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But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved … so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God … so that no one may boast.

(Ephesians 2:4-9)

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God in our conversion, by the exceeding greatness of his power, as he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, actually worketh faith and repentance to us, gives them unto us, bestows them on us; so that they are mere effects of his grace in us. And his working in us infallibly produceth the effect intended, because it is actual faith that he works, and not only a power to believe.

Source: John Owen, The Nature, Causes, and Means of Regeneration.

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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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Things to read one day on God’s sovereignty and human will

Part I: The Will and Affections are in Bondage to Sin

A Treatise on Grace and Free Will by St. Augustine
Grace Creates a Truly Free Will
by St. Augustine
Short Excerpt From Packer’s Intro to Luther’s Bondage of the Will
by J. I. Packer
Key Quotes from "The Bondage of the Will"
by Martin Luther
Bondage of the Will
by Martin Luther (Book)
Man Now Deprived of Freedom of the Will, and Miserably Enslaved
by John Calvin
Freedom of the Will
by Jonathan Edwards (Book)
Augustine & The Pelagian Controversy
by B. B. Warfield
Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism & Augustinianism
by A. A. Hodge
Law and Grace
by John Murray
Free Will and Merit Fairly Examined
by Augustus Toplady
Man’s Free Will or Impotency and the Punishment Due Upon Sin
by Wilhelmus à Brakel
Free Will – A Slave
by C. H. Spurgeon
Human Inability
by C. H. Spurgeon
God’s Will and Man’s Will
by C. H. Spurgeon
Adam’s Fall and Free-Will
by R. L. Dabney
God Sovereign and Man Free: or the Doctrine of Divine Foreordination and Man’s Free Agency, Stated, Illustrated, and Proved from the Scriptures
by N.L. Rice, D.D. (book)
Arminianism Restrictive of Divine Free Agency
by Rev. Samuel J. Cassells
Free Will
by A. A. Hodge
Arminianism: The Golden Idol of Free Will
by Augustus Toplady
The Arminian Theory of Redemption
by R. L Dabney
The Theology of the Reformation
by B. B. Warfield
The Doctrine of Man’s Impotence
by A. W. Pink (book)

 

Part II: God’s Sovereignty and Free Will

God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will by A.W. Pink
God’s Foreknowledge and Free Will
by Stephen Charnock
Is Predestination Inconsistent With the Free Agency And Moral Responsibility of Man?
by Loraine Boettner
The Potter and the Clay
by George Whitefield
God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
by John Murray
God’s Will and Man’s Will
by Horatius Bonar
Grace Does Not Destroy Free Agency
by R. L. Dabney
Of The Freedom of the Will of Man
by John Gill
How Can God be Sovereign and Man Still be Free?
by John Hendryx

 

Appendices

Arguments in Support of Free Will Refuted by John Calvin
Eleven (11) Reasons to Reject Libertarian Free Will
by John Hendryx
Does Forseen Faith Allow for Libertarian Free Will?
by John Hendryx
Bible Logic Fallacies of Synergism & Libertarian Free Will Theism
by John Hendryx & Roger Smalling
Does God Have A Libertarian Free Will?
by John Hendryx
The Gospel: Offer or Command?
by John Hendryx
Free Will in Philemon 1:14
by John Hendryx
Question on The State of Man’s Will Before the Fall
by John Hendryx
Free Will, Election & Foreknowledge

If Divine Election is True, and Man has No Free Will, Then What Need is There to Preach the Gospel? by John Hendryx
Conversation with a Synergist on Free Will
by John Hendryx
Responsibility, Inability and Grace (Chart)
by John Hendryx
Is the Will Free by Nature or by Grace?
by John Hendryx
Does the Title"The Need for Grace Does Away With Free Will Altogether" Overstate the Case? by John Hendryx

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Source: John Hendryx

Synergists teach ‘… and as many as believed were ordained to eternal life.’ but The Bible teaches ‘AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.’ (Acts 13:48)

Synergists teach that ‘salvation depends on human will’, but the Bible teaches that ‘it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Rom 9:16)

Synergists teach ‘…’no one knows the Father except those who choose the Son.’ But the Bible teaches that ‘no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him’ (Matt 11:27) They are the ones who ‘choose’ the Son.

Synergists teach that ‘All can come to Christ of their own free will’, but Jesus teaches that ‘no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’ (John 6:65) and all whom He grants will come (John 6:37) Free Will Synergism Vs. Free Grace Monergism

Synergists teach that ‘you are not Christ’s sheep because you do not believe’, but Jesus teaches that ‘you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.’ (John 10:26)

Synergists teach that ‘the reason you are not of God is because you are unwilling to hear and believe God’s words.’ Jesus, on the other hand, taught, ‘The reason why you do not hear [God’s words] is that you are not of God." (John 8:47)

Synergists teach that ‘salvation is so easy a cave man can do it" but the Bible teaches that "What is impossible with man is possible with God." (Luke 18:27)

In the Divine economy men are responsible to believe the gospel, but are morally impotent to do so (when drawing from their own native resources). This inability (due to our intimate solidarity with Adam’s sin) is something we are culpable for, much like owing a debt we cannot repay. So God has every right to call us all to account to ‘repay our debt’, so to speak, even though fallen man does not have the resources to do so. The Church has a privilege and an obligation to call all men to repent and believe the gospel (an imperative) but, left to themselves, no one believes. But God, in his great mercy, still has mercy on many, opening their hearts to the gospel that that might believe.

To this sometimes a synergist often quotes "whosoever will may come" to which we reply that this does quote not teach and indicative of what we are able to do, but rather, teaches what we ‘ought’ to do. As Martin Luther said, "Does it follow from: ‘turn ye’ that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from "’Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart’ (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the ‘free-will’ does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power…But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if thou wilt turn, telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it…" Luther BW,164

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3:5 Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory (Rom 8:30; Eph 1:4, Eph 1:9, Eph 1:11; 1Th 5:9; 2Ti 1:9), out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto (Rom 9:11, Rom 9:13, Rom 9:16; Eph 1:4, Eph 1:9): and all to the praise of His glorious grace (Eph 1:6, Eph 1:12).

Source: Westminster Confession of Faith

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Joseph Alleine discusses his difficulty in trying to convert a person. His solution is to speak the gospel but because he believes in total depravity and effectual calling he also prays a certain way.

… this is yet the more perplexing difficulty, that I am to speak to them that are without spiritual sense. Alas! this is not the least part of man’s misery, that he is dead, dead in trespasses and sins.

Could I bring paradise into view, or represent the kingdom of heaven to as much advantage as the tempter did the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof, to our Saviour; or could I un­cover the face of the deep and devouring gulf of Tophet in all its terrors, and open the gates of the infernal furnace; alas, he has no eyes to see it. Could I paint the beauties of holiness or the glory of the Gospel; or could I expose to view the more than diabolical deformity and ugliness of sin; he can no more judge of the loveliness and beauty of the one, and the filthy and hatefulness of the other, than a blind man of colours. He is alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in him because of the blindness of his heart (Eph 6:18). He neither knows nor can know the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). His eyes cannot be savingly opened but by con­verting grace (Acts 26:18). He is a child of darkness, and walks in darkness. Yea, the light in him is darkness .

Shall I ring his knell, or read his sentence, or sound in his ear the terrible trump of God’s judgments, that one would think should make both his ears tingle, and strike him into Belshazzar’s fit, even to change his countenance, loose his joints, and make his knees smite one against another? Alas, he perceives me not; he has no ears to hear. Or shall I call up the daughters of music, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Yet he will not be stirred. Shall I allure him with the joyful sound, and lovely song, and glad tidings of the Gospel; with the most sweet and inviting calls, comforts, and cordials of the divine promises so exceedingly great and precious? It will not affect him savingly unless I could find him ears as well as tell him the news.

What then shall I do? Shall I show him the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; or shall I open the box of spikenard, very precious, that fills the whole house of the universe with its perfume, and hope that the savour of Christ’s ointments and the smell of His garments will attract him? Alas! dead sinners are like the dumb idols; they have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat. They are destitute of spiritual sense and motion.

O Thou all-powerful Jehovah, who workest, and none can hinder Thee, who has the keys of death and hell, pity Thou the dead souls that lie here entombed, and roll away the grave-stone, and say as to the dead body of Lazarus, Come forth. Lighten Thou this darkness, O inaccessible Light, and let the day-spring from on high visit the dark regions of the dead, to whom I speak; for Thou canst open the eye that death itself hash closed. Thou that formedst the ear, canst restore the hearing; say Thou to these ears, Ephphatha, and they shall be opened. Give Thou eyes to see Thy excel­lencies, a taste that may relish Thy sweetness, a scent that may savour Thy ointment, a feeling that may discern the privilege of Thy favour, the burden of Thy wrath, the intolerable weight of unpardoned sin; and give Thy servant order to prophesy to dry bones, and let the effects of this prophecy be as of Thy prophet when he prophesied the valley of dry bones into a living army exceeding great.’

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

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