God made Adam and Eve in His image. They were perfect. Even the free will God gave them was part of that perfection despite that capability led to sin. They disobeyed God’s command and the fall happened, sin entered into the world through their disobedience. The image of God in them was shattered, they no longer reflected God perfectly and that shattering is born in every one of their children throughout the ages. We are all sinners.¹ Free will to disobey God has been shattered and corrupted so that we reject God as a matter of who we are.
But free will is still a part of God’s perfect creation. Jesus showed us that. He had free will. He could have rejected God’s plan but instead he declared to the Father, “Not as I will, but as you will!”² He remained in perfect submission to the Father. The image of God remained whole and perfect, just as God intended at creation. His death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice through which, by faith, we are saved³.
Paul had to deal with sin in the Corinthian church⁴. A man was flaunting his sin before everyone. This appalled Paul but apparently the entire Corinthian church didn’t see the problem, they even boasted about it. Paul’s rebuke to the church resulted in people realizing their sin, it led to sorrow and repentance, not only for the man sinning but the entire church. They turned away from their sin, turning to God.⁵
Repentance is not just words but action. Just as Jesus said, “not as I will, but as you will” and then was tortured and crucified for us, so we must say the same then do as God wills. We will move towards God. It is a determination to do as God wills, a determination to not do as the world would have us. It isn’t something we can do on our own. It is only by the Spirit who lives in us.⁶ But we can!
No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. -Romans 8:37