Some things said in this morning's sermon gave me the urge to "think out loud" on the topic of the will. So this is not a well-cooked argument, but a "work in progress". (By the way, the church I have been attending is not at all Calvinist, and at least one of the elders is vehemently non-Calvinist, so that wasn't the point of the sermon - it just led to this train of thought.) C H Spurgeon pointed out in at least one sermon that the expression "free will" is nonsense. I don't recall if or how he explained it. But here's how I would explain it. I define "to will" as "to desire", "purpose" (transitive verb), "to wish", and so on. The will is not something to bend one way or another, but a description of what is already our inclination - what we desire, what we wish, what we purpose to do. I hope at this point you do not assume I am going to play a game with semantics. You may conclude that at the end if it is your will (grin), but I hope you'll choose to stay with me and see that although this involves semantics, the difference between what we perceive as "free will" and reality is very important. When you got up this morning, you probably chose something for breakfast. Assume for the sake of argument that you very much in the mood for Wheaties and very much opposed to the idea of eating eggs. So you chose Wheaties. In this example, you may say that you had freedom of choice, since nobody forced you to eat Wheaties. But you cannot say you had freedom of will. Your will -- your desire or wish, was to eat Wheaties. Someone might say that they settled for eggs or something else because they couldn't find the Wheaties, therefore their will was free. But then all they're saying is that their will to save themselves the trouble of looking was greater than their will to eat Wheaties, and their negative will against eggs was not great enough to overcome it. There was no freedom involved in their will at all, it's just that the will for Wheaties was weaker than the will to be lazy and the will to avoid eggs. The point is that during none of this process was your will "free". "Freedom" makes no sense in this exercise, because the moment you express it with a choice, you have admitted a desire for one set of things over another -- hence you have simply described how your will was already inclined. You were inclined to have Wheaties before you "chose" them - indeed, you chose them because that was your will, not because you had freedom of will. Please don't miss this -- the reason I've spent so much time on the above example is to point out that when you have many conflicting "wills", it is easy to mistake the expression of our competing desires for "freedom". It is not. It is simply a battle where one or more "wills" emerge victorious over the others. In order to see how this is relevant to the issue of salvation, try this exercise: Determine right now that you are going to believe that your left sock is god and trust it for your salvation. No matter how hard you try, you cannot do it. You cannot bend your will to obey that exercise because one does not will to believe or trust. You should be able to see now that to for us to say we believe in and trust Christ for our salvation is to describe our current inclination. It is our will, and as far as our eternal destiny is concerned, it is inclined toward Christ. The key question, then, is not at all whether or not our will is free. Our will is always inclined one way or another, or in multiple directions at once with varying degrees. The question is: From where does this will to trust Christ originate? Is it born within ourselves, or is it planted there by God? Here is the battle exposed in Jesus, Himself: Since Jesus is God, is God struggling with Himself here? Of course not. The battle is between the flesh and God. With that in mind, consider this passage from Philippians: Do you see the same principle at work here? Whatever will competes for your trust in Christ (desire to trust in money, career, looks, whatever) can be expressed as the will of the flesh. The will of the flesh is in a constant struggle with God, who works in us both to will and to do things that the flesh neither comprehends nor desires. If it is God who works in us to do these things, then God is the origin of the will that saves us, which is expressed in faith to the degree we submit to His gift of faith over the wills of our flesh. Someone may now say, "Isn't it our free will to decide how much to submit?" I instruct those to go back and re-read the Wheaties example. It is not a matter of free will but of which will emerges victorious. If our will were free to bend one way or another, we could command our flesh to submit entirely to God, but we cannot "will" that any more than we can "will" ourselves to put our faith and trust in our left sock. If the will isn't placed there by God, it does not exist. That's where I'll stop and let you do what you will with it -- whether to poke holes in it and deflate it or whatever else it deserves.