The Freedom of the Will
We believe that the word “freedom” or “free” is a relative term. It is relative to where something was “freed from”. So when we talk about the will of man, it is always helpful to ask: from what or whom does the will of man freed from? In this way we can be consistent with how the scriptures use the terms “free” and “freedom”. With regards to the state of man as a whole, including his will, after the fall, the language of scriptures is not of freedom but of slavery and bondage. However, God offers freedom from the bondage of sin and death. So we prefer only to use terms or phrases that is consistent with the language of scriptures. We may say that the will of man was freed from such and such or in bondage to such and such. We believe that to use the term “free will”, is to bring with it all its philosophical baggage, that most of the time is forced into the scriptures. To avoid that and other unnecessary tautology, we prefer to use the following terms; voluntary will, creaturely will or mutable will. That is more descriptive and clear.
The Will in General
All men have been created with a will that is able to make real and liable choices. They are able to and must always choose the greatest inclination or desire at a given moment, that is consistent with their natural capacities. By “natural capacities”, we mean physical capacities as oppose to “moral” or “spiritual” capacities. God never forces men to do anything against their will, yet he is in complete control of their will and is always ultimately decisive over their will. Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:15-17, Acts 4:27-28, Romans 9:10-21, Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 1:11
The Bondage of the Will
As a result of the Fall, man not only lost eternal life, but also his power or moral ability to choose God or to ultimately please him. This is not to say that fallen man does not have the ability to choose; he does. What we are saying is that as a result of the Fall, man is now a God-hater and his will is in bondage to his corrupt sinful nature, in other words, he is incapacitated in a moral or spiritual sense. He will on his own never choose to trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. He will as an exercise of his voluntary choice, choose the fleeting pleasures of this world instead of having God as their greatest treasure. This is a kind of “cannot” or “inability” that still renders man responsible. Ephesians 2:1-10, John 6:44, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 1:30, Romans 8:5-7
The Will of the Believer in This Life
When God saves us he causes us to want to repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. As a believer God makes us willing to choose that which pleases him, and gives us the power to do it. God works in such a way as to make us want what he wants without forcing us to do it. Nevertheless, in this life, the believer will never be able to live perfectly for his Lord. John 1:12-13, Romans 6:15-18, Acts 11:18, Acts 16:11-15, Ephesians 2:1-10, Galatians 5:16-18, Philippians 2:12-13
The Will of the Believer after Death
It is not until the believer dies and enters into heaven that he will be made perfectly and unchangeably free to will only what is good. He will want to do good and good alone for all eternity. Revelation 21, 22
*We would like to thank the New Covenant Church Cebu for allowing us to study and use their Statement of Faith as a basis of our own with some little or minor revisions to fit our core beliefs. Some articles remained as is because we believe that it accurately describes ours and so changes at this point is not necessary. We believe as a church that we are much closer to New Covenant Theology and furthest away from Dispensational Theology. In terms of the covenants, some of us hold to a pre-fall covenant and an overaching covenant of grace. But generally we are NCT.