Sacrifice And The Nature of Human Freedom

, posted by Ben Henshaw

The word of God commands people to submit and surrender their wills to the will of God. This is inherent in the nature of sacrifice. Paul tells us to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. What does this mean?

My Pastor used to put it this way, “When our will comes in conflict with God’s will, our will dies.”

We can see a vivid illustration of this in the garden of Gethsemane where Christ says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Here Christ surrendered His will to the will of the Father. This directly correlates to the cross and the impending sacrifice He would make there.

It seems to me that if we have no will of our own [i.e. no real control of our will], then it could not be considered sacrificial to surrender it to God. We would not even be capable of surrendering our will, because the nature of surrender implies that we have control over that thing which we surrender. If God ultimately controls our will, then it is nonsensical to speak of surrendering our wills to God. In other words, sacrifice implies the ability to surrender our will to God, and the ability to surrender our will implies that we have control over our wills. I think that self-determinism is also implied in the commands to deny self. We can only deny ourselves by surrendering our will to the will of God.

I think that the Arminian account of human will makes better sense of God’s commands to live sacrificially. I have a hard time understanding how we could truly surrender our wills to God if we understand human will within the Calvinistic context of determinism or compatibilism.

What do think?

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