Comments on De Servo Arbitrio “On the Enslaved Will” or The Bondage of Will

DanFugett's picture

Balancing God's sovereignty and our responsibility EDITED

***REVISED:
I think you raise valid points. I think all people have the ability to choose to do the morally right thing based on their upbringing. However the presence of moral behavior does not equate to the absence of a sinful heart or a heart naturally bent on sin, or doing a good work in the biblical sense of the term. When I say biblical sense of the term, I mean such as the "fruit of the Spirit" that cannot be present in a life that is devoid of the Spirit.

In that sense then, the presence of the ability to make a morally correct decision does not mean you have free will in the sense being referred to. You and I dont have free will to be righteous by an act of choice apart from a personal experience with Christ. Here is where human thinking can get us into trouble. Giving to people can look like the fruit of the Spirit (love), but that does not make it so. Tranquility can look like peace, but that does not make it the fruit of the Spirit. People can have love, joy and peace but not have the fruit of the Spirit because they dont have the Spirit. Human virtue can exist apart from life in the Spirit because God's image in us was marred not destroyed (I believe) so James can still say we were (AND are) made in His image. *** The obedience of some of the commands of Christ does not equate to being righteous. That is the problem with works-righteousness. The moment salvation is contributed to by us it becomes a matter of works which begs the question how much and which types of works. ***

To illustrate, before becoming a Christian many people have been "good" citizens meaning exemplary citizens with great loyalty and passion for that to which their loyalty belonged. In my pre-conversion state I did not refrain from breaking laws just out of fear of punishement either. I did so because I believed it was the right thing to do and it was congruent with the 10 commandments I had learned in sunday school. But doing the right thing does not equate to the Living Water flowing from inside us because God has to put that there first. ***It is from that "sweet water" that a sweet stream can flow.*** In fact, many nonChristians are more altruistic and kind than some Chrisians. I dont believe any of that moral living is a good work in the sense God's word uses the term. Christ says I cannot just call Him Lord and not do the things He says, or consequently He does not know me. I dont believe I can turn that around to mean if it appears I am obeying Christ that I therefore know Him. *** Not that I am implying you are turning anything around. The external obedience of a command doesnt mean it is in the heart AS a command of God vs a command of my parents*** My personal view is that it is impossible to really obey God apart from His justification on the basis of sheer grace without human merit. *** I dont think an absence of stealing because I learned the 10 commandments in Sunday School constituted a good work but YES it does show free will to that extent. Yet all coveting is not absent. This is the one commandment that Paul says he did. I think we all sin from the heart and that demonstrates we arent truly free to do what we want to do. We are who we are. When one puts those commandments at the heart level (love not just avoid murder), dont only avoid stealing but give joyously, ... then one sees they really dont have a will free to live for God they way He demands. ***

I have to go to a social so I cant go into great detail but I personally avoided posting the exact quote from Augustine. In all honesty the reason I refrained from posting this quote is because I dont know how to discuss Pelagius within our multidenominational setting without violating the posting guidelines I have to enforce. Some of the beliefs held by some of our dear brothers and sisters here honestly look Pelagian to me as a fallible human being. I have read the boy cutting grass illustration and Aquinas, and it still looks that way to me. Also, rules aside, I dont want to hurt anyone and yet Augustine appears to have said a very Luther like thing in speaking of God's grace apart from human merit, without diminishing human respons-ability.

Submitted as a poster,

In Christ,

Dan Fugett, Sr Moderator
dfugett2010@gmail.com




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