Scripture: Ephesians 2.1-4
Confession: Chapter 9: Free Will
1. 1In the natural order God has endued man’s will with liberty and the power to act upon choice, so that it is neither forced from without, nor by any necessity from within itself, compelled to do good or evil.
Deut. 30.19, Matt. 17.12, Jas. 1.14
2. 1In his state of innocency man had freedom and power to will and to do what was good and acceptable to God. 2Yet, being unstable, it was possible for him to fall from his uprightness.
Gen. 3.6, Eccles. 7.29.
3. 1As the consequence of his fall into a state of sin, man has lost all ability to will the performance of any of those works, spiritually good, that accompany salvation. 2As a natural (unspiritual man) he is dead in sin and altogether opposed to that which is good. 3Hence he is not able, by any strength of his own, to turn himself to God, or even to prepare himself to turn to God.
John 6.44, Rom. 5.6, 8.7, Eph. 2.1,5, Titus 3.3-5
4. 1When God converts a sinner, and brings him out of sin into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage to sin and, by grace alone, He enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good. 2Nevertheless certain corruptions remain in the sinner, so that his will is never completely and perfectly held in captivity to that which is good, but it also entertains evil.
John 8.36, Rom. 7.15,18-19,21,23, Phil. 2.13,
5. 1It is not until man enters the state of glory that he is made perfectly and immutably free to will that which is good, and that alone.
i. What do Conf. 1 and 2 tell us about Adam and Eve’s free will before the Fall?
ii. What can we learn from Conf. 3 about whether we are free to do good things?
iii. Look at Conf. 33. How does that affect our ability to have a relationship with God? Why do people find this teaching so hard to accept?
iv. Look back at Ephesians 2.1-5. How does this help us understand more fully what Conf. 3 is telling us?
v. Read Conf. 4 and Romans 7.13-25. How do these two statements help us understand why we still sin as Christians?
vi. In what ways is Conf. 5 an encouragement to us?
vii. What difference will this study make in your life this week?