Understanding Our Personal Free Will

We Exercise Our Free Will When We Seek God’s Will

People like to sit in the same place. This is true at church, school and in the conference room at work. If you sit somewhere else it’s because you choose to do so. Perhaps it’s warmer in another chair or it’s closer to a friend. Even if someone is sitting in your spot and you don’t want another seat you can choose to stand!

college classroom - free will

Free will is the ability to choose what one wants. God created us in His image and gave us a free will, the power of choice. Before Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they had two moral choices.

  • They could choose not to sin.
  • They could choose to sin.

Adam and Eve were sinless and had the ability to live without sin. But everything changed for them and humanity when they sinned. They and all their descendants lost the choice of being able to remain free from sin. Here are a couple of verses that confirm this.

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

That’s bad, but it gets worse! Not only did all humanity become sinners, we were consequently condemned to eternal death.

for the wages of sin is death. . . Romans 6:23 a

That’s pretty discouraging. Were it not for God’s intervention in the history of humanity it would have been hopeless. Graciously the Father sent the Son into the world so that whoever would believe in His death, burial and resurrection for their sins would be saved from that death.

but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 b

So what did sin do to our ability to make choices? We didn’t lose the ability to make choices but our choices are influenced by our corrupted nature. As we read above, no one seeks righteousness. It’s because our corrupted natures lack the desire for true righteousness.

Our fallen nature fills us with desires for the wrong things. This means our free will is affected. We’re free to choose but our choices are influenced by our desires. Since the desires that fill our heart are evil, we will usually choose to sin. We choose what we want most.

We have the free will to choose to believe in Jesus or not Romans 10:9-10. When we do we become a child of God and He gives us His Spirit who produces good desires in us Galatians 5:22-23. That is great news! Yet even for Christians there are times when our desire to sin is greater than our desire to obey God. When that happens, we sin!

Today let’s pray like the Psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me” Psalm 51:10.  All day today, remember, you are free to choose to obey God, to do God’s will.

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  • Dane White

    Excellent text and points, Pastor Ward! Amen to this!!

  • Thanks, Dane! It’s always great to hear from you. Say Hi to Marilyn for me.