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Thomas Richards

Creator, Author and Administrator of (Job 28:28)


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free will in the bible
Heb 10:26; Philemon 1:14; Rom 8:20; 1 Pet 5:2; 1 Cor 9:17

“No Free Will” You Say?

October 4, 2009

From the Bible: Hebrews 10:26 ¶ "For if we sin 'willfully' after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"

The word "willfully" from Hebrews 10:26 is the English translation of the Greek word "hekousiōs".

Strong's Concordance: willfully, willingly. Adverb from the same as hekousion; voluntarily -- wilfully, willingly.

Thayer's Lexicon Expanded Definition: "ἑκουσίως, adverb (from Euripides down), voluntarily, willingly, of one's own accord: Hebrews 10:26 (ἑκουσίως ἁμαρτάνειν ( A. V. to sin willfully) is tacitly opposed to sins committed inconsiderately, and from ignorance or from weakness); (1 Peter 5:2).

Now why would God warn us about sinning "willfully" if we have "no free will"? That would be alogos!


“If my preaching is voluntary (hekón), I have a reward. But if it is not voluntary (akón), I am still entrusted with a responsibility.” ~1 Corinthians 9:17 (Paul again uses Hekon with an antonym, like he does in Philemon 1:14.)

In Philemon, both “hekoúsion” (G1595) and another antonym, “anágkē” (G318), are used in the same verse; “but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by 'compulsion' (anágkē) 'but of your own free will' (hekoúsion).” ~Philemon 1:14

These verses connect the desires of the flesh with the things of the world. James 4:4 connects love of the world with being the enemy of God

Jesus, God with us, warns (admonishes) us to "Strive to enter through the narrow door;..." Luke 13:24a. "Strive" is the English translation of the Greek word "agónizomai", which means, "I am struggling, striving (as in an athletic contest or warfare); I contend, as with an adversary." ~Read More

Here's another usage of that same Greek word for "willfully" in the new Testament (Peter also uses an antonym of "willingly" in the same sentence.):

1 Peter 5:2 "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint (Ant.), but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (προθύμως);"

"Willingly" is the same exact Greek word (hekousiōs) used in Hebrews 10:26. Hekousiōs G1596 is an adverb, derived from 1595 /hekoúsion. And hekoúsion is an substantival (neuter) adjective derivative of the Greek word "hekōn".

"hekōn" (adj) definition: 1) unforced, voluntary, willing. 2) of one's own will. 3) of one's own accord.

Scriptural usage: 1 Corinthians 9:17 "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation [of the gospel] is committed unto me."

Peter then ends the sentence with another Greek word which even more powerfully emphasizes free will. The KIng James reads, "of a ready mind." But that is just their translation of the Greek word, προθύμως , which means THOROUGHLY WILLING, EAGER, and ENTHUSIASTIC!

Now it's very important to mention that all the usages of these Greek words are being applied in the context of saved men and women using their free will. Except one. There are only five verses in the New Covenant/Testament using these three Greek words (there are some usages in the LXX - Septuagint which I will talk about later). Let's take a quick look at these NT verses first;

Messiah Died for us while we were walking contrary to Him. All mercy, grace and peace from God is unmerited.

"Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you." Proverbs 1:23 KJV <---- This we need to do on a repetitive basis for our entire lives. THAT is how we "grow in grace". Reading God's Word, comparing ourselves to what we read and hopefully we will often be cut to to the heart because we fall short. We then seek God in repentance and ask Him to help us fulfill what He is telling us we must do. THAT is humility. And God loves when we come to Him in this manner.

"Although he is scornful to arrogant scoffers, yet he shows favor to the humble." Proverbs 3:34 (NET) ~Read More

1596. hekousiós - 2 Occurrences NT. (2 LXX)

Hebrews 10:26 Adv
GRK: Ἑκουσίως γὰρ ἁμαρτανόντων
NAS: For if we go on sinning willfully after
KJV: sin wilfully after
INT: [if] willingly indeed sin

1 Peter 5:2 Adv
GRK: ἀναγκαστῶς ἀλλὰ ἑκουσίως κατὰ θεόν
NAS: not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according
KJV: but willingly; not
INT: by constraint but willingly according to God

1595. hekoúsion - 1 Occurrence in the NT. (14 LXX)

Philemon 1:14 Adj-ANS
GRK: ἀλλὰ κατὰ ἑκούσιον
NAS: by compulsion but of your own free will.
KJV: necessity, but willingly.
INT: but effect willingly

1635. hekón - 2 Occurrences in the NT. (2 LXX)

Romans 8:20 Adj-NFS
GRK: ὑπετάγη οὐχ ἑκοῦσα ἀλλὰ διὰ
NAS: to futility, not willingly, but because
KJV: not willingly, but
INT: was subjected not willingly but because of

1 Corinthians 9:17 Adj-NMS
GRK: εἰ γὰρ ἑκὼν τοῦτο πράσσω
NAS: this voluntarily, I have
KJV: this thing willingly, I have
INT: if indeed willingly this I do

So if we look at these verses carefully we'll see all but one of them are in context of a saved man using his free will to do something in service to God. The other usage is Romans 8:20 which states that the creation was subject to vanity, not willingly (ἑκοῦσα - Part of Speech: Adjective. Case: Nominative. Gender: Feminine. Number: Singular.) Verses like this show me that there are 2 kinds of free will. One for the unconverted. And one for the converted. Mankind was made "subject to vanity" after Adam and Eve sinned. And their only hope to escape this was through faith in God. And once this person comes to the faith and is born again, he or she is able to do work for God and are given new liberty to exercise their free will in a new and miraculous way.

"So if the Son makes you free (1659 /eleutheróō), you will be free (1658 /eleútheros) indeed." ~John 8:36

1659 eleutheróō (verb) – properly, set free, release from bondage; (figuratively) to remove the restrictions of sin (darkness) because delivered by God into true spiritual liberty (growth). 7 Occurrences in the NT

1658 eleútheros (adjective) – properly, free (liberated), unbound (unshackled); (figuratively) free to realize one's destiny in Christ. 23 Occurrences in the NT

And its only natural to now serve the One who has set you free. The Spirit of God and His entire written Logos are speaking to humanity in all phases of life. From children to old men and from babes in Christ to the eldest elder. Calling to us, inviting us to come to Him for eternal life. And we are all walking in our own sphere of free will. As you read God's Word you should be able to plainly see that God is talking to one who is able to listen to Him. Otherwise He wouldn't be saying what He's saying to us.

Paul even states, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." 1Cor 15:10

Paul states that "the grace" that was "bestowed" upon him "was not in vain." That is an important point he is making there. Paul says elsewhere, "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." 2 Cor 6:1 Paul uses that term again, this time he's urging the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain but to put it to use. You've been set free, now get to work!

Paul used his free will and knowledge of God and the gifts God gave him to labor "more abundantly than they all". Paul writes earlier in the letter, "... if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward" 1 Cor 9:17

And we will receive a reward if we labor for God.

"Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." 1 Cor 3:8

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Gal 6:7

As Jesus also stated, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48b

Jesus is telling those who have been released from spiritual bondage;

If ye love me, keep my commandments. ~John 14:15

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. ~John 15:14

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. ~1 John 2:3

More Verses Showing that We make our own Choices and God responds accordingly;

Most important verse first: John 3:19: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

The word "loved" there is the English translation of the Greek word, ἠγάπησαν and means;

properly, to prefer (to choose) , to love; for the believer, preferring to "live through Christ" (1 Jn 4:9,10), i.e. embracing God's will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power. 25 (agapáō) preeminently refers to what God prefers as He "is love" (1 Jn 4:8,16). See 26 (agapē).

With the believer, 25 /agapáō ("to love") means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (by His power and direction). True 25 /agapáō ("loving") is always defined by God – a "discriminating affection which involves choice and selection" (WS, 477). 1 Jn 4:8,16,17 for example convey how loving ("preferring," 25 /agapáō) is Christ living His life through the believer.

As you can see, “this is the judgment” that men loved and therefore preferred darkness rather than light. And that is why many people never get saved! They reject the Lord (the Light) and choose to walk in darkness. “For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD.” (Proverbs 1:29)

More verses:

Deuteronomy 30:19
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Joshua 24:15, 21-23
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.

 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

 23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.

Judges 10:14
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

Psalm 119:30
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

Psalm 119:173
Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

Proverbs 3:31
Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Proverbs 16:16
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

Isaiah 56:4
For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

Isaiah 65:12
Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

Isaiah 66:3, 4
He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

And so... We have been delivered from the power of darkness, and God the Father has "translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:" Colossians 1:13b

We who have been truly redeemed are now subjects of a new kingdom. The kingdom of God. And once we put off this "tent" or "tabernacle" (our body), God has prepared for us another body. An eternal and glorified body.

"Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed **WE WILL BE LIKE HIM**, because we will see him just as he is." 1 John 3:2

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Philippians 3:21

It (our earthly body) is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. ~1 Corinthians 15:43

And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man. ~1 Corinthians 15:49

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1

And let us also be sober and understand the responsibility that has been given to us. That we are to carry this gospel to the world! The most important duty ever given to mankind! So let us strive with all our hearts to be the vessels of honor God desires for us to be.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48

May God the Father bless us all and strengthen us and open our understandings in the holy Name of Yeshua the Messiah! Amen

Powerful Message About Becoming a Child of God
Powerful Message About Becoming a Child of God
Short but Important Message about Sanctification
Short but Important Message about Sanctification
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Message About Growing in Grace

You can be saved!

God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!

Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."

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