Thursday, April 10, 2008

Preservation, part 3. An objection - freewill.

Continuing our series on preservation, we come to a frequent objection to the concept of the perseverance of the saints, raised here and elsewhere.

"If, when we are saved, we don't have the choice to turn away from God again, doesn't that mean we have less free will than before, when we were sinners?"

There are numerous angles from which to tackle this. I'll focus only on the internal inconsistency of it here. Such a question is asked b/c of an unbiblical definition of freedom and slavery.

Romans 6:17-23 - But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Answer 1:
What is freedom? Biblically, it is living in Jesus. "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
To return to sin after having been set free from sin and made Christ's is not more freedom, it is less. The objection is caught in the vise of advocating that one has the free choice to return to a state of less free choice.

Answer 2:
Biblically, our nature is transformed upon justification.
2 Cor 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Ezek 36:27-28 - And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

We no longer desire to sin, to do evil. So is the objector telling us that we will return to the previous state of heart? God did the transforming, can we undo it?

Answer 3 (and most pointedly):
The objector himself also believes that we lose any ability to "choose freely" to walk away from God at a certain point in time. That is, at time of death, I know of no self-called Christian system that would say that a person can, after death and going to Heaven, subsequently turn away from God and go to Hell. Why? Don't they have free choice? Apparently not.
This leads to the question why the objector would say, therefore, that it is contrary to the idea of freewill that one will not turn away from God once converted. The objector obviously has no moral objection to such an idea, since he believes it as well. All that is left to him is to make a biblical objection, and we've seen how a few of those have failed already.

I'm still trying to decide whether more posts will follow, but that was fun enough!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Sorry for not commenting sooner.

I had a few bad days and untransformed/unadopted/unsealed/de-borned myself, but now I am back on track and re-transformed/re-adopted/re-sealed/rebirthed myself. Luckily I wasn't in a lethal accident during that brief falling away...

Anyway, great points. The language that the Bible uses is quite inconsistent with revolving door salvation status.