Thursday, October 27, 2016

Illusions of Free Will

I am firmly convinced that one of the crowning achievements of Satan's rule over mankind is the muddling of the reality of free will. We, as sinful men and women have bought into a free will lie. We have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, and thus perverted the beauty of what free will really means.

We fervently affirm the reality that we have this free ability to do whatever we desire. To seek after that which brings us joy and pleasure. We cling tightly to a reality that God desires us to be supremely happy, and that He would never interfere with that which brings us fullness of joy. And here is the good news, those truths are pretty solid. The problem comes with the twisting that has been placed in our mind on the reality of this free will... We are free to seek after joy, but we do not control the source of that joy. We are free to seek after the desires of our heart, but that which holds the place of desire in our heart is not our choice.

The heart of the natural man seeks joy and fulfillment in the realm of the natural man. Thus, our free will to seek after that which we desire is irredemptively (which may not be a real word) directed away from God. We make choices and decisions, freely, that seek after that which we think will bring us joy, peace, happiness, and they do those things, they satisfy. We used to tell the lie that these things never satisfy the longings of our heart, but I think we should stop. The heart of natural, sinful flesh, is fully satisfied in the carnal joys of fleshly living. It is not a lack of satisfaction, rather a lust for further gluttonous indulgence that perpetuates sin in the natural man. And our "free will" will never break us away from this cycle. Our will is free to seek after our desires, but our desires are not ours to determine. We are hopelessly left in a self-seeking, pleasure-drenched, slow and eternal death, seeking deeper levels of fleshly satisfaction.

But God...

After the counsel of His own will, and according to His plan, desire, and grace, God intervenes. He does not interfere with our fee will, but He replaces the sinful desires of our heart of stone and places within us a new heart of flesh. Etched into this heart is a singular, new desire: the Glory of God. This new desire begins to permeate our very being. Our free will remains unchanged, we still are free to seek that which will most satisfy the deepest longings of our heart. But the desire of our heart has been drastically changed, not by an act of our will, but by an act of Sovereign Grace that sits well outside of the scope of human ability. We find that what brings us the deepest levels of joy, peace, happiness, and satisfaction is seeking after the glory of God. Our will remains as free as it ever has been, and God desires us to use that freedom to find new, creative, beautiful ways to display His glory for the world to see. This exchange of hearts brings us to understanding, opens us to the redemption of our souls accomplished by Christ, lights in us a desire to know Him and make Him known among the nations. The will does not change, but the desire does. And we see that the satisfaction we found in our old heart, though it felt so deep before, was so pathetically ill-informed of the depth of the glory of God.

As John Piper says: "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him."

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