“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34 ESV).
I recently read a scientific article that argued that we have free will because ultimately everyone chooses what they want… People make their decisions based on their desires… But, that’s exactly why the Bible says we don’t have free will.
As Jesus says in John 8:34, whoever practices sin is a slave to sin; and that’s because their desires and wants are broken. They sin because sin is what they desire. As James 1:14-15 says, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (ESV). Slavery to sin, the practice of sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). So if we would stop making a practice of sinning, if we would break free from our bondage to sin, we need new desires—we need a stronger more satisfying desire.
Peter lays out this idea in 1 Peter 2. There he calls the saints to repent and live for the Lord; and he basically says that they’ll be able to do this, “if indeed [they] have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:3 ESV). In other words, if they have tasted and seen that Jesus is better than their sin, that He’s better than the world, then they will be able to truly repent of their sin because their desire for Jesus will be greater than their desire for sin. So, if they are truly Christians, who have had their eyes opened to the glory of Christ in the gospel, and if they have truly tasted the sweetness of Jesus and the eternal satisfaction and joy He gives, then sin will begin to taste bitter in comparison with Christ.
That’s in part what happens when we become Christians: we’re born again, set free from sin, and given new delights and desires. As John Newton once said, “Our pleasure and our duty, though opposite before; since we have seen His beauty, are joined to part no more.” Everyone’s will is in bondage; but the Christian’s will is in bondage to Christ, who is infinitely better than any sin or anything else.
I am nothing; Christ is all!