Grace and free will

The Atonement is God's act of unconditional love for all people everywhere (John 12:32; Romans 10:9-13). All who receive Christ in faith, all who bear witness to Jesus Christ as Lord, pass from death into life and enter into a new relationship with God through his grace (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). The doctrine of the Atonement clearly reveals that God's grace is fundamental to our salvation (Luke 15:11-31).

God is constantly at work by his grace to draw all people to himself. And yet response to God's grace is an act of free will; we can accept or reject the new life that is offered to us.

Grace and free will are not easily harmonized, and this has led some Christians to emphasize the grace and sovereignty of God to the extent that they teach a doctrine of predestination that disallows free will, That implies that God alone determines who will be saved without the need for any co-operative response from us. Free will is therefore undermined. Alternatively, it is possible to forget that our God-given free will is flawed by sin. It cannot operate in true freedom without the grace of God.

We believe that God saves all who believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:14-16; John 5:24; Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; 2 Peter 3:9). Without the grace and mercy of God, we have no hope. But it is possible for grace to be resisted or abandoned. The grace of God does not compromise the freedom God himself has given.

The love of God is such that, with profound sorrow, he allows us to reject him (Mark 10:17-27).