B. Freedom of the free-moral:
The Bible assumes that man is a free-moral individual. There is no definition in the Bible of free-moral choice of man. It is just assumed that we would logically conclude that such is true. Free-moral choice is thus an axiomatic truth. It is a truth that does not need direct revelation to teach or necessarily be proved. It is simply a fact of life that all men have the freedom to make choices. Therefore, we do not need to quote a scripture that states, “Man is a free-moral agent.” That man is such, needs no proof according to Scripture.
Free-moral choice is true because we all exercise daily choices in an environment that allows choices to be made. Even without the Bible, we assume the free-moral agency of man. Nevertheless, the manner by which God deals with man teaches us that God created us true free-moral individuals.
Joshua exhorted Israel, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Ja 24:15). Isaiah also exhorted Israel to “choose the good” (Is 7:15). God pled with Israel to come and reason together (Is 1:18). He did not make the people righteous. He did not force them to return to His law. He allowed them the opportunity to choose their own destiny. Such exhortations in the Scriptures assume that Israel had the ability to make a choice that would affect their future and eternal destiny. The fact that God made these pleas to Israel is evidence that God allowed them to make their own choices. And the fact that God allowed them to make choices assumes that they had the freedom to do so.
In the New Testament free-moral choice is assumed even in the personal behavior of inspired men as Paul and Peter. These men were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and yet, they were allowed to make choices concerning their eternal destiny. The Spirit did not directly control their moral behavior.
- Paul exercised free-moral choice: The work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Paul can be quite interesting. Did Paul always obey the counsel of the Holy Spirit? Did he always give heed to the forewarning of the Spirit? In answer to these questions, it is necessary to understand an important point concerning God’s use of visions to direct His chosen men.
Throughout the Bible visions are mentioned in situations where God directly appeared in some way to those He wanted to give counsel or direction in ministry. We do not know exactly what transpired in a vision. It was an experience that was so real and clear that the beholder perceived that it was actually happening. It was an almost real appearance that the one who beheld the vision received a moving picture from God concerning the future.
However, understanding what a vision was is not the point. The point is that a vision was given in view of the free-moral choice of the one to whom it was given. The beholder saw the vision, but he was allowed the opportunity to make a choice as to whether to obey the vision.
Visions were not subjective experiences. They did not take control of the individual. In other words, the fact that God gave the vision is evidence that He allowed the beholder to make a choice concerning obedience to the instructions of the vision. Examples of this fact are seen in the life of Paul.
[Next in series: May 13]