Faith in Christ or Faith in Man’s Free Will? …You Decide
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). Faith is a gift of God’s grace (Eph 2:8–9), granted by God (Phil 1:29), to all those He ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48).
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom 10:17), by which we are born again of the Spirit of Christ (1 Pet 1:3), who gives us faith, resulting in right standing (righteousness) before God (Rom 3:22).
Faith is not a willful action of man (Jn 1:13), it is one’s legal position before God. Christians are “in Christ” before God’s throne of judgment and grace. God put us there (1 Cor 1:30).
God’s throne is the place of distinction between those who have an advocate (1 Jn 2:1), acting as a mediator (1 Tim 2:5), and those who do not. Our faith is in Christ, who alone is right before God. Peter wrote, “your faith and hope are in God (1 Pet 1:21).” Christ is in God, and we are in Christ. Here is the place of grace that generates and increases faith for the believer (Rom 12:3).
The tragedy of the easy-believism of decisional Arminianism is the message that places one’s faith in the free will action of oneself.
Having faith in one’s power to decide is extraordinarily popular in evangelical Christianity, as propagated by the likes of famous evangelists: D.L. Moody; Billy Sunday; Billy Graham; Luis Palau, etc.
Free will has become the object of faith. One who decides, using her free will, might have a date, time, and circumstance bearing testimony of her exercise of wisdom and power to secure salvation for herself.
Because free will is the catalyst for one being saved in the Arminian system, it actually replaces Christ, thus, the notion of free will (men are actually slaves to sin) is an idol that men place their trust in rather than God in Christ. W.E. Best said, “God’s character is maligned by every person who believes in free will.”
Idols cannot save anyone, which is why C.H. Spurgeon preached, “Free will has carried many souls to hell but yet never a soul to heaven.”
The utter failure of free will was captured in the ministry of Augustus Toplady, who wrote, “A man’s free will cannot cure him even of the toothache, or a sore finger, and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul.”
Those who trust in the free will of man have positioned themselves at enmity with God, who declares His right to sovereign election and reprobation — of definite, personal souls (Rom 9). John Trapp wrote, “The friends of free will are the enemies of free grace.”
Man’s free will as the agent of salvation is simply the mind craft of Satan, who blinds men from seeing the Gospel aright (2 Cor 4:4). John Owen wrote, “Free will is, ‘corrupted nature’s deformed darling, the Pallas or beloved self-conception of darkened minds.”
So then it is not of him (of man) that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God who shows mercy (Rom 9:16). To those He has shown mercy, who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God…these He gave the right to be called children of God (Jn 1:12–13).
As I close, I hope you, too, will experience what I myself and William Huntington have gone through, “This brought me out of the free will fog, and truth shone in my heart like a comet…from that moment I waged war against free will.”
Brothers, pick up the Sword of the Spirit and fight like men of God, bold with the truth of God’s sovereignty in salvation, and zealous for His glory alone.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 5, 2022