for virtue. Man has still a range of freedom in acting out his nature and he may to a certain limited extent act down upon that nature, and modify it by isolated volition externally conformed to God?s law. He may choose higher or lower forms of selfish action and may pursue these chosen courses with various degrees of selfish energy. Freedom of choice, within this limit, is by no means incompatible with complete bondage of the will in spiritual things.
<430113> John 1:13 ? ?born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God?; 3:5 ? ?Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God?; 6:44 ? ?No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him? 8:34 ? ?Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin?; 15:4, 5 ? ?the branch cannot bear fruit of itself...apart from me ye can do nothing?; <450718>Romans 7:18 ? ?in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not?; 24 ? ?Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?? 8:7, 2 ? ?the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God?; 1 Corinthians 2:14 ? ?the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged?; <470305>2 Corinthians 3:5 ? ?not that we are sufficient of ourselves to account anything as from ourselves?; <490201>Ephesians 2:1 ? ?dead through your trespasses and sins?; 8-10 ? ?by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works?;
<581106> Hebrews 11:6 ? ?without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him.?
Kant?s ?I ought therefore I can? is the relic of man?s original consciousness of freedom ? the freedom with which man was endowed at his creation ? a freedom, now, alas! destroyed by sin. Or it may be the courage of the soul in which God is working anew by his Spirit. For Kant?s ?Ich soll, also Ich kann,? Julius Muller would substitute: ?Ich sollte freilich konnen, aber Ich kann nicht? ? ?I ought indeed to be able, but I am not able.? Man truly repents only when he learns that his sin has made him unable to repent without the renewing grace of God. Emerson, in his poem entitled ?Voluntariness,? says: ?So near is grandeur to our dust, So near is God to man, When duty whispers low, Thou must, The youth replies, I can.? But, apart from special grace, all the ability which man at present possesses comes far short of fulfilling the spiritual
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?