Does free will really exist? Well, let’s look at a few aspects of our lives in which we really have no say. Where were you born and to whom were you born? How many siblings do you have? What is your native tongue? What talents and skills do you possess? Are you intelligent, healthy, strong, attractive? What type of government were you born under? Who are the leaders of your country? What type of economy does your country have? What are the taxes? What about the day of our death and how we die, do we have a say there? Maybe with suicide, but even the events that bring about that desperate act are beyond our control. So far, in each instance we have very little say.
Now let’s look at character. Do you or have you ever lied? Have you stolen anything from anyone? Do you say hurtful, hateful, cruel, damaging things? Do you hate anyone? Are you envious or jealous of anyone? Do you plan to get back at anyone? Do you think evil thoughts in your heart, but pretend to be otherwise to those around you? Have you been in a sexual relationship outside of marriage? Have you ever been unkind to anyone? Have you ever injured anyone verbally, emotionally, or physically? Have you ever done whatever you could to receive honor and esteem from others? Have you ever lied to secure a favorable position for yourself? Have you had blasphemous thoughts against God? Are sinners, so inclined, able to choose God without the His help?
In the beginning the Lord God, their Creator, determined the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual characteristics of Adam and Eve. He placed them in the Garden of Eden, gave them the gift of language, and gave them the skills to perform the tasks that He gave to them. They had unhampered, perfect, loving fellowship with their Creator, the Lord God. They had free will and they chose to obey Him until the day they fell into sin and death. As recorded for us in His Holy Word, the Bible, free will died the day that Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and disobeyed their God. From that time forward no one could choose to believe in God without His supernatural assistance.
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” 16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:1-24
Once Adam and Eve disobeyed God and fell into sin, sin came upon the human race. That was their legacy to every human being who has ever been born. Now, mankind cannot but chose to sin. Sin separates us from God. There is not a human being upon the face of the earth who can decide not to sin and turn to God. We are all captive to sin, to Satan, and this fallen world system that despises God and His Son. Free will is a myth. Only those who are chosen by God have the ability to turn from sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Where in the Bible is this assertion supported? The Gospel of John sheds abundant light upon the enslavement of man to sin and the devil by displaying the conflict the Jews, God’s chosen people, had with their Messiah sent by God to save them. If anyone should have believed in Jesus Christ as their Messiah, they were the ones, but we see Jesus saying over and over again to them that they could not come to Him because they were not called by God.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13
5 Jesus answered, “ Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:5-8
37 “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” 41 I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:37-47
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. John 6:35-47
64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” John 6:64-65
39 They answered and said to Him, ”Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abrahams’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 “You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” John 8:39-47
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” John 10:25-30
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 40 He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn So that I should heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. John 12:37-41
1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. 6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” John 17:1-6
It is apparent from these numerous verses that those who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are those who have been called by God the Father. These verses annihilate the concept of free will (the ability of the sinner to choose God unaided) and make clear that God’s children are called of God and put their faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be careful as we share the gospel to trust the Lord to bring forth fruit and not seek to manipulate anyone into the kingdom nor be manipulated to believe that a professor is a child of God. Jesus Christ told us that those who belong to Him love Him, believe and obey what He has said in His Word, the Bible. We will see this fruit brought forth in the lives of those who belong to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. John 14:23-24