful) nature does not allow his guilt to be erased (Romans 3:23). Hence, free will is limited by human nature.

However, this limitation does not diminish our responsibility. The Bible makes it clear that we are not just that ability have the choice, but also the responsibility wise to choose. In the Old Testament God chose a people (Israel), but the individual persons within this people still had the obligation to choose obedience to God. People outside Israel could also choose to believe and follow God (e.g. Ruth and Rahab).

In the New Testament, sinners are instructed over and over again to “repent” and “believe” (Matthew 3: 2; Acts 3:19; 1 John 3:23). Every call to repentance is a call to choice. The commandment to believe presupposes that one can choose to obey that commandment.

Jesus made the problems of some unbelievers clear when he told them: “But you do not want to come to me to have life” (John 5:40). Clearly, they could have come if they wanted; their problem was that they chose not to. “What man sows he will reap” (Galatians 6: 7), and those who are not redeemed have “no excuse” (Romans 1: 20-21).

But how can man, constrained by his sinful nature, ever choose the good? It is only through the grace and power of God that free will really becomes “free will” in the sense that we can choose salvation ourselves (John 15:16). It is the Holy Spirit who works in and through a person's will to renew the person (John 1: 12-13) and to give him / her a new nature, “made after God ... in true righteousness and holiness “(Ephesians 4:24). Salvation is God's work. But at the same time our motives, desires and actions are voluntary and we are rightly held responsible for them.


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Do people really have free will?
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