Questions & Answers
Without free will we would all be robots
Even "in Christ" i see a free will. Otherwise we would just all be robots in Christ. Dave
In Christ is the only true "free" will, any other is only imagined as being free. The whole "robots" argument only makes sense when forcing the life of Christ into the mold of man's wisdom.
Are you a Star Trek fan? If so, you'll be familiar with the Borg Collective; if not, I'll summarize. The Borg is a single-minded community of assimilated beings from every humanoid form imaginable. The first introduction came with the following transmission: "This is the Borg Collective. Prepare to be assimilated. We will add your biological and technological distinctive to our own. You will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile." The Borg became the greatest threat to every humanoid in the galaxy as they stole their wills and forced them to serve the collective. It hit me a few years ago that the Borg Collective was probably modeled after the flesh's reaction to Christ as being the greatest enemy to humanity. Let's face it, when really examined according to human wisdom, union in Christ is truly the monster as feared in the Borg, for it crosses all lines in its "assimilation". In truth, the real monster is any religion of man that presents itself as the greater will that must subdue lesser wills.
The reality of Christ is not a contest of wills where one must give into the other. In truth, the will of man has already given into deception, and as such has had its will forced into bondage. If anything, Christ has come to free this imprisoned will, not to subdue it. When we are living in freedom it's amazing how this contest of wills begins to fall away into a non-issue, but when we listen to the old voice of deception (as found in the preaching of the law) we begin to imagine that our wills are the axis upon which freedom must turn.
I know you're just trying to figure out how to harmonize the different verses and teachings into what you're learning about life in Christ, but make sure to challenge some of the basic tenets upon which those verses or teachings have been presented. The verse you brought up, John 6:28-29, is a perfect example.
Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."John 6:28-29
Because we've imagined faith/believing to be a necessary requirement for salvation (whether we hold to faith alone or faith plus) it makes sense to us that Jesus was actually answering their question at what we perceive to be face value. It was fleshly reasoning by which they asked, but it was spiritual wisdom by which he answered.
According to contemporary "grace" wisdom that thinks it has found a rock-solid verse to prove its faith-in-Christ-plus-nothing formula, the scenario goes like this. They ask what they must do, Jesus tells them the one thing that is supremely easy to do. People either rejoice from relief because believing is so easy, or they react in opposition by adding something to the one and only thing necessary. Funny thing is that the reaction to Jesus' statement in John 6 doesn't even come close to all our scenarios based upon the oft-quoted John 6:29 verse. The people listening to Jesus didn't say anything at all about either the ease of believing nor did they react with some kind of additional thing necessary to do in order to be saved. Their reaction was plain and simple rejection of Jesus as being worthy of being believed.
The point is that Jesus was not telling them about any requirement for salvation, not even believing as being the only one. The whole thing revolved around the recent work of God in miraculously providing the bread, a thing they were hoping they could keep going by some means. And they were thinking that maybe Jesus was giving them the secret formula. So they ask their question ... and Jesus gave his answer ... and they were not happy with what they heard. Jesus did not tell them that the work of God they could do was to believe, but that the work of God they had witnessed in the bread and fish feast was so they would believe he was the one God sent.
In case you don't see the distinction, let me summarize: The one says believing in Jesus is the one thing you must do, the other says God's work validated Jesus as being the life of God before those who saw it. But they obviously did not "see" the true miracle, because they immediately wanted to know what work or what sign Jesus would perform in order for them to believe HIM ... because they THOUGHT they knew who he was according to the flesh.