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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Love Must Be Free

"God wants us to choose Him of our own free will because it's not love if it's not our own free choice." Have you ever heard that? If you believe in the Sovereignty of God you likely have. Or, another popular phrase, often accompanying that one, "God doesn't want robots." That's the idea, you see. Free Will is its own reward. It is inherently valuable. It is, I suppose, of ultimate value since love is the first and, essentially, only command and, by definition, results from Free Will. Must be. I've heard it enough times.

So I have to ask, where does that come from? I know you won't find it in the Bible. (Obviously there isn't a single mention of robots in the Bible.) It's difficult to find a definition of "love" that mandates "free will". That's not in the Bible, either. There is certainly the command to love God and love your fellow man, but if God can prevent someone from sinning (Gen 20:6) and lay it at his credit, He can certainly cause someone to love and lay it at his credit.

While most everyone takes it as a given, the whole thing seems suspect to me. According to Paul, the only means by which I accomplish anything is the power of God in me. I have the power to do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). The reason I can work out my salvation is that God is at work in me giving me both the will (See that?) and the power to do so (Phil 2:12-13). Indeed, according to Jesus, even believing is the work of God (John 6:29). If everything that I accomplish for God is motivated and empowered by God, then where precisely is the much-vaunted power of my "free will"? In fact, according to Paul, no one is free. You are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness (Rom 6:17-18).

I am not suggesting that God would drag people, kicking and screaming, into the kingdom. I am not even saying that we have no kind of "free will". In point of fact, I don't believe that God needs to coerce anyone to choose Him. All that needs to happen is for God to alter the tilt, so to speak. If Natural Man is inclined away from God, all God needs to do is incline him toward God and he will naturally choose God -- freely. No, I'm not suggesting anything other that people do choose God. It's just these preconceptions regarding the glorious "Free Will" that I'm doubting, simply because they don't seem to align with Scripture.


David said...

If receiving grace requires that we will our belief toward God, grace ceases to be a free gift, and becomes a reward for making the right choice.

SuperSpiritual said...

The very nature and essence of love is voluntary; For God so loved...that He gave. Pure love can only exist in pure freedom, or else it is not love at all, but forced obedience. While we acknowledge every good gift comes from our heavenly father, we include in those gifts, the gift of choice. We choose love because He first loved us and deposited into us, His Holy Spirit, which is the Agape of God.
Love guides us and helps us to make the right choices. Once we know love and do what is best for the beloved, the choice becomes easy. God bless.

Stan said...

That's a fine position to take -- certainly the popular one -- except we are commanded to love and that would be obedience ... which you say isn't love.