Free grace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of God is the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24). Grace is the work of God that benefits God’s chosen people with so great a salvation (Heb 2:3). Late 19th century London pastor at Metropolitan Tabernacle, C. H. Spurgeon preached, “Salvation is a blessing peculiar to the righteous.” The psalmist wrote, “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord (Ps 37:39).” Salvation of the saints, from beginning to end, is all of grace. That grace, the grace of God, is freely His work to will and to do, and it is free to us. This means we do nothing whatsoever (as a condition of receipt) to be saved.
God’s grace is sovereign grace. God, in His eternal good pleasure, has decreed all that shall come to pass. As the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists, animate and inanimate, He alone determines what will be. Man, the pinnacle of God’s creation, was made in the image of God and placed in a garden paradise named, “Eden.” In a state of integrity, man walked with God as male and female. The will of man was to do the will of God.
Temptation to disobey the will and word of God was introduced to Adam and Eve by the deceiving serpent, Satan, a demon in disguise. Using his will, under the influence of the devil, man decided to disobey God in unbelief. Having been warned of the consequences, sin and death came into the world and took dominion from man. Sin and death reigned (Rom 5:17, 21). The fallen world governed by the god of this world, the devil (2 Cor 4:4), tempted people in every generation to be like gods (Gen 3:5).
The rebellion of man is the plight of man because upon each person’s death comes the judgment of God (Heb 9:27). Conceived in unrighteousness because of inherited sin, man’s life is lived with a soul, dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). Nothing in sinful man desires the things of God (1 Cor 2:14). As a slave to sin (Rom 6:6), man loves darkness as a cloak for his evil deeds (Jn 3:19). God is righteous and just, and for this reason, He must judge lawless doers of iniquity (Gen 18:25; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). The sentence is eternal punishment in the fiery hell of the lake of fire (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15). This is perfect justice for those who offend the infinite majesty of the one Holy God. If man were not blinded to this reality by the Adversary, he would have some interest in the subject of his eternal home. Man, however, does not seek God because he is deluded into thinking he is a good person (Rom 3:10–12), even a god (Gen 3:5).
The question of salvation is addressed in such a way that Satan’s evil systems of counterfeit salvation might be included. The father of lies assures men that they may approach God by being something or doing something. People are given innumerable choices in which to decide how they will make their approach. The devil assures people that they have the free will to choose their escape from his diabolical enslavement of them.
The difference between man-centered free will decisionalism in world religions and the free will decisionalism of pseudo-Christianity is the inclusion of a Jesus figure. Don Chandler writes, “There are basically only two religions in the world. One moves man toward God while the other moves God toward fallen man. The first can be properly called free will (it is sometimes called Pelagianism or Arminianism since these two men introduced this error) while the second must of necessity be termed free grace.”
False Christianity has a false Jesus who does things not mentioned in the Bible. Pelagian, Arminian, free will Jesus died on the cross for everyone head for head, even those who were already in hell on the day of the Son of David’s birth in Bethlehem. The condition of making a decision to let Jesus save them transfers salvation from God to man. Every man is told that he has the free will to choose Jesus. In contrast, the Bible teaches that Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). He laid down His life for His sheep (Jn 10:11, 15). Christ gave Himself over to death on the cross for His church (Eph 5:25).
Two terms worth noting are monergism and synergism. Free will synergism argues that salvation is a cooperative effort between God, who does His part, and man, who does his part. Free grace monergism teaches that God alone is the Savior of sinners. The Bible reveals that sinful men are responsible for their deplorable state and for the requirements for reconciliation with God which must be met (see the imperative verbs commanding people to do something about their situation). What the Bible also teaches is the total depravity of man. Man ought to do something about his sad state, but he is neither willing nor able to meet his obligations. John Hendryx adds, “Man is morally impotent.”
Proponents of free will often revert to the clause in John 3:16, “whosoever will” may come, but the Scriptures teach that no one can come to Jesus our Savior unless God the Father draws him (Jn 6:44, 65). The Bible also teaches that it is not by the will of man that one receives Christ and eternal life (Jn 1:12–13). In fact, one must be ordained to eternal life in order to believe in Jesus (Acts 13:48). Faith in Christ is a gift of God’s free and sovereign grace (Eph 2:8–9). The blood of Jesus (Rom 5:9), the grace of God (Rom 3:24), and the faith that manifests at the Spirit’s baptism are what justifies an elect soul (Rom 3:28), by God’s gracious choice (Rom 11:5)
Born again souls have no interest in boasting in their free will because they have learned from the Bible that prior to being slaves of Christ (Eph 6:6) they were slaves of sin (Rom 6:6). Autonomous free will is a myth generated and propagated by those who boast in themselves. Thinking more highly of themselves than they ought, salvation becomes an easy task in their scheme. Easy-believism is one quick decision made by anyone, anywhere. How different is the message of Scripture!
Apart from Christ, sinners can do nothing (Jn 15:5). What the Bible poses as an impossibility is only possible with God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). Salvation is not only a possibility, but by God’s free grace, it is a sure thing because it is entirely a work of the all-wise, omnipotent God. The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19), and His lost sheep will be found and cared for with exclusive love (Ps 23; Jn 10). Nothing will ever separate them from their Good Shepherd (Rom 8:35–39).
Christ’s sheep belong to Him, and this is why they believe (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23). It is His voice they hear as He calls them to spiritual life (Mt 11:28; Jn 8:47; 1 Cor 2:15) from being dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). It is the Spirit of Christ who baptizes and regenerates the dead soul, making the sinner alive to God (Mt 3:11; Eph 2:5, 7; Col 2:13). Even as God grants His permanent indwelling Spirit to these (Rom 8:9, 11), He also grants them faith in His Son, by the same Spirit (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2).
The victorious believer celebrates in Christ’s triumph over sin, death, the devil, and the world (Jn 16:33; 2 Cor 2:14). As a saint, there is nothing but free grace granting new life, abundant and eternal, and with zero conditions. Simply put, He saved us (Titus 3:5), by His glorious grace. It is a work of God, not man’s free will, so that no one may boast in himself.
Are you celebrating the free grace of God in Christ Jesus (Great things He alone has done!), today, or are you celebrating your free will decision (Great things you have done!)? May your answer to this question serve you as a self-examination of your status before God, and may you repent if necessary. If you do repent, that will be by God’s free grace, too (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25)! Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 23, 2021