Freewill: The Biblical Position

Jason Osborne

Cover image for the blog, Freewill The Biblical Position

Table of Contents

The Erred View of Free Will

The modern and most accepted idea of free will is most commonly associated with the system of beliefs called Arminianism, which attempts to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility within salvation. Cultivated by Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian and pastor in Amsterdam, his theology is commonly known for its counter-arguments against the theology of John Calvin. 

Arminius’s teachings sparked a controversy, and some began to accuse him of being a Pelagian, a charge he denied. Pelagianism is the belief that man, in his natural state, can freely choose good (God) over evil. Arminius’s teachings were compared to Pelagianism because of his emphasis on man’s free will. Arminius and his adherents believe that a man has the power of free will to either refuse or accept regeneration, i.e., that man can make choices that advance him toward or away from his possible reconciliation with God. 

This article intends to make evident the error of this idea of free will and to show using God’s word how it should be understood appropriately (2 Timothy 4:2, Jude 1:3). Going through four successions; hopefully, the eyes of your mind will be enlightened on how freedom of the will, once lost, will be re-established by God’s work in redemption. May God bless you!

Understanding the Will in Creation

In the beginning, all that God created was deemed by Him as not only good but very good (Genesis 1:31). A part of the meaning behind “good” implies without sin. God is Holy (Isaiah 6:3) and Righteous (Revelation 15:4); therefore, God can’t create something sinful. Man is unique from all other creations because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27-28). After being created by Him, there was peaceful communion with our Creator. 

God entered into a covenant with His creation in the Garden of Eden. This is called the Edenic covenant, also known as the covenant of works. Within this covenant, God gave mankind responsibilities like working and tending the garden (Genesis 2:15), dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26), and the blessing to procreate (Genesis 1:28). God also gave them the freedom to eat whatever tree was in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Not that mankind was limited by God from eating it, but as a warning to not eat it. This command He gave to them would result, however, in disobedience (sin) against Him, bringing a curse (death) upon humanity (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). 

Man’s will before this act of disobedience was not affected in thought, word, or deed by sin. Before “the fall,” man was innocent (free from sin), meaning his will was not hindered by it. Mankind, at this point, was able to choose between obeying (remembering what God had said) or disregarding Him (rebelling). Though the serpent deceived Eve, she is still accountable for her choice (sin) and Adam, even though he wasn’t the one deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam is responsible because God told him directly what not to do. He set aside what God said and followed his wife in eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6-7). Distrusting God (sin) is the reason why the will of man is no longer free but in bondage. This is the proper understanding of how humanity’s will should be defined after creation but before the fall. The freedom of man’s will was lost when the choice was made to disobey God.   

The Fall’s Effect on Man’s Will

After the fall, the relationship between God and humanity changed. Man became sinful, i.e., inherited a sinful nature which resulted in death, not only physically but of most importance spiritually (Romans 5:12). The consequence of sin brought separation of us from our Creator (Isaiah 59:2), whose nature is without sin (1 John 3:5) and is the source of life (Numbers 27:16). Sin upon mankind has brought them into hostility with God (Romans 8:7-8), in a position of condemnation before Him (Romans 5:18), and as captives to satan are held in bondage with no hope in and of themselves to escape, i.e., to be freed (Isaiah 61:1). Blinded by this deception (2 Corinthians 4:4), the will of man, being influenced by satan (John 8:44) and his kingdom now chooses willingly to love what is evil and hate what is truly good (God). 

As this is the inherited nature of all humans that stems from the loins of Adam, no human can choose something contrary to what their heart desires apart from God’s sovereign intervention. Man in disobedience to God now bears the image of the “man of dust” (1 Corinthians 15:48), is called “sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). Outside of God’s mercy and grace, every person born into this world is a slave to sin, chasing after the desires and lusts of the flesh, and lives in opposition to Him. 

All this being biblically accurate, how then can man freely choose God? The biblical position is that a sinful man can not choose God unless God first chooses him (Jeremiah 1:5, John 15:16, Ephesians 2:4-5). The Bible says that we all have gone astray, and none seek God (Romans 3:10-12). As such, humanity is blinded by satan’s deception, i.e., in darkness, and is influenced under satan’s captivity to carry out his desires (his nature).

The Will of Man After Salvation

At the moment of salvation, the sinner is freed from the condemnation (everlasting punishment) given for rebellion against God (Romans 8:1-2) as well as the power of sin (sinful nature), which held them as slaves. Once God awakens the rebel’s spirit to the truth, the sinner, seeing God’s glory, freely chooses Him without hindrance or coercion. This is the posture of the sinner when they understand the Gospel, which leads them to plead to God for His mercy (Luke 18:9-14). This freedom (salvation), as it pertains to bondage from sin, does not mean they will no longer have struggles and failures (Romans 7:14-25). Instead, after conversion, the life of sanctification will be a continuing process where the Holy Spirit will liberate them more and more from strongholds that still dwell within their flesh (1 Peter 1:2). 

Jesus, God incarnate (John 1:14), is the only way in which salvation is made possible (Acts 4:12). Because of Him, there is the offering of mercy and grace (reconciliation to God). Mercy from the Father, not receiving the justice (wrath of God) that is deserved for our sins (Romans 6:23), but instead, because of Jesus’ accomplished work (John 19:30), a great exchange takes place for those who believe in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the perfect payment (righteous offering) made for the sinner to His Father that satisfies His wrath (1 John 4:10) and brings them into right standing before God (Romans 5:9). This is the grace (undeserved and unmerited favor) given from the Father by His Spirit to the sinner (Ephesians 2:8), receiving in exchange a righteousness not of their own, but that of Christ. A blameless stance before God that cannot be earned or added to, but that is given as a gift upon hearing and believing the Gospel (Romans 5:15). Once an enslaved person to sin and an enemy of God (James 4:4), now His child (John 1:12) and a slave to righteousness, bought with the precious life of Christ (Revelation 5:9) and sealed in Him by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). 

Complete Freedom of the Will in Eternity

Immediately freed from the power (sinful nature) and penalty (condemnation) of sin upon faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22-26), there is a further fulfillment of this freedom in Christ at the end of this current age that awaits all who believe. At the return of Jesus, the consummation of salvation will be completed (Revelation 19:6-9). At this time, God will do away with the presence of sin forever (that which remains in the flesh and all creation). This means that satan and his kingdom, sin, and its corruption will be no more. All this, including those who continued in evil, will be cast into the “lake of fire” (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 21:8). 

This is also when all believers in Christ will be glorified (1 Corinthians 15:50-55). The body of sin, which is still dwelt in after being made alive in Christ (spiritual rebirth), is now replaced with an imperishable body (sinless) equipped for an eternity with God. When this takes place, this will be when every believer is truly free of sin (freedom of the will). One promise given to all who share in this coming endless age is that they will never again experience evil (Revelation 21:4). Not only His elect (true Church) but also the new heavens and earth will be free of sin (2 Peter 3:13). God will dwell among His people (Revelation 21:3). No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and His children will worship him forever.


We all deserve justice for our choices (sins) made against our Creator (Romans 6:23). The Triune God created us in righteousness in the beginning (Genesis 1:31), but we all have sinned (Romans 3:23). No one can say, “That’s not fair!” because everyone has chosen freely according to their desires (Ephesians 2:3). The desires of mankind are sinful by nature and because God’s nature is without sin, i.e. perfect, He must by His perfect nature punish sinners for their transgressions (Acts 17:30-31). But praise be to God that He is merciful (Ephesians 2:4)! The Father has given His Word, Jesus Christ, as an atonement for transgressions (Romans 3:25). Jesus is the Savior provided by God who completely takes away our sin (1 Peter 2:24). He came born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:27), i.e. born without a sinful nature. If He had been born the natural way, then Jesus would have inherited the sinful nature that all humanity possesses. Instead, Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, born without sin (Luke 1:35). He was tried and tempted in every way, just like us, and never failed (Hebrew 4:15). 

God gave us His law so that we could be made aware of our sinfulness (Romans 5:20). The law, though good, holy, and righteous (Romans 7:12), cannot save us. It only reveals our position before God, which is guilty (condemnation). Jesus satisfied the demands of the law, i.e., He fulfilled all righteousness so that as a result of His perfection, the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us (Romans 8:3-4). Then, when the time had come, He voluntarily laid down His life (John 10:11,17-18) as a sacrifice for sins, offering His sinless body to the Father (1 Peter 1:18-19). 

Jesus, the Lamb of God, offering satisfied the Father’s wrath (Romans 5:8-9), i.e. Christ’s crucifixion is the once for all sacrifice that atones for the sinner’s unrighteousness (Hebrews 7:27). Right before He gave up His spirit Jesus declared, “It is finished!” meaning everything that had to be done so that salvation could be given, He accomplished (John 19:30). After His death, He was taken down from the cross and placed in the grave (John 19:40-42). On the third day, he was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)! This is proof that Jesus is who He says! He is God, and His death is the pleasing sacrifice that frees us from the curse of death (Galatians 3:13). His resurrected life (victory over sin and death) is promised to all who believe in the Gospel message (John 11:25-26). 

This is that message! Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15)! He sits at the right hand of the Father, and He ever lives making intercession for those who love Him (Romans 8:34). God’s love for His creation is seen at the cross (John 3:16). Christ died so that you may live! Repent and believe in Jesus (Mark 1:15)! Confess your sins to God (Acts 20:21), trust in Christ to set you free (John 8:36), and the promise of everlasting life is yours (1 John 5:11)!

Our Freewill Gospel Tract

Order our brochure, which is designed for the purpose of empowering believers to share the gospel message, engage in evangelism, and gain a better understanding of free will according to scripture alone. As a Christian, it’s crucial to grasp the concept of free will and how it relates to the Gospel message. Additionally, it’s important to comprehend humanity’s position in relation to God because of sin. These fundamental doctrines of Creation, Humanity, Salvation, and Eternity are explained in this brochure, shedding light on Scripture’s teachings. We aim to equip Christians with the knowledge and understanding to engage in meaningful conversations and effectively challenge false teachings that could lead to heretical beliefs. The brochure intends to communicate and apply these concepts effectively. It is a common misunderstanding that we have complete free will, but this can lead to dangerous false beliefs, as evidenced by the many heretical teachings throughout church history. We ask for your help in sharing this information with anyone who believes they can choose to follow God on their own or who thinks they have the ability always to choose good over evil. Thank you for supporting our ministry. Check out the link below:

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