1 Jan 2002

Free will and surrendering

Submitted by theshovel
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Hi Jim, The following is what a friend shared with me regarding some questions I had asked him. What I'm wondering about is, where and how do you see our free will being or not being a part of this on-going relationship with Him? Love, R

Here we are again in the wild and wacky world of free will. Yes, grace is unmerited favor. But, we still must surrender (make a decision) to the Father's use of grace (and everything else). Grace is not putting our lives in automatic and letting it happen. If you do this you will either (a) be making choices you disavow or (b) go nowhere. I wish people would not try to make grace a matter of all or nothing. The Father asks us to walk with Him - not sit around and wait till he gets back. Sometimes I think we are still trying to "out grace" or "out spiritualize" each other (I follow Paul, I follow Christ, etc.). Paul wasn't fooled by this and I hope we wont be either. Grace is not a race to see who can do the least. We can do whatever we find to do as long as we are surrendered. I see it as grace is what God is working from His end and surrender is what we are working on our end. Surrender is not (as I see it) "a work." Surrender is a decision. The real problem here may be that there are only so many verbs in the English language. I refuse to throw out "to do" so as not to offend a fanatical concept of grace. We must make the decision to surrender - and make it every day - many times a day - in every situation.

Hello my friend R,

My, my, how we seem to hold to this most sacred doctrine known as Free Will, as if everything — including God and man — revolves around it. When are you going to realize that this thing is the same old ILLUSION by which the world's principles are based? Yes, what we call free will is nothing more than the false belief that we are ultimately in control of ourselves and of our lives! It is in contrast to true freedom by which we have been brought to live in newness of life — and this miraculous reality is a matter of FACT in Christ. The Father did not ASK us to walk with Him; He has MADE us to walk with Him!

If grace is NOT a matter of all or nothing then it is NOT grace. Doesn't this sound rather like a very famous Bible verse? If I don't make it a matter of all or nothing then I am not preaching Christ, but instead a mixture of God's doing and my free will doing. Call it surrender or call it anything else, but this concept that we can decide ourselves into a grace-walk is as foreign as foreign can be to the reality of Christ.

I've heard these objections so many times, and I have to say that it amazes me to hear the same worn out straw-man tactics being thrown up in such ignorance. I mean, what is this ridiculous assertion that waiting on God's promises ever meant sitting around and doing nothing? NO ONE can sit around and do NOTHING — it is just a bogus objection. Who does this? Who?

The reality of our waiting in Christ ought not to be so easily dismissed by our fears that we will amount to nothing for God unless we make a habit of surrendering. It is the lie of the deceiver that insists Christ in us does nothing. It is no surprise to me that the reality of living in true freedom finds no place within that kind of desperate belief. Read it again, the freedom is not there. Instead, there is an underlying fear that unless I do it, it won't be done. If that's not the wisdom of the world, then nothing is.

Grace: a race to see who can do the least? Geez, this is pathetic, give me a break! As I am one of the most obnoxious voices of this grace I can tell — and you know it is true — that this bogus assertion is total BS! I'll tell you just like Paul did that I do more than most, but I know where it comes from, for I do it under this delusion I hold to regarding this so-called sit around and wait till he gets back kind of grace! If you think I'm doing this to out-grace or out-spiritualize anyone, then you'll have to hold to it knowing what you really do know about me.

Making choices — who ever said we don't make choices? I think the last time you asked me about this I said the same thing. We make choices at every turn: both believers and unbelievers. I make choices all the time — some of them rather stupid choices, I must say. The world distinguishes the value of a man's life and worth according to what he chooses. I will not disavow the choices I make, but I will not make them into the idols the world has made of them. The difference made by Christ is that we have been made alive and we do choose Him. Making the choosing into a requirement by which we need to live our lives only causes a fleshly reaction either of obeying and using it as the performance distinction, or of failing to perform. There's law for you.

I've repeated my determination to know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified so many times that it cannot be missed. Have you ever noticed that this determination, this decision is the total anti-thesis of every worldly-based decision? It stands upon the miraculous reality of Christ among all in Christ as being the reality of their lives as well — even if they are sitting around and doing nothing.

I write this to you in all sincerity and a deep love for you, even though it may sound very harsh. I watch you and have seen so many of your struggles and know full well that so many of them revolve around your sense of need for this free will concept. It is not your friend.

Love, Jim

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