Monday, 14 September 2009

Can We Choose Not To Love God?

I stumbled across a discussion between a reformed Protestant and a Roman Catholic doctoral student regarding their respective views on justification.
You seem to be implying that the Protestant understanding of sola fide involves a faith that is devoid of fruit. But such is not the case. Both the Reformers and modern Protestants would agree with the Apostle James that a faith devoid of the fruit of righteousness (or love) is a dead faith.

Again, the distinction of sola fide centers on the "root" of justifcation (namely, grace alone through faith alone). But the "fruit" of justification (which will always be subsequently present in the lives of those who have been justified) is the fruit of the Spirit, of which agape is the foremost (Gal. 5:22).

Read all the comments here.

It reminded me of a question that came up during our last Wednesday's Bible study, "Does a Christian choose to love God, or can he choose not to?" In other words, do believers have a choice in this area, or do we have no free will here? And I think the answer is somewhat the same as a Protestant would have for a Roman Catholic regarding justification and works.

When we are born again, becoming a new creation in Christ, God takes our heart of stone and gives us one of flesh. We are given a new heart, we become a new person, and our new heart will love God. Period. That it won't, is not an option. It's not a matter of choice, it's just a matter of what our new heart does. Our new heart is made to love Him. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit.

Is that fair, that God would bring us into a position where we have no choice but to love Him? Well, the question is completely hypothetical, a sort of, 'can God make a square circle' kind of thing. Because who of us whom God has called to be His children would want it any other way. And as with love, good works wil necessarily follow true justification.

Is it fair? Does it deprive us of choice? Well, if we think about our new birth, we might consider; how much choice did we have about our first birth? None at all, did we?

Take Care
H/T The Shepherd's Fellowship

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