Confession: Canons of Dort 3rd Head Article 3, Rejection of Errors Paragraph 3, 9
Scripture: Proverbs 20:9; Jeremiah 13:23, 17:5,9; Mark 7:21-23; John 3:19-20; Romans 3:10-12, 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 4:18
Being unoriginal I have simply copied the title from one of Spurgeon’s sermons. It might seem that “free will” is
one of the most obvious components of existence. Especially when it comes to “choosing your religion”. And yet, truth be told,
it interferes with the main ingredient of the Gospel message itself…Grace. Why? Because the idea of “free will” brings with it
man’s part, man’s contribution to the salvation enter prize glazing over the depth of the fall and even worse undercutting the
height of God’s sheer sovereign grace in salvation. Free will wants some credit! But the Gospel says all of “grace”, that no man should boast!
I. Does Fallen Man have a Free Will?
II. What is the Point?
Canons of Dort
Article 3: Total Inability
Therefore, all people are conceived in sin and are born children of wrath, unfit for any saving good, inclined to evil, dead in their sins, and slaves to sin. Without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit they are neither willing nor able to return to God, to reform their distorted nature, or even to dispose themselves to such reform.
Rejection of Errors Paragraph 3
Who teach that in spiritual death the spiritual gifts have not been separated from human will, since the will in itself has never been corrupted but only hindered by the darkness of the mind and the unruliness of the emotions, and since the will is able to exercise its innate free capacity once these hindrances are removed, which is to say, it is able of itself to will or choose whatever good is set before it—or else not to will or choose it.
This is a novel idea and an error and has the effect of elevating the power of free choice, contrary to the words of Jeremiah the prophet: “The heart itself is deceitful above all things and wicked” (Jer. 17:9); and of the words of the apostle: “All of us also lived among them” (the children of disobedience) “at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts” (Eph. 2:3).
Rejection of Errors Paragraph 9
Who teach that grace and free choice are concurrent partial causes which cooperate to initiate conversion, and that grace does not precede—in the order of causality—the effective influence of the will; that is to say, that God does not effectively help the human will to come to conversion before that will itself motivates and determines itself.
For the early church already condemned this doctrine long ago in the Pelagians, on the basis of the words of the apostle: “It does not depend on human willing or running but on God’s mercy” (Rom. 9:16); also: “Who makes you different from anyone else?” and “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7); likewise: “It is God who works in you to will and act according to his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Proverbs 20:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
Jeremiah 13:23 King James Version (KJV)
23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Jeremiah 17:5 King James Version (KJV)
5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
Jeremiah 17:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Mark 7:21-23 King James Version (KJV)
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
John 3:19-20 King James Version (KJV)
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Romans 3:10-12 King James Version (KJV)
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Romans 8:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
1 Corinthians 2:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Ephesians 4:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
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