I think it’s my favorite commercial: A little boy is dressed as Darth Vader as he tries to control things with the power of his will—levitate the dog, start the drier—and fails, at least until he tries to start his father’s new VW Sedan and miraculously it starts. Then the perspective changes, showing his father in the window pressing the start button on his key fob.
It’s a good thing that Darth Vader didn’t have an entirely free will—it was already too free; that was the problem.
And it’s probably good that four-year-old boys do not have much “free will”—at least not yet.
Do you believe in free will?
People who do, often quote Romans 10:13 , “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Then they say, “See, that’s your choice; free will!”
They also quote Deuteronomy 30:14,19 “The word… is in your heart that you can do it… choose life.”
It seems that some who say that they “believe in free will” are saying a very good thing and others, a rather evil thing.
The Good thing: “God didn’t create robots, but people capable of love.”
The Evil thing: “I saved myself and created myself with myself—my free will saved me.”
Likewise, some who say that they DON’T believe in free will are saying a very good thing and others, a rather evil thing.
The Good thing: “Everything is Grace and so I’m grateful (freely grateful) for Life.”
The Bad thing: “I cannot choose, so nothing is my fault, so I don’t have sin and so don’t need forgiveness, only excuses—I’m just a victim.”
We have learned that God can be “blamed” for everything and yet he alone is without fault.
So, ironically, he alone is the victim—the victim of all of us with fault.
But who’s to blame for that? He freely willed to hang his heart on that tree in the Garden.
Some describe free will as freedom from other wills.
So, is an astronaut floating untethered and alone in deep space free?
Is a man who thinks he has created himself, like an uncreated creator, free . . . or deranged?
A deranged man isn’t saved by his own “free will” but saved from his own “free will,” by another will that violates his “free will” that was actually never free. He is saved when he is awakened from his own self-centered dreams which have turned into a nightmare.
Some describe free will as freedom from things and others as freedom to things—freedom to will what one wants and then want what one wills. We often will what we later don’t want, for we don’t know the Good.
Adam had “free will,” if we define that as “random will,” but he couldn’t will the Good, for he did not know what (or who) it was. And so, he chose badly, and gained knowledge of the Good, which he could no longer choose, for he had crucified the Good and made himself a slave to the bad.
It seems that there could only be one will that is a truly free will, and yet that will wouldn’t be free if it were utterly alone and so unable to love—like the devil, or maybe, Darth Vader.
And so, it seems that there couldn’t even be one free will . . . unless that will freely willed to sacrifice itself for all other wills—like a symphony of wills: many instruments playing one song, many members living one life, many dancers in one dance, or many Persons in a Trinity.
The Bible never uses the term “Free Will,” but often uses the term “Love.”
Love is the Good and Love is the Life; Love is the Free Will of the Creator. God is Love.
It was the Body of Love that was hanging on the tree in the garden, and in the fruit was the Seed.
Romans 10:3 “Being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own [righteousness], they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”
It’s the righteousness of God, the Free Will of God, that hangs on the tree.
It’s Israel and us that take the life of Righteousness and so crucify righteousness, and yet, swallow the Seed.
Romans 10:6, “The righteousness of faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is the word of faith that we proclaim).”
The Righteousness of Faith “says” stuff and is quoting God In Deuteronomy 30, as if it—“the Righteousness of Faith”—were God, and a Word, and Jesus the Christ.
He’s saying, you don’t have to build a tower, gain more knowledge, go to one more program, ascend into heaven or descend into hell to get me; I’m in your heart… behind the curtain in the holy place in the garden temple of your soul.”
Deuteronomy 29-30 is literally the New Covenant (29:2) within the Old. Through Moses, God tells Israel that he has not yet given them a heart to understand (29:4) but that after they experience the blessing and the curse and therefore die, he will gather them, and us (29:15) and circumcise our heart (30:6) that we would love and live. He then says, “The Word is very near you, It is—“IS!” (1500 BCE)—in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it… therefore choose life.”
In Deuteronomy 31, God then reveals to Moses that Israel will not choose life but death.
Why? …if in fact, Jesus is in their heart?
Well, God has not yet circumcised their heart.
Imprisoned in my bad will is Free Will, who is actually God’s Will, and that’s Good Will and who it is that I actually am. I am the manifestation of The Eternal Free Will of God rising from the dead in space and time; We are the Bride and Body of Christ.
And so, my true self must be saved from my false self, constructed with bad will that I thought was “free will,” but was, in fact, always a slave to the “dark side.”
In Return of the Jedi, Luke kills Darth Vader. Before Darth Vader dies, he asks Luke to take off his mask. Luke says, “I have to save you.” And his father responds, “You already have.”
I call it “The Circumcision of Darth Vader.”
It’s the moment that he is saved from his own will, which he thought was free will, but in reality, was his own deepest prison. He was saved because Luke believed that the spirit of his father was imprisoned in the abomination that was Darth Vader.
Jesus said, “What is exalted among men is an abomination (Luke 16:15).”
If you’re proud of your “free will,” it’s the abomination that takes the life of Christ.
And Paul wrote, “You were circumcised… in the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11).”
If you’re grateful for your “Free Will,” it’s Christ in you, rising from the dead… it’s Love.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed [had faith]? … Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10: 13-14, 17).”
In this sermon, I tell the story of how God revealed this to me and how he saves me all the time.
What if every good decision ever made, in any and every person, is the Free Will of God manifesting in that person? If I believed that to be true, and that belief to be a gift, I suspect that all my arrogance, shame, envy, and fear would vanish like a mist, and all that would be left would be worship; I would will what I want and want what I will; I would will an entire new creation in which nothing is wrong and everyone is right, for no one is alone and all is filled with Love—the Free Will of God, the Commandment of God: Eternal Life.
It’s Free Will that believes in you.