"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:18-19
One of the age-old theological struggles has been the debate regarding the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. Where does one stop and the other begin? How do they interplay?
Good people line up on all sides of this debate and can offer Scriptural support for their views.
As Wesleyans, we are stronger on the free will side of the argument, although we fully believe in the sovereignty of God.
Another way of framing this argument is this, "How free is the free will?"
I can't conclusively resolve this debate and I won't even try, but I do want to assert that because of what the Second Adam did to atone for the sin of the First Adam, the free will is freer that it was!
When the first Adam exercised his free will against God he lost full control over the free will surrendering it to the devil. Now his judgment was impaired. Now his mind and emotions were contaminated. Now sin held sway over his moral decisions. He was separated from God and in bondage to sin. Human nature was now disconnected from its Creator.
What could be done to change this desperate situation? Was the human race condemned to spiritual slavery?
Only God could figure out how to solve this dilemma. He did! He sent His Son, the second member of the Trinity, to become the second Adam.
Just like the First Adam, He was born without a sin nature. Just like Adam He was a mysterious combination of divine and human, meaning that two natures existed within them.
Both were tempted by the devil. One failed the One didn't. One was conquered by sin, the other conquered it. One used his free will against God and the other surrendered his free will to God. One lost his free will while the other maintained it.
Because the Second Adam, Jesus, did not choose to sin. Because He used His free will to obey God and deny His human desires, He was able to undo what the first Adam did. His sinless relationship with God allowed Him to become the perfect sacrifice for the sins caused by the First Adam. He chose not to sin so He could BECOME sin! All the penalties and condemnation wrought by the sin of Adam were atoned by the blood of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Second Adam.
Now the free will is free again - free to choose God and free to choose against sin and free to live in unbroken fellowship with the Living God!
"If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed!"