Ben Reaoch | Category: Theology for Life
In what sense are humans free? Well, it depends on who you’re talking about. Adam and Eve were free in a way that we are not. Believers are free in a way that unbelievers are not. One day, when we are in heaven, we will be free in a way that we will never experience in this life.
Consider these paragraphs from our Statement of Faith which give a helpful summary of redemptive history in terms of human free will. The chapter begins with a definition, then moves to creation, fall, redemption, and finally glorification. (My comments are in bold, followed by the paragraphs from the 1689 London Baptist Confession).
Definition – We are free to act according to our desires.
Paragraph 1. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.
Creation – Adam and Eve were free to obey.
Paragraph 2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God, but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it.
Fall – Humans are born in bondage to sin. There is freedom to sin, but no ability to turn to God.
Paragraph 3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
Redemption (Already . . .) As believers, we are redeemed from bondage to sin. We have a taste of the freedom we will experience in heaven, but we still stumble.
Paragraph 4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin, and by His grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he does not perfectly, nor only will, that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.
Glorification (. . . not yet) We look forward to heaven when we will be entirely free from sin. We will be free to whole-heartedly worship our Savior forever, unhindered by the temptations and trials of this life.
Paragraph 5. This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only.
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