The Law and Free Will

Scrolls by Ben White

Free Will

We talked about the Law last night, preceded by some thoughts around “Free Will”. I think John Piper’s post A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’ is an excellent place to continue. It was hard to talk about our notions of free will purely in a biblical context, wasn’t it? While it is good to use our minds and our hearts to explore who we are, it is better to do that kind of reflection aiming to land on God’s Word. We read from the Book of Galatians. Specifically, Galatians 1:6-7, Galatians 1:11-24, Galatians 4:8-9, Galatians 5:1-12. This week, please read all of Galatians. I suggest reading it in one sitting first, then, take it slowly and think about what Paul has for the Galatians, because it is for us as well.

The Law

The discussion quickly and obviously stayed around “the (L)law” for a while, and with good reason. It is worthy of our effort to understand what it is, and what it is for. There are many ways that the word law is used in the scriptures. Here are a few:

  • Ceremonial Law or Law of Moses. These laws are what was given to Israel. 1Kings 2:3 HCSB “and keep your obligation to the LORD your God to walk in His ways and to keep His statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn…” This also can include the laws given to the Levites, and other tribes in order to maintain order and sacred practices.
  • Natural Law. These “laws” aren’t necessarily written; rather observable in nature, whether that be what we see in our own lives, or what happens around us. Interestingly, I like to consider the idea of supernatural laws, i.e., the laws that happen in the spiritual realms in the same “category” when thinking about this subject. To me, there is no better place in scripture than Romans 7:7-25.

These are just my two broad categories, and they are by no means the only way to understand the law. Ultimately, the question that always surfaces when I study these topics is simply this: What good is “free will” if there is a sin nature in me keeping me from completing the law?

Have additional thoughts? Feel free (pun intended) to share them below.

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