This is the first part of the series on the Human Will I want to write about. Read the introduction (my previous post) to know why I'm writing about this topic and where my inspiration comes from.
1. The Nature of the Human Will
When the will is acting it means that it has a choice between a positive and a negative or if not there is an inclination towards one rather than the other. Which means that something causes or influences it to choose. This leads to the fact that the will isn't sovereign. A few might say that they can turn their eyes' attention to the right or left and their minds would be indifferent of which they do. That's a contradiction, because it supposes that they can choose one thing in preference to another while being in a state of indifference. Maybe the mind and even the will was indifferent up until it came to have a preference. When indifference disappeared, choice was made.
Indifference --> influence --> preference --> choice --> act
That which influences the will is that which causes it to take a choice. And what is the influence? It's the strongest motive power, which can vary. It can be the voice of one's conscience, the logic of reason, the whisper of the tempter, power of the Holy Spirit, etc. It's the motive power that presents itself strongest and has the greatest influence on the individual. This propels the will to act. It can be said that the will is controlled by the mind.
Let us look at an example: Matthew 4:1 and Mark 1:12 "Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the devil." and "Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness." That Jesus was "compelled" means it was by a forcefully motive so that it couldn't be resisted or declined. That He was "led" implies His freedom in going. Putting both together would look like: "He was compelled, with a voluntary condescension thereto". This explains the freedom of man's will and the triumphant efficiency of God's grace UNITED together. A sinner might be "compelled" and yet "come" to Christ:
- the "compelling" presenting to him the irresistible motive
- the "coming" signifying the response of his will.
This proves that it isn't the will that leads the man, but it's the heart, which is the core of our being. That's why we read: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do/ for from it flow the springs of life" (Prov. 4:23). "For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, etc. (Mark 7:21). "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away" (Matt. 15:8). Here are some questions:
1. 1. Where's the source of all the above? --> the heart, not the will.
1.2. Why is it important to know this? Imagine a person before whom two alternatives are put and he has to choose. He will choose which is most agreeable to himself, to his heart, his innermost core of his being.
1.3. Why does the sinner choose sin? It's because he prefers it, though of course he doesn't enjoy the effects of such a choice.
1.4. Why does he prefer it? It's because his heart is sinful and corrupt. He will not come to Christ, because he doesn't want to. He doesn't want to because his heart hates Him and loves sin (Jeremiah 17:9).
Looking at the Christian now, who chooses and yearns for a life of righteousness and virtue, we can see that he has been given a new heart/ a new nature by God.
As in the previous post, there would be a few of you who might say: Does not the Bible appeal to the will of man? "Let the thirsty ones come- anyone who wants to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge" (Rev. 22:17). "You refuse to come to Me so that I can give you this eternal life" (John 5:40). The answer to these is that the appeal is not always made to man's will, because other of his faculties are also addressed, like "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." "Hear and your soul shall live." "Look unto Me and be saved". "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." "Come now and let us reason together" "with the heart man believes unto righteousness", etc.
Further on I will write in my next post about the bondage of the human will. So stay tuned, because we're not done with this topic.