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The Bondage of the Will - Bible study

     The Bondage of the Will  Bible study notes.  Week #1

    The Bondage of the Will  Bible study notes.  Week #1

What are we not talking about regarding the topic of free will:

1.    We are not talking about the abilities of Adam and Eve before the Fall.

They had no sin.

 

2.    We are not talking about the our abilities since the Fall but before conversion in external things.

For example, whether or not to get married or buy a house.

 

3.    We are not talking about our abilities in spiritual things after regeneration when we are in Christ.

For example, the ability to believe God’s promises.

 

4.    We are not talking about our abilities after the resurrection.

We will have no sin.

So, what are we talking about:

We are talking about our abilities (1) since the Fall (2) in spiritual things (3) before regeneration.

Or to put it another way:

When the Word of God is preached and the grace of God is offered us, can we:

a.     Prepare ourselves for that grace.

b.     Accept that grace.

c.     Assent to that grace (so that this is true and trust it).

One side answers the question like this:

Although man cannot from his own powers fulfill God’s command, or truly trust in God, fear and love Him, without the grace of the Holy Spirit, nevertheless he still has so much of natural powers left before regeneration as to be able to prepare himself to a certain extent for grace, and to assent, although feebly; however, that he cannot accomplish anything by them, but must succumb in the struggle, if the grace of the Holy Spirit is not added.

 

 

Another side answers the question like this:

God converts men, and leads them to the saving knowledge ofChrist through His Spirit, without any created means and instrument, that is, without the external preaching and hearing of God’s Word.

Against both of the above answers, another group answers like this:

By the fall of our first parents man was so corrupted that in divine things pertaining to our conversion and the salvation of our souls he is by nature blind, that, when the Word of God is preached, he neither does nor can understand it, but regards it as foolishness; also, that he does not of himself draw nigh to God, but is and remains an enemy of God, until he is converted, becomes a believer, is regenerated and renewed, by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word and when preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any cooperation of his own.

The following passages God’s Word that speak of the ability people have since the fall and before their regeneration:

Last week, we looked at

Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”; and also

Romans 1:16 that Paul “is not ashamed of the Gospel (not free will), for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed by faith alone, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith”; and also

1 Corinthians 1:23 that the Gospel is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentile

Therefore,

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

2 Timothy 2:25-26God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.