Freewill Religion is Antithetical to the Love and Worship Of God
By Curt Wildy
Christians speak much of the elect and election… and rightly so; these words represent an important precept contained within the Gospel message. Yet, these words are also fairly far removed from the average person’s daily vocabulary. Most people would not say please elect an option; rather, they would say please choose… or please make a choice… We do not usually say I elected to walk to the store today nor do we say it was my election (or elective prerogative) to stop watching commercials. Instead, we would say, I chose to walk… or it was my choice to stop watching… In this article, I want to look at election and the elect in the light of the more commonly used language. This is perfectly legitimate given that eklegomai [G1586] in the New Testament literally means to choose, choose out, make a choice, pick out, or pick or choose out for oneself and it is the root verb from whence eklektos [G1588], which means picked out, elected, chosen, is derived. Eklektos is the Greek word translated as elect throughout the New Testament.
According to one of my favourite dictionaries, the (Gospel-leaning) 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, this English verb to choose means to pick out; to select; to take by way of preference from two or more things offered; to take in preference; or to prefer. So we see that the Greek and the English are in complete harmony with what God has in view when He uses these words. With the definition being established, I want to focus on both the divine choice of God when it comes to salvation and the objects of His divine choice, the chosen. It is my assertion, and the Bible clearly declares, that God chose a people unto Himself and gave them to Christ as His bride. The Bible is also clear that the Father made this choice, in Christ, before the world was. Scripture is also clear that His choice was not based upon our will (Romans 9:16), the will of others (John 1:13), our bloodline (John 1:13), our running (or working – Romans 9:16), our goodness (we had none – Ezekiel 36:22-32), or anything else other than the exercise of God’s own free and sovereign will in the furtherance of His eternal, purpose, good pleasure, and glory (Isaiah 46:10).
Divine Election Throughout the Bible
Though some would take issue with the above, no true Christian would reject the precept that there exists a chosen people, an elect people of God. To deny that God has made a sovereign choice of whom He would and would not call His own is the height of spiritual blindness and confusion. The Lord warned in Mark 13:22-27 “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect… 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” He asked in Luke 18:7 “And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” The Holy Spirit asked, through the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:33 “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.” He likewise wrote “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness (Titus 1:1); “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…(1 Peter 1:2).”
There are multiple other such verses in the Bible; however, if more evidence is required, we need only look to the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul as found in Ephesians 1:3-5 “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. The Holy Ghost likewise declared through Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Clearly God, from the foundation of the world has chosen, even elected, a people for Himself – a people of so great a number that no man can count. God says of them in 1 Peter 2:9 “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…”
We see this choice, this election, described further in Romans 9:11-16 wherein we read “(For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Does Not God Have a Right to Choose?
Having proved that there is an elect, a chosen people of God, I want to quickly consider the names that God uses to describe them. They are called His bride (Revelation 21:2,9; Ephesians 5:25; Isaiah 62:5); His children (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; Romans 9:26), His brethren (Matthew 12:48,49; Hebrews 2:11), His servants (Matthew 21:34-36; 25:21-23), His friends (John 15:15; James 2:23), His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10); and His sheep (John 10:14-30; John 21:16-17).
Please consider the following carefully: (1) Few would think that anything was amiss if any other man were to choose His bride. It is normal to expect that a man will choose, choose out, make a choice, pick out, or pick or choose out for himself a woman that he wishes to marry. Yet, when we affirm that the Lord has done this very thing from before the world was, people become offended. (2) Few would think it unusual for a prospective adoptive-parent to choose for themselves the child or children that they wish to adopt. However, when we declare that God has chosen His adoptive children from eternity, the unregenerate call this monstrous, unjust, and cruel. (3) Likewise, not many would complain when a person limits their use of the words brother and sister to the children their parents either chose in adoption or conceived. Yet, when you declare the precept that the brethren of Christ are only those whom the Heavenly Father has elected to be His brethren, the masses wax indignant. (4) Who would accuse an employer of sin or cruelty for choosing out his servants (employees) rather than just accepting anyone and everyone who makes a decision to work for him. Yet, when we declare that God has made a perfect choice of His servants, from before the world was, we are accused by false professors of heresy. (5) Would any worldly-wise adherent of freewillism argue that they should befriend anyone and everyone who expresses an interest in being their friend (no matter how much they blaspheme and mock scriptural matters)? Most would say of course not; and yet, they deny the Sovereign Lord and Saviour the right to have chosen, before Adam was ever created, those that He wished to call friends amongst men. (6) What of sheep? Does a shepherd have to accept every sheep that is put before him or does he have the right to choose which sheep he wishes to purchase, redeem, and bring into His fold. If the earthly shepherds have the right to choose, why do the will-worshipers deny God this right? (7) If a workman creates or fashions his workmanship, is it not within his right to choose that which he loves and desires to keep and to discard, even burn, that which He dislikes? Yet when God declares in Romans 9:17-23 “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory…” natural man shakes his fist at God and dares to attribute unrighteousness to Him (Romans 9:14). (8) Finally, when a subject runs afoul of the law of the sovereign, is it not the prerogative of the king to show mercy, leniency, and forgiveness to whom he chooses? Likewise, isn’t it the right of the king to execute his law as he sees fit (presuming it is a just law and a just execution of it). Oh, but if we say that God sovereignly and justly decided to have mercy upon those whom He has chosen to have mercy and hardens in their sins those whom He has chosen to harden (Romans 9:18), many would call such a God, even the True and Living God, a devil.
Why Would They Deny Him His Divine Right?
It is primarily because they hate God that anyone would cling to free-will religion, desiring to deny God the choices that they would not deny to themselves and to their loved ones. They may believe that they love God, they may be deceived into thinking that their love for their false notion of God equates to a love for the True Lord and Saviour, but what they love instead is the idolatrous and impotent caricature that they have made of Him. Ultimately, what they love is their own foolish imagination, their own self-will and belly (Philippians 3:19). They hate the Lord’s absolute sovereignty over all things. They hate the exercise of His free will (especially as it relates to the salvation of sinners), and they hate His right to do with His creation entirely as He pleases. They fail to understand that inherent in the ‘office’ and authority of God is the precept that His will is not limited by anything: not weakness; not lack of knowledge; not the will of others; not the will of demons or devils. God’s will is completely unencumbered and without restraint… but oh how the unregenerate love to think that their will is as such. They want to be like God; isn’t that Satan’s lie from the beginning? They want to deceive themselves into thinking that, like God, their will has no constraints, no obstructions, not even God Himself will interfere with it. What blasphemy, what foolishness, what strong delusion! Unlike the regenerate elect, they have never received a new God-given heart, a God-wrought will, and a God-maintained love for the Truth. The Christian is sick of his own natural will; He wants to be free from it so that God’s will shines forth perfectly in their lives. That is why they long for heaven so that they will be from from this body of death, this desperately wicked natural heart – from whence the natural will derives. They would rather have the Lord break them, smite them, chastise them unto conformity to His image rather than be left to their own natural will and inclinations. What an abomination this notion of freewill is to men and women who have been convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment. What a wretched thought it is seeing how it flies in the face of the glory of God in the finished work of Christ, the effectual work of the Spirit, and the majestic foreordination of all things by the Father.
Yet, natural man wants a “watered-down, submissive, passive, freewill genie jesus;” one that they can let in and out of their hearts and minds precisely like one can let the mythical genies in and out of their bottles. They want someone who answers to them, responds to them, and not the other way around. They want someone who will fulfill their wishes, bending and bowing to their will, rather than desiring a God who will break them and cause them to conform more and more to His. A God that they cannot control is not a God that they desire. They may mouth it, but they do not want a Thy will be done God. No, what they want is a my own (free)will be done but help me when I need it and give me what I want when I want it God. Though they will adamantly deny it, in truth, they want a God who loves them unconditionally, forgives them unconditionally, is there for them unconditionally, and who serves them unconditionally. This is not the sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent God of the Bible! The biblical God does nothing unconditionally! Everything He does is conditioned upon His righteousness, His glory, His goodness, and the salvation of His chosen people in and by Christ alone! God does not love everyone; He loves those who are in Christ. He does not accept everyone; He accepts those who were made acceptable in Christ (the Beloved). He does not forgive everyone but rather grants repentance to all those whom He has chosen to forgive from eternity! This GOD, this divine sovereign, this absolute Ruler and Governor over all of creation is hated, absolutely hated, by the unsaved masses. They reject and despise Him because they have no God-given desire to bow before Him. This kind of God is not compatible with their schemes and desires. A God whom they cannot control, one who doesn’t have to wait until they let Him do anything in their lives, is an abominable God to them. They do not want this Christ-Man, this God-Man, to rule over them because they want their so-called freewill to reign supreme; they love their self-will and they thoroughly want their will to be done. It is precisely the same mindset found in Isa 14:13. Freewillers may give lip service to their god conforming them to “his will;” but “his will” is ultimately subject to their freewill because their god “loves, respects, and honours” their freewill and would never forcibly do anything to override or contradict it. They have a “god in their pocket” god, an idol, an impotent; such a god is worthless, deserving neither worship nor honour. Such a god is merely a figment of their proud, vain, and filthy imaginations. Though all who cling to such a god unto death will end up in Hell; no one in Hell continues to cling to such a god. Once there, that false god is nowhere to be found. That false refuge will be immediately burnt to nothing, burnt to a vapour that can no more be found; this will happen the very moment the reality of the True God’s fierce judgment and wrath falls upon them. What a frightful reality! This is why the Christian should be all the more diligent in warning mankind of the wrath to come as God opens the door of witness. May He give us strength to be bold before men, remembering that those who reject the Gospel today may, at God’s appointed time, be brought to believe the Truth at some later point in their lives.
A False “Choice”
Some try to argue that everyone is elect, that everyone was chosen of God unto salvation, but that they must “accept (their freewill, genie) jesus” in order to make their god’s choice effectual. If any choice of a god requires a man to make it effectual then that choice was never made by the true God in the first place. A true God, a Lord and Ruler over all, does all things according to His own will and purpose – both of which will stand without regard to the actions, wants, or will of man. Moreover, concerning this “all are elected” argument, we read in Matthew 20:16 and 22:14 that”…many are called, but few [are] chosen.”
Others foolishly argue that God only chose those whom He knew from eternity would turn to Him of their own “freewill.” Firstly, this argument is absurd because it obviates the need for God to choose anyone in the first place. Why would a god need to choose those whom he knew would come to him in their own strength, and of their own will, even without his choosing them? It would be like me saying that I chose the rain drops that I knew would fall upon me if I stood uncovered in a rainstorm — what nonsense! Secondly, no man can come! No man can turn to God of their own free will. The Lord Jesus clearly stated in John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…” and again in John 6:65 “…no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” In 1 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible is also clear that no man can turn to God, or accept Jesus, of their own freewill because “the natural man receiveth (accepteth, accepts) not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.” The Lord Jesus Christ, His Person, His work of salvation — all aspects of the doctrine concerning Him and His Gospel amounts to nothing but foolishness to the unregenerate. No man dead in trespasses and sins can, will, or even would truly turn to the Lord Jesus because 1 Corinthians 2:14 states for all to see that such thoughts of turning are foolishness to the unregenerate. It is impossible for a (spiritually) dead man to desire to come to the very One whom his whole heart and being hates. There is no goodness in the natural heart of man that can reach out and “accept” the Lord. God states thrice in the Bible that there are none righteous, no not one. There are none that seeketh after God and that doeth good! There is not a single fallen child of Adam that, of their own strength and will, can choose Christ or accept Him into their wicked, polluted hearts. It is pure delusion to think that any man can initiate their salvation based upon that aspect of them that is the weakest and most corrupt. Filthy and vile can never bring about good and righteous and the former is precisely what our natural (collective) heart is. Given that the heart is the very seat of the will, the natural will must likewise be filthy and vile. Fathom this… the self-will of man is a slave to sin and corruption and yet man wants to declare it free, free! What blindness to their true state and condition; what absolute folly.
Freewill religion is an ugly mask; it is a surface-level covering designed to hide the underlying and unwanted truth – that man, by nature, hates the True God. If a God is preached that has complete control over their thoughts, words, and deeds – they want nothing to do with Him. If the God preached has already determine when one will live, when they will die, and how precisely they will live and die, they will flee from that God and yet turn on the one who has proclaimed Him. If the God preached is not a let god (that is, a — “let god into your hearts,” “let god rule your life,” “let jesus be your lord and master” — type of god), but rather One who is sovereign to the utmost in all things, then they would rather kill that God than submit to Him. If the God proclaimed does not let them “get saved” when they want to and how they want to, then they have no time for (or interest in) such a God. If that God has already decided whom He will love, turn, and save, and does not give all of mankind an “equal chance” to save themselves by “making a decision for Him” then they would rather rush headlong into Hell than to seek His everlasting mercies. They would rather argue fatalism, injustice, unfairness, and cry monster! than to cry out to the Lord “Lord, I do not know if I am one of yours but I know that only you can save me; if Thou wilt, have mercy on me oh Lord; please have mercy upon me.” The true Christian knows that such a prayer (or such prayers given that it isn’t some one time, formulaic, utterance), if sincere, is nothing less than the effectual working of God in their hearts. But the wicked want a formula; they want a “I accepted jesus; I made a decision; I said the sinner’s prayer; I gave my heart, I was baptized, I spoke in pseudo-spiritual gibberish, I exercised my freewill, I, I, I” salvation. If God does not intervene on a person’s behalf whilst they still have the breath of life, and do for them what they cannot do for themselves, then such a false salvation they will have – and they will go to Hell with it! But thank God for divine election; it is the only hope that the elect of God have. Thank God that He seeks out his rebellious people, steps in for them, and does for them not only what they could not do for themselves but what they would not have done for themselves. God alone seeks them, regenerates them, turns them, leads them, and gives them love, faith, and wisdom to believe the Truth. He alone gives them a new heart and makes them willing in the day of His power!
In light of the above, I want nothing to do with the false god of freewill-religion (or freewill-delusion) and can have no spiritual fellowship with those who would cling to such a mockery. I despise such a caricature of the true Just God and Saviour; therefore, what fellowship can I have with those who would promote such idolatry. By God’s grace, and only by His grace, I want a Lord who will rule not only my life but the lives of all men, creatures, and who will (and does) govern all things -both animate and inanimate- solely in accordance with His eternal purpose, glory, and goodness. If you do not believe the truth of divine election, you do not believe the Gospel. If you do not believe the gospel, you have no reason to hope for salvation. You have no reason to believe that God, in any way, loves you. Nonetheless, if He puts it in your heart to cry out to Him, seek Him, and to desire to see His goodness and mercy, then seek Him you will — and find Him you will — but only because He first sought and saved you and now works in you both to will and to do if His good pleasure! Now that, that, is a marvellous God and Saviour indeed!
Glory, blessings, and honour to the True God, the Sovereign over all of Heaven and Earth – forever and ever. Amen.