[b]THE FREE WILL OF MAN[/b]
The most common used word in the Greek New Testament for the will of man, that I have found, is thelo ethelo which is to determine, choose, prefer, desire, wish, incline, will, delight in, intent, or love.
This helps to understand with better light some very intriguing passages.
[b]Here are a few:[/b]
[b]Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34[/b] - O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would [thelo ethelo] I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would [thelo ethelo] not!
Here we have insight into the heart of God. It was His will for Jerusalem to come unto Him, but Jerusalem did not want to come. We see the conflict between the will of God and the will of man. Gods will is that people voluntarily come unto Him for grace (Rev 22:17). He wants to protect them from sin and its consequences (2Peter 3:9), and have a loving relationship with them (John 7:3, Php 3:8). But man is choosing sin over God (John 3:19), not submitting their own will to the will of God (Matt 6:24, John 7:17), and this leaves Gods will unfulfilled (1John 5:19), Gods heart broken (Gen 6:5, Eph 4:3), and the souls of men in peril! (1Corinthians 6:9-10)
[b]Matthew 22:3 [/b]- And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding and they would [thelo ethelo] not come.
Here we see the will of man rejecting the invitations of God. God is calling all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) because He doesnt want them to perish (2Peter 3:9). The Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, (John 6:18) trying to draw all men unto God (John 12:32). The revealing of the truth by the Spirit to the mind is irresistible, the intellect is under the law of necessity (Acts 6:10).But the grace of God is not irresistible, but just as though who stoned Stephen, many men always resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) because the will is under the law of liberty. The grace of God is the most resisted thing in the whole universe (1John 5:19). Mans will is rejecting Gods will, even Gods will for their own salvation (John 3:16-19).
[b]Luke 19:27[/b] - But those mine enemies, which would [thelo ethelo] not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
The problem of sin is a problem of the will (1John 3:4). The general root of all sin is self-will (Isaiah 14:13-14). Sinners do not want or will for God to reign over them (Luke 19:14), to govern them (2Peter 2:10), because they are self willed (2Peter 2:10). Before salvation can occur, the Spirit of God must change the will of man through the influence of truth (John 6:44, John 15:26).
[b]John 5:40[/b] And ye will [thelo ethelo] not come to me, that ye might have life.
Those who perish, perish because they are not willing to come unto Jesus. Not because they couldnt (1 Corinthians 10:13), but because they wouldnt.
[b]Revelations 22:17[/b] And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will [thelo ethelo], let him take the water of life freely.
God will not save anyone, not even Jerusalem, against their will (Luke 13:34). If anyone is to receive Gods grace and mercy, they must receive it willfully (Heb 10:26). If anyone is to respond to the gospel message, they must respond voluntarily (Rev 22:17). Nobody has ever been saved yet who did not want to be saved (Deu 30:19. And nobody has ever rejected God and His grace, who did not want to reject it in order to keep their sin (John 3:20).
Thelo ethelo is translated in the bible either as would, willingly or as willing.
[b]Verses translated as willingly[/b]: John 6:21, 2Peter 3:5
[b]Verses translated as willing:[/b] Matthew 1:19, Luke 10:29, Luke 23:20, John 5:35, Acts 24:27, Acts 25:9, Romans 9:22, Hebrews 13:18
[b]Verses translated as would: [/b]
Matthew: 2:18, 5:42, 7:12, 12:38, 14:5, 18:23, 18:30, 22:3, 23:37, 27:15, 27:34
Mark: 3:13, 6:19, 6:26, 6:48, 7:24, 9:30, 10:35, 10:36
Luke: 6:31, 15:28, 16:26, 18:4, 18:13
John: 1:43, 6:11, 7:1, 7:44, 9:27, 12:21
Acts: 7:39, 10:10, 14:13, 16:3, 19:33, 24:6, 23:09
Romans: 1:13, 7:15, 7:16, 7:19, 7:20, 7:21, 11:25, 16:19
1Corinthians: 7:7, 7:32, 10:1, 10:20, 11:3, 12:1, 14:5
2Corinthians: 1:8, 5:4, 12:20
Galatians: 1:7, 3:2, 4:17, 5:17
Colossians: 1:27, 2:1
1Thessalonians: 2:18, 4:13
[u]There are other greek words used for the will of man:[/u]
Boulomai literally means to be willing or to intend.
This word is translated as would or as willing.
[b]Places boulomai is translated as would:[/b]
Acts: 17:20, 19:30, 22:30, 23:28, 25:20, 25:22, 28:18,
Philemon: 1:12, 1:13
[b]Places boulomai translated as willing:[/b]
[u][b]2Peter 3:9[/b] is a scripture of particular interest:[/u]
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
It is not Gods will, not Gods intention for anyone to perish. This is the benevolent reason God has for not pouring out His wrath yet. He is waiting patiently, or is longsuffering, with the hope and will that more sinners will repent and be saved.
Euchomaia is another which means to pray, will, or wish. It is used only in Acts 26:29
Euokeo is another word that means willing. It is used in 2Corinthians 5:8 and 1Thessalonians 2:8
Prothumia means willing mind and is used in 2 Corinthians 8:12 and 1Peter 5:2
Hekousios means voluntariness or willingness and is used in Hebrews 10:26 and 1Peter 5:2.
[b]Hebrews 10:26[/b] says that if a person sins willfully hekousios or voluntarily, after they have received lambano or have accepted or attained or seized the truth, the blood of Jesus Christ does not cover their sin, but they are heading towards judgment.
Authairetos is a word which means self chosen or voluntary or willful. It is used in 2Corinthians 8:3
hekown also means voluntary or willinglyand is used in Romans 8:20 and 1Corinthians 9:17
hekousion means voluntariness or willingly and is found in Philemon 1:14
[u][b]EARLY CHURCH FATHERS ON FREE-WILL[/b][/u]
Surprisingly to some, the Early Apostolic Church universally held to the doctrine of free will for the first four to five centuries without debate.
Here are some quotes from the Early Church Fathers which I thought were note worthy:
If it happen by fate that men are either good or wicked; the good were not good , nor should the wicked be wicked. Justin (the) Martyr
Every created being is so constituted as to be capable of vice and virtue. For he can do nothing praise worthy, if he had not the power of turning either way. Justin (the) Martyr
Unless we suppose man has the power to choose the good and refuse the evil, no one can be accountable for any action whatever. Justin (the) Martyr
God had not made man, like the trees and the brutes, without the power of election. Justin (the) Martyr
Man being appointed for Gods judgment, it was necessary to the justice of Gods sentence that man should be judged, according to the deserts of his free will. Turtullian
Man, a reasonable being, and in the respect like God, is made free in his will, and having power over himself, is the cause that sometimes he becomes wheat and sometimes chaff. Irenaeus
They who do good shall obtain honor and glory, because they have done good when they could forbear doing it. And they who do it not shall receive just judgment of our God; because they have not done good when they could have done it. Irenaeus
What is forced is not pleasing to God, but what comes from a truly virtuous motive, and virtue comes from the Will not from Necessity. Basil
The will depends on what is within us, and within us is free will. Basil
Forasmuch as God has put good and evil in our power, he has given us free power to choose the one or the other; and as he does not retain us against our will, so he embraces us when we are willing. Chrysostom
After a wicked man, if he will, is changed into a good man; and a good man, through sloth, falls away and becomes wicked; because God hath endowed us with free agency; not does he make us to do things necessarily, but he places proper remedies before us, and suffers all to be done according to the will of the patient. Chrysostom
God hath endowed us with free will. We are not necessarily drawn either to virtue or vice. For when Necessity rules, there is no room left either for d**nation or crown. Jerome
Even to those who shall be wicked, God gives power to repent and turn to him. Jerome
Our will is kept free to turn either way, that God may dispense his rewards and punishments, not according to his own pre-judgment, but according to the merits of everyone. Jerome
Let the man who condemns it [free will] be himself condemned. Jerome
It would be more just to punish the stars, which make a wicked action necessary, than to punish the poor man, who does that wicked action by necessity. Epiphanius
The soul does not incline to either part out of necessity, for then neither vice nor virtue could be ascribed to it; not would its choice of virtue deserve reward; nor could its declinations to vice punishment. Origen
How could God require that of man which he had not power to offer Him? Origen
Ten thousand things may be found both in the gospels and authorities of the apostles, clearly manifesting the liberty and self election of man. Theodorite
For how can He [God] punish a nature which had no power to do good, but was bound in the hands of wickedness. Theodorite
Neither promises nor reprehensions, rewards, nor punishments are just, if the soul has not the power of choosing or abstaining, but evil is involuntary. Clemens of Alexandria
This opinion, the doctrine of necessity, absolves sinners, as doing nothing of their own accord, which was evil; and would cast all the blame of the wickedness committed in the world, upon God, and upon His providence. Eusebius
Regarding free will, this is not only ours, but the opinion of all who speak orthodoxy, of rational being. Didymus
God does not command impossibilities Augustine
They that came to Christ ought not to impute it to themselves, because they came, being called: and they that would not come, ought not to impute it to another, but only to themselves, because they are called, it was in their power of their free will to come. Augustine
What man ought to do, he can do. Pelagius
[u][b]Here are some quotes after the Early Church Fathers:[/b][/u]
What man ought to do, he can do. A. W. Tozer
Does God give commands which man cannot obey? Is he so arbitrary, so severe, so unloving, as to issue commandments which cannot be obeyed? The answer is that in all the annals of Holy Scripture, not a single instance is recorded of God having commanded any man to do a thing, which was beyond his power. Is God so unjust and so inconsiderate as to require of man that which he is unable to render? Surely not! To infer it is to slander the character of God. E. M. Bounds
Everyone knows that the peculiar doctrines [necessity] to which the victory was assigned by the Synod [of Dort] was absolutely unknown in the first ages of the Church. Mosheim
The Church teachers agreed unanimously, in maintaining the free will of man as a necessary condition of the existence of morality. Neander
the earliest Christian fathers unanimously ascribed to man freedom of will, according to which he can choose either the good or the bad. Bredschneider
The Ancient Fathers held to autexousion, understanding by this, or the term liberum arbitrium, the power of man to choose the good or evil freely without compulsion. Knapp
All the Fathers differed from Augustine and agreed with Pelagians in attributing free will to man. Wiggers
The Greek Fathers above others, and among them especially Chrysostom, have exceeded bounds in extolling the power of the human will
they attribute to man too much power to become virtuous. John Calvin