Let me offer a home-made parable, which I realize might contain opportunity for doctrinal debate later. For now I simply wish to relate biblical "free will".
First, a Bible fact. There are two families of people on earth. The vast majority are born "Children of the Devil", remaining in that family all their lives. The other family is the "Children of God". No other families are recognized by God.
The Children of Satan do not have "free will". Their minds are captive to the Kosmos, the world system. So here goes, I will play a part in a tale.
My name is Servant. I was born to serve in a desert household as a slave to a hard ruler named Master Sin. Until I was old no person mentioned a possibility of living elsewhere, serving some other master. It is an unthinkable subject among us slaves. We do what now is actually natural, all we know to do, whatever is allowed by Sin and his sons. Sin is a hard man, but he sees to our miserable flesh and bone needs, sometimes killing the hardest of workers on a whim. That keeps us slaves in line, keeps me from wanting to fight Sin, seeking to get along with everyone in the Sin household. In his household I am not allowed to think. I must only obey.
Not long ago a mighty troop with a fearless Captain came through this land, taking Sin captive. They told us slaves we were free to leave.
"But where to?", I asked them. "Follow us as free men and women. You are not obligated to this life here unless you remain here and refuse to follow a better life. In any case, Master Sin is defeated, has no real power over you except what you grant him in the future."
Many of us slaves accepted the offer, followed them on an unforgettable journey, arriving in a prosperous land with great cities. I had never imagined how free men could live. The people in the cities were happy folks, always quite kind to one another. But in time I felt I had left my lifelong friends behind, not easily conforming to that new life of freedom. I came to realize that being an obedient slave actually resulted in a tolerable society, stained by injustice all around, and frequently. I realize not one slave in my old home was happy, but we understood that life, a living hopeless death. I stayed long enough for all my whipping scars to heal, but with nobody to teach me the way of free men. I had so much to learn. I yearned to go home. I am convinced I was destined to be a slave, consigned to a default way of living assigned to most people. Who was I to think for a minute I deserved better?
I returned home to find a toothless and broken Master Sin who was allowed to return to his camp. He had no real power due to his conqueror, but I joined my fellow slaves in consenting to his continued authority over us. It was a life we understood, deserved.
In my heart I somehow realize there is a part of me that was still and would forever remain a free man with citizenship in that prosperous land. But my roots are in this desert with this miserable old man Sin. Am I damned forever? Maybe I missed something vital that would have kept me pursuing that other life. But the choice is mine. I had no choice, was given choice equal to a free man, and decided to live a life I was accustomed to.
End of parable one. Servant has years left to change his mind. The Master Sin is Satan. All are born to his camp. Some enter the world of free men with choice, while most choose to live out the life they were born into. Servant is but one of all humans who have to be told there is a life apart from Sin's dominion. Sin wishes to do your thinking for you. The simple let him to their own damnation.
Servant accepted a wonderful offer, followed the Captain with his host a while. The Captain is Jesus the Savior, the host his disciples. In Servant's innermost being he realized the Savior was one to be believed upon and followed, so way down deeply Servant seized upon that hope. In doing so his "spirit man" became forever delivered from Sin, forever bonded spiritually to Jesus. That unseen part of Servant would be eternally free.
Servant exercised a gift most slaves never get a chance to use, or even learn of. The power to choose. That power has to come from a Conqueror who releases people from whatever bondage they find is overtaking them. Until Jesus came by Servant had no power whatsoever, no choice. But once Sin was conquered, Servant had possession of "free will", to choose to serve God, or man.
If Servant never again chooses to follow the path of free men, will he be damned forever upon his death? The part of his that caused him to trust in the Captain will be eternally saved from damnation, eternal punishment. But will every bit of Servant be denied blessing? No. He can meditate on what he discovered in the land of blessing, altering his actions in that desert. He will find help in making a better spiritual life. He can live outside his enslaved body, withholding some of his mind from the taskmaster. He will retain the power of choice to find ways to get his mind renewed, becoming more like the Conqueror. But many fail to move on, stopping off along the way of the Captain, even returning to where they started from. That isn't the way of an Adventurer.
What of those people not accepting the offer of the Captain? They remain in their former state, still subjects of a conquered sin master, with no hope, no vision.
In the present life each human is made up of three parts. The spirit man. The soul. The body. The Bible teaches that God wishes all three parts of the whole man be preserved together for eternity. But there's a condition for all being saved in one whole being. It is a renewing of the mind, eventually conforming to the thinking of the very successful, the very great Captain. In doing so the saved spirit man will be able to comprehend the values of the Conqueror. Who would desire to imitate the values of the conquered? Each chooser is given some insight into His thinking. He is not a hard man like Master Sin. He asks of His kingdom adherents simple changes in thinking. Here's a great list of what the Captain expects of followers.
2 Peter 1:4-10 "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
Please point out to me one evil virtue in that list. I find none. All of those work together to form a great society and sound souls. All such souls are heir to great promises in this life and the life to come. Those who reject such good things are bound over to eternal UN-glory, to fitting punishment, based on rejection of what is obviously holy and pure.
I find "Servant' is everywhere, disillusioned people who might have tasted freedom, but have returned to a life of being bound by their own choice to old soulish behavior. If you ever once truly trusted in Jesus to deliver you, he did, and stands ready to finish what He began in you. Meanwhile, your mind, emotions, memories, and a body enslaved to all those old curses teams up on your spirit man, winning its evil ways, keeping yuo enslaved to an evil master who really has no power to enslave you. You might say "I am not a slave.", but God warns you are if not found hidden in Christ.
Study it out. Many Christians are here on Praize to try guiding you, but know today the Bible is the final state's evidence that will decide how your end of life trial is decided. It will come down to who your master was. Rise above Servant's decision. return to the city called "Blessing", submit to Jesus. That is your only choice other than a default existence. Believe upon the kind master. His burden is far lighter than that of Master Sin. Choose you this day who you shall serve. If you choose right, His blessings are yours, each given in exchange for every cursing sent your way. Learn of His blessings one by one to begin realizing them.
A major point to conclude with is God never offers powers or gifts that can't be exercised in this life. The problem for most folks is hesitation to act upon whatever God has offered them. God will deliver anyone that accepts his offer from a slave mentality to that of a free soul. There is no free will until he offers it. Once he gives it, he doesn't take it away. Until there is an offer and acceptance, we remain without choices by default. From then on the quality of our lives directly hinges upon a renewal of our minds so we can make more right choices, abandoning bad ones. I want to make it clear that nobody will go to hell for sins. Who we choose as master does determine our eternal destiny. How well we follow our master affects how well we navigate this life. You have spiritual choices to make as well as soul and body choices. A person can chose rightly spiritually, but die a terrible death with AIDS because of failure to conform the mind to that of Christ.
If indeed, as you asked I found I had no free will, then I'd be forever locked into kinship with Satan, a hopeless slave to sin, never able to control my mind or body. Yes, some people like Einstein figured out they ought to at least behave as through there is free will. He recognized the obvious results of godliness as affecting how people making up a civilized society relate to one another. That alone ought to cause anyone to halt, asking why. Why does adherence to godly choices make for a better civilization, enough to emulate Christians? Why don't evil people create lasting and blessed communities? My answer is God made humans to best cooperate in the realm of good, while that of hatred and evil tends to destroy individuals and whole societies.
Be fishers of men
: Aug 2, 2011, 2:23 PM