"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Questions on the Abrahamic Covenant | Main | False Prophecies of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society »

    "I Don't Want Free Will" by Martin Luther

    luther23.jpg"I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want "free-will" to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground ; but because even were there no dangers. I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success.¦ But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1957), 313-314.

    Posted by John on February 18, 2011 04:06 PM


    Amen and AMEN!!

    wonderful message.

    Praise God!

    Amen! One of my favorite passages from "The Bondage of the Will".

    So eloquently put!!!


    I disagree. I believe God teaches very clearly man is given an amount of faith, through His grace, necessary to save but man must accept it. Man is either free to reject God's grace or man is simply a puppet in a great celestial play. God says He does not want anyone to perish - and yet He chooses not to save all. What??!! Truly a contradiction! And God does not contradict Himself. God's grace and our free will: thank you, Father, for your grace - without it, I would have never believed in Jesus!

    Hi Jim,

    I have a few questions.

    If God gives man faith to accept His salvation, would it still be merited to the man's own free will for accepting it? Remember that in order for free will to fit its own definition, there cannot be any external factors to persuade or coerce the decision.

    If God says He does not want anyone to perish, does that mean that God will save everyone? Is it possible for Him to desire one thing yet ordain another? God's ways are not our ways.

    "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13



    "I believe God teaches very clearly man is given an amount of faith, through His grace, necessary to save but man must accept it."

    Could Judas by using his free will have changed Scripture that said he would betray Christ (John 13:18, Acts 1:16)?

    Why did Jesus only pray for Peter that his faith fail not (Luk 22:32), and not for Judas too?

    If God is not willing for any to perish, than, by all means, this would lead to Universalism. Proverbs 16:4 says He has created all things, even the wicked for destruction. The context of the verse you quoted, Peter is writing to Believers, not unbelievers. Jesus said, "No man can come to me unless the Father draw Him." He said, All that the Father gives to me will come to me." So, if they don't come and it is clear from Revelation that they don't all come because not all were written in the Lambs' Book of Life. Lastly in the High Priestly prayer in John 17, he doesn't pray for all, but for those whom are His sheep.

    Even your faith is a gift according to Ephesians 2, we in our sinful hell bent shape were not able to love God or rather choose him for that matter first, We loved Him because He FIRST loved us.

    His grace drew us to Him, appealed us to Him, even then He was at work by His grace pulling our hearts toward him and in grace were we able to accept through faith, that He was actively working in our hearts because of the grace He showed us.

    and His DESIRE, yes would be for all to know Him because He is the ultimate treasure, the highest Joy, the greatest satisfaction, yet not all will come to know Him, He knows this, He created each one person individually, some will come to the Father through the Son becoming sons of righteousness, others will remain sons of disobedience stuck in there Hell bent state living for themselves, He sees this in His divine foreknowledge

    Finally we must remember who God is and who we are. We mere humans were created from dust, creatures of the Almighty Creator, who are we to question the ALMIGHTY GOD.....I pray we always recognize God in His HOLY state and us in our lowly state.

    Praise the Lord for His grace indeed! Had he not gone after me, I would never have known Him..

    Also the reference to John 1, He is speaking of the NEW Israel, God is no longer the God just to the Jews but to all who will come to know Him through his Son. His salvation is now not only for Jews but for non-Jews, Greeks and gentiles, me being a non Jew this is GREAT news! We were born not of Abraham and his legitimate blood lineage but take part in that lineage through faith in Christ Jesus, the promise given to Abraham because of faith, through Abraham and "offspring" meaning Christ where Gods people will come from.

    (Romans 9, Ephesians 1&2, Galatians, John 10, John 17)

    I See the Humility in the Martin Luther's Voice there . John the Baptist said " whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie" But God chose Him to Baptise Jesus & Prepare His ministry . Jeremaih Said " am only a child " But God chose him to stand against a Country .Many Godly saints possess humble attitude , not wise in their own eyes . They measured themselves with the plumbline of God .

    Apostle peter said " the ignorant and unstable twist scripture to their own destruction"

    It is important to see the writer spirit in the words not just the surface meaning : Luthers true discipleship, cross-carrying, self-denial,separation from the world , crucifixion of the flesh,holy living,nobility of character,a despising of the world’s treasures,hard self-discipline,love for God, To total committal to Christ - has said these words " I dont want Free will" Let God be Glorified , He is my driving force & devine life .

    Many Deceiving spirits & false doctrines after Satans proud heart forgets our human responsibility " to walk worthy of God "

    Gods grace doesnot remove our responsibility & plain duty to Serve & Love Him With all our Heart , Mind ,Body & Soul .

    Martin Luther was given a gift of biblical clarification, which is why he was so hated by the Catholic church back then, and the modern American church today which loves to muddy the clear waters of Scripture.

    As a corollary to this quote by Luther, which I also whole-heartedly agree with, I would also add this quote (also from "The Bondage Of The Will".

    Luther writes, "If I know not how much I can do myself, or how far my ability extends, or what I can do God-ward, I shall be equally uncertain and ignorant of how much God is to do, how far His ability is to extend and what He is to toward me; Whereas "It is God who works all in all" (1 Cor 12:6). But if I do not know the distinction between our working and the power of God, I know not God Himself. I cannot worship Him, praise Him, give thanks nor serve Him. For I shall not know how much to ascribe to myself and how much unto God. It is necessary therefore, to hold the most certain distinction between the power of God (and His grace) and our power, between His working and our working if we would live in His fear" - Martin Luther "The Bondage Of The Will" (pg 31).

    How true and insightful!!!

    The idea, so prevalent among those who sincerely (yet erroneously) hold to free-will, rather than free-grace, that God's grace is merely an arrow pointing in the direction we are to go, but our will alone is the rudder which turns the ship, miss the obvious: God's grace does more than "nudge" or "point". It empowers and predisposes.

    Scripture says of Lydia, a woman who was ALREADY a "worshipper of God", that "God OPENED her heart to heed the message Paul spoke" (Acts 16: 14). Now WHY did God do this? WHY was it needed? Could Lydia have believed without it? Was God's PURPOSE in so "opening her heart"? Was it to give merely the potential for faith in and acceptance of the message? Or was it to bring about actual acceptanc of it? Does God stretch out His hand to do something, yet fail to accomplish it? (See Isa 14: 27; Dan 4: 35).

    Apollos, we're told, "was of great help to those who BY GRACE believed" (Acts 18:27). Luke does not here state they believed IN or ABOUT grace. Luke says they believed BY grace. There is a huge difference in here. Paul said "Faith -is NOT of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph 2: 8-9). Jesus was confident that all to whom the Father granted the understanding and grace to believe in Him WOULD come to Him in faith -"ALL those the Father gives Me WILL come to Me" (Jn 6: 37); and again, "Everyone who has learned (lit. UNDERSTOOD) from the Father comes to Me" (Jn 6: 45).

    Jesus did not know of the idea of someone being truly enlightened by the Father, who would not also thereby truly, willingly come to Him.

    The idea that a person can BELIEVE the gospel without coming to Christ, or still rejecting Christ is a profound oxymoron. By definition a "believer" is someone who BELIEVES! So when some people claim we as sovereign-grace adherents believe a contradiction, well, they should take a look in the mirror. To say a Believer can still reject Jesus is to affirm a mutually incompatible and utterly incongruent idea. For a "believer" is someone who BELIEVES! A "contradiction"? wow, if ever there was one!

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