FALLEN MAN’S CHOICE IS ALWAYS BETWEEN TWO FALSE GODS
When Joshua said, “choose you this day whom ye will serve” he was not informing the people that they had a ‘free will choice’ to choose between the true God of the Bible and the false gods of the heathen, but rather the choice was between two sets of false gods – you have to read the scripture correctly and not make false assumptions – “choose you this day whom ye will serve; WHETHER THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED THAT WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD, or THE GODS OF THE AMORITES, IN WHOSE LAND YE DWELL” [Josh 24:15]
As far as their ability to either choose or serve the God of the Bible, he bluntly tells them – “Ye CANNOT serve the LORD!” [Josh 24:19]
But some DO love and serve Him. How come? The man who almost single-handedly loved and served God the most tells us how come– “I laboured more abundantly than they all: YET NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH WAS WITH ME.” [1Cor 15:10]
But to return, why is that men in general cannot choose God or serve Him? Get this – It is because fallen man comes into the world as a sworn enemy of the God of scripture! The Apostle affirms, “there is NONE that seeketh after God!” Period! Oh yes they may love a ‘god’ of their own making and their own imaginations, but the Sovereign discriminating God of Scripture who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will, men hate with a passion! Their unified cry against THIS God is – “We will not have THIS MAN to reign over us!” [Luke 19:14]
All the offspring of Adam possess a fixed bias of the will against God, and instinctively and willingly turn to evil. As Loraine Boettner said long ago, “Fallen man is an alien by birth, and a sinner by choice. The inability under which he labors is not an inability to exercise volitions, but an inability to be willing to exercise holy volitions. And it is this phrase of it which led Luther to declare that “Free-will is an empty term, whose reality is lost. And a lost liberty, according to my grammar, is no liberty at all.” In matters pertaining to his salvation, the unregenerate man is not at liberty to choose between good and evil, but only to choose between greater and lesser evil, which is not properly free will.
The fact that fallen man still has ability to do certain acts morally good in themselves does not prove that he can do acts meriting salvation, for his motives may be wholly wrong.
Man is a free agent but he cannot originate the love of God in his heart. His will is free in the sense that it is not controlled by any force outside of himself. As the bird with a broken wing is “free” to fly but not able, so the natural man is free to come to God but not able. How can he repent of his sin when he loves it? How can he come to God when he hates Him?
THIS is the inability of the will under which man labors. Jesus said, “And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil,” John 3:19; and again, “Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life,” John 5:40. Man‘s ruin lies mainly in his own perverse will. He cannot come because he will not. Help enough is provided if he were only willing to accept it. Paul tells us, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” Rom. 8:7.
To assume that because man has ability to love he therefore has ability to love God, is about as wise as to assume that since water has the ability to flow, it therefore has the ability to flow up hill; or to reason that because a man has power to cast himself from the top of a precipice to the bottom, he therefore has equal power to transport himself from the bottom to the top.
Fallen man sees nothing desirable in “the One who is altogether lovely, the fairest among ten thousand.” He may admire Jesus as a man, but he wants nothing to do with Him as God, and he resists the outward holy influences of the Spirit with all his power. Sin, and not righteousness, has become his natural element so that he has no desire for salvation.
Man‘s fallen nature gives rise to a most obdurate blindness, stupidity, and opposition concerning the things of God. His will is under the control of a darkened understanding which puts sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet, good for evil, and evil for good. So far as his relations with God are concerned, he wills only that which is evil, although he wills it freely. Spontaneity and enslavement actually exist together.
In other words, fallen man is so morally blind that he uniformly prefers and chooses evil instead of good, as do the fallen angels or demons. When the Christian is completely sanctified he reaches a state in which he uniformly prefers and chooses good, as do the holy angels. Both of these states are consistent with freedom and responsibility of moral agents.”
To conclude: fallen man has not a ‘free-choice’ by which He can either choose or reject God. He already made that choice in his father Adam and comes into the world ‘estranged from the womb, going astray as soon as he is born, speaking lies!” [Psalm 58:3]
And when a man does turn and sincerely seek the God of the Bible, it is not because he chose Him of his own ‘free-will’ but because GOD has had mercy on him and ‘made him willing in the day of His power!” [Psalm 110:3]
And ALL the glory shall be to God ALONE!