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The man who is trying to be a Christian is trying to hold on to something.

The man who is a Christian feels that he is being held by something. It has been put to him, it is there; it may even seem to be in spite of him, but it is there.

It is not what he is doing that matters to him; it is what has been done to him …"

source: Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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The will of man without the grace of God "is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good."

Source: Martin Luther

"We are all sinners by nature ,therefore we are held under the yoke of sin . But if the whole man is subject to the dominion of sin , surely the will , which is it’s principal seat , must be bound with the closest of chains."

Source: John Calvin

"Before the fall, man had been created with a free will, so that, had he been willing, he might have kept the law; his nature was pure; the disease of sin had not yet reached him … But having desired to be as God, he died – and not he alone, but all his posterity. Since then in Adam all men are dead, no one can recall them to life, until the Spirit, which is God himself, raises them from the dead."

Source: Ulrich Zwingli

"Free will I have often heard of, but I have never seen it. I have always met with will, and plenty of it, but it has either been led captive by sin or held in the blessed bonds of grace."

Source: C. H. Spurgeon

"There has been no such thing as freedom since Adam fell. Adam was free. Not a single child of Adam has ever been free… Man’s will has been bound ever since the fall of Adam. By nature man is not free to choose God … Do not talk to me about free will; there is no such thing. There is no such thing as free will in fallen man. The Bible teaches that."

Source: Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans – Assurance

"The choices a fallen man makes are voluntary and self-determined, not coerced, but are in bondage and taken captive by sin, so they make evil choices of necessity, so they are not free. Free from coercion yes, but not free from necessity, due to a corruption of nature. Calvin said, "We do not say that fallen man is forced unwillingly into sinning, but rather that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin (Rom 7:6; 2 Tim 2:26) and therefore sins of necessity."

"We do not make choices contrary to our desires or natures, nor separately from God’s meticulous providence."

Source: John Hendryx

"…we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. … We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. … we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced."

Source: John Calvin from Bondage and Liberation of the Will

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We can summarise it like this. The best way is to consult the textbook on this subject. Here it is perfectly clear: the more I read the Bible and see the picture of the Christian man, the more I understand the nature of sin and life in this world, and what God has done for me in Christ, then the more I shall desire the things of God and hate the other. So I suggest that the best practical step is to read God’s word, and to be thoroughly soaked in it. There is a very simple, practical test that one can apply at this point. I wonder what the result would be if we all kept a chart for one week and put down on paper the amount of time which we spent in reading God’s word and things which help us to understand it, and the time we spent reading newspapers and novels or watching films? Now I am just asking the question. We say we believe in salvation. We believe God has given us this gift, so then, I ask, what are the relative amounts of time that we give to these things? Working out our own salvation means that we do everything we can to feed this life, to stimulate it, to enable it to extend and develop and grow.

And the other thing, clearly, is prayer: prayer for an increasing knowledge of God, for a greater measure of the Holy Spirit and for a greater understanding of this word; prayer for guidance, for leading and for understanding. If I believe in God and that he has done this for me, why do I spend so little time with him? Why do I not long for him more and more? That is how we work it out and I must follow and obey every prompting and leading that I am conscious of in this direction. The fathers used to regard the Christian life as a wholetime occupation. They used to spend their time with it and, I feel, it is one of the greatest condemnations of us today that we are guilty of not working out this amazing salvation that God has given to us.

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