You will commonly hear someone claim that God has given us "free will," whatever that means, and will not, therefore, make anyone love Him. What you will never hear is any Scripture cited to maintain that series of propositions, because they are the premises of humanism, not biblical Christianity.
instead, we see the Bible make assertions such as this one (Psalm 119:49): "Remember Your word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope." "Made me hope" certainly sounds like plain speech for overcoming the author's "free will." And furthermore, it is an expression of thankfulness for that act.
Why might that be?
Someone who knows God and the Scriptures knows that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick" (Jeremiah 17:9). The significance of that is that "none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God" (Romans 3:10-11). Here is the problem with the humanistic concept of free will. "Free" doesn't mean "able to do anything possible." Rather, it means "free to act according to its nature." Since the heart is naturally wicked, it is free to commit wickedness. Since spiritual good is contrary to its nature, the unregenerate heart can no more freely choose to do it than it can freely choose to fly.
That is what makes the Psalmist glad of God's sovereign grace. While God could have left him in unbelief, with the spiritual consequences thereof (John 3:18), He chose, instead, to change the heart of His people. He chose to change our wicked hearts into hearts capable of good (Deuteronomy 30:6, Ezekiel 36:26-27). Then He bends our will to obedience and good works (Philippians 2:13).
The argument between Calvinists and Arminians over free will is not really over whether anyone can or cannot be saved by free will. Really, considering what the Bible says about the heart, the debate is between the Calvinistic view that salvation is certain for the elect, and the Arminian view which logically requires that salvation is impossible for anyone!
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