So I posed the question in the title, so let’s discuss, is Jesus a liar? Let me put it another way, who is the liar, us or Jesus? Ok, more specifically, do we have free will, or is Jesus a liar? Some of you just became very angry, but today I am going to get on my soap box about the issue of free will. Please read the entire blog before you shoot me, I can hear you loading. Free will, that oh so popular belief that we as humans are free to choose whatever we wish. God created us, put us on earth and told us to choose. Many who believe in free will say that man is free to choose to do good or evil. We can pick, we can be the good guy or the bad guy. We can do right or wrong, right? Well, Jesus says “no one is good except God”. If we look in Luke 18:18, Jesus says it. In Matthew 19 He says not to ask Him about WHAT is good, only God is good. So, Jesus said “nope, no one good but God, not you.”
I know what you are saying, surely Jesus didn’t mean that NO one is good, just that guy, right? After all, that guy Jesus was talking to was arrogant and sort of a jerk. So, was Jesus lying to the guy? He said “no one is good”, so does that mean that we can choose to be good, but Jesus lied to make a point? Free will says I can be good, so who is lying? Jesus or free will?
Maybe Jesus was talking about us being right with God, and no one can do that apart from Jesus, but we can still do good things right? We can still choose to make the right choices, right? In Romans 3, Paul says no, one one chooses good. Well, maybe Paul just means that no one does good ALL the time, and we still do good sometimes, right? What about our good deeds. Paul calls those filthy rags, but that just means we can’t earn salvation, right? We can still choose to do good, and ultimately we can choose God. Right? Maybe Paul was lying too. Maybe they just don’t understand free will.
Am I being a little sarcastic? Ya, I am, I know it’s bad and I’m sorry. Let me tell you why I struggle so much with free will and why I think it’s the most deceptive tool Satan has come up with since he gave a lady of piece of fruit. Free will has it’s roots in the enlightenment, the same starting point as psychoanalysis. You know the names form school, guys like BF Skinner and Pavlov and his drooling dog. There is one guy named Abraham Maslow who came up with a pyramid thing called the Hierarchy of Needs. The theory was simple, people want to be the best they can be and obtain their highest potential and level of good, called Self Actualization. The only thing that stops them is needs, either felt or perceived needs. If they are hungry, they may steal. If they feel unsafe, they might lie. If their self esteem is low, they will do bad things. If a child is ignored, they will act out for attention.
As a result, we stopped having “losers” and we stopped grading tests, we don’t spank anymore. We have a host of social services life welfare, because if people have their needs met, they will achieve more, or so the theory goes. If we meet the qualifications in the hierarchy of needs, people will do the right things. Ultimately man has the ability to choose to do the right thing, as long as he is not pressured to do the wrong thing.
Secular Humanists have taught us that man is the highest of all creatures, that nothing forces us to do anything, and we have, of course, free will. Satan whispers “you can choose to be like God, you have free will and you can be good if you’d like”. Now the Bible calls us slaves. We are either slaves to sin or to Christ, compelled by the flesh or by the Spirit. We are not free to choose, but we convince ourselves we are free, more than that, we choose to think we are free to do good. See what I did there? Sorry.
The rich young ruler, he probably thought he was free to choose and that he chose to do all the right things. He made the right choices and now he and God were good. In the end, we are not free, and our wills are not free. They are bound and we are bound and wrapped in feeble and weak flesh. Most of our choices that we think we are making freely are made because we are selfish and ego driven. Most of our fight to maintain our free will is driven by the fact we are ego driven and want to keep the ability to call our own shots.
Why do I say this is a trap? Scores of people believe they are free to do good and will be in Heaven when they die because they are a good person. They have equated sin to something they did on accident when they weren’t looking, but they said they were sorry and it’s ok. They are free to do the right thing. It’s a lie, you aren’t free, and as a believer you wouldn’t want to be. If you are free and have free will, you are not under control of the Holy Spirit. Having free will is direct disobedience to be controlled by the Spirit. Of course, if you are not controlled by the Spirit, you go right back to be driven by the flesh.
Yes, this has salvation implications, no I have no desire to start another C vs T battle (which will probably happen anyway) but we have to stop saying things like “God gives you free will because He doesn’t want you to be a robot”. We are not even free enough to realize that we have simply created two extreme categories, neither which are accurate. We are not robots, we are sinful humans controlled by selfish flesh until Christ sets us free. We must be set free from sin to have the freedom to be controlled by the Spirit.
In finishing up, I do want to say, and please listen WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE CHOICES. I grow weary of the extremes that either we can do whatever we want or we are total robots. We can choose to wear a red or blue shirt. We are free to eat steak or fish or chicken. We are free to do a lot of things, but those choices are still subject to the bondage of our flesh. In our flesh, we cannot do good. Good as God defines it, not good as society defines it. Society does good things because it makes them feel good, thus making good things done for selfish reasons. I digress, let’s make sure we don’t set out to make a liar out of Jesus and Paul and . . .well God since He wrote the book in the first place. You are now free to comment.