Saved by Grace Alone or Saved by Grace Plus Free Will?
You cannot consistently assert that we are saved by “grace alone” and then in the same breath declare that the natural man has a free will to come to Christ (John 6:65). Man needs salvation precisely because his will is in bondage to sin. And that which is in bondage is not free. For the need for grace does away with free will altogether. Its not Christ plus our good will that saves us but Christ alone who grants us everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe.
Visitor: What is salvation?
Response: The short answer is salvation is deliverance from God’s wrath and salvation from sin….Saved from the just consequences of our rebellion against God, it was accomplished when God took those consequences upon Himself when Jesus was nailed to the cross.The wrath of God abides on all men apart from the grace of Jesus Christ, who alone lived the life we should have lived and died the death we justly deserve.
Visitor: Okay, what is free will?
Response: Free will is something that exists only in people’s imagination. Fallen man does not have a free will. He is NOT able NOT to sin. All people except Jesus Christ have broken God’s law and have sinned. Therefore none can save themselves or lift a finger toward their own salvation. God must intervene if man is to have any hope at all. And He has done is in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Visitor: How does a person know if they are saved then?
Response: By grace you look to Christ’s Righteousness and not your own. The Scriptures indicate that we are saved if the Word of God has come in divine power into our soul such that our self-complacency is shattered and our self-righteousness is renounced. Second, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, God reveals to us the sufficiency of Jesus Christ alone to meet our desperate case and by a divinely given faith causes us to lay hold of and rest upon Him as our only hope. Fourth, when the Spirit changes our heart He gives us a love for God, a love for His word and an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. This does not mean that you are sinless, but that you desire to obey Christ and feel anguish when you disobey Him. (A.W. Pink)
Visitor: What if I’ve felt this my whole life?
Response: Then it is likely that the Holy Spirit opened your heart to the gospel at an early age.
“…he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is “Alpha and Omega” in the salvation of men. – C. H. Spurgeon (Free Will, a Slave)
“In vain people busy themselves with finding any good of man’s own in his will. For any mixture of the power of free will that men strive to mingle with God’s grace is nothing but a corruption of grace. It is just as if one were to dilute wine with muddy, bitter water. But even if there is something good in the will, it comes from the pure prompting of the Spirit.” -John Calvin, Institutes