Many accept that free will is something that we have. Many also believe that free will is a gift God has given us. For us to claim that God has done this, we must be sure, and have clear evidence. Too often we believe something without investigating to see if it is true. We should ask: does the Bible teach that we have a will, or an agency, that is free? Answer: No.
I say this because the meaning of the word ‘free’. In order for something to be free it must have nothing that hinders anything it does. A ‘free will’ would mean we have a will in us, that God cannot control, nor act upon to change. Is this not the logical end of a ‘free’ will? For our will to indeed be free, means that nothing can stop it, and nothing can hinder any action it desires to accomplish. This means no one, even God, can stop the will of man. This idea is not taught in the Bible, in fact, the opposite is taught in many places. Here are some examples:
-Everything (notice that ‘all’ or ‘everything’ means that nothing is not included in it) works according to God’s will, not ours. (Ephesians 1:11b)
-A man makes plans, but God directs our steps. (Proverbs 16:1, 9, 33, 19:21, 20:24)
-A man’s heart turns where God wants it to turn. (Proverbs 21:1, 2 Chronicles 30:6-12)
-A man’s way is not in himself. (Jeremiah 10:23)
So what about our choices? People seem to choose what they want to do, and where they want to go. This is clear. But does this mean we have a ‘free’ will? 2 Corinthians 8:16-17 teaches us about this:
“But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.”
We see many things here. Titus went to Corinth on his own accord (or of his own will), because he was earnest and he accepted their appeal. Why was he earnest? Why did he accept the Corinthians appeal? Because God put it into his heart. Thus we say: Because God put it into Titus’ heart, Titus went of his own will.
We do not have a will that is ‘free’. God can and does, have power to change, direct, guide, ordain, lead, our wills; and this should give us hope. Because God, can triumph over our sin loving wills to create a will in us that is earnest for Himself, and His Son.
Ask God to do this in you.