Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

My Photo
Name:

Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Bondage of the Will and the Gospel Call (Part Two)

(The following post was originally published on 1/2/06.)

"[W]e may apply our wills to grace, or turn away from it."
[The Roman Catholic apologist Erasmus, quoted in Oswald Bayer, “Martin Luther,” The Reformation Theologians, Carter Lindberg, ed. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002).]

The above quote would probably seem completely non-controversial in many 'evangelical' circles of thought. Statements such as the one above abound in churches throughout the land- I myself heard a preacher at a church I was visiting last Sunday make this statement almost word-for-word in a brief sidenote he gave during his sermon- but is the above statement true? I would assert, on the authority of the biblical texts mentioned in my last post, that the quote at the head of this post is false.

The question here is whether the will of every individual human being after the Fall of Man into sin is in bondage to Man's innate evil desires or whether people retain some capacity by which they may freely desire to choose the good that is in Christ. Simply put, is the will of fallen Man naturally in bondage to sin, or do people possess a natural faculty of the mind that may be called 'free-will'?

In defining 'free-will' Erasmus, who is quoted above, wrote:

“[B]y free choice [which is here used interchangeably with the term 'free-will']... we mean a power of the human will by which a man can apply himself to the things which lead to eternal salvation, or turn away from them.”[The Roman Catholic apologist Erasmus, quoted in Oswald Bayer, “Martin Luther,” The Reformation Theologians, Carter Lindberg, ed. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002).]

But please note how the Reformer, Martin Luther, responded to Erasmus' idea of 'free-will':

Luther opposed this thesis as sharply as possible. The turn to salvation, faith, is in no way a human work but rather is God’s work alone, the completion of which- precisely because God is omnipotent- no one can hinder. God is not only willing to keep what he promises, but he is also able to do it. If salvation were not entirely and solely in God’s hands, I would- even if only in the slightest bit- have to have a say in and to cooperate in my salvation. Thus I would, on this single point alone, certainly the Archimedean point, have to fend for myself. Then uncertainty would enter which would destroy the certainty of salvation, and thereby also deny the radical nature of sin. [Oswald Bayer, “Martin Luther,” The Reformation Theologians, Carter Lindberg, ed. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002).]

Our salvation is, as Charles Spurgeon wrote, All of Grace. As the Word of God also declares:

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift-- not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, HCSB)

To the glory of God alone.

Labels:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home