Hugh Ross: Why the universe is the way it is, page 115
The gradual transformation of desires and motivations that takes place when one bows to Christ as the master of life and invites the Holy Spirit to metamorphose him into the image of Christ (Rom. 12:1–2, 1 Cor. 2:14–16, Col. 3:10) is another assurance of eternal security. There is no loss of free will in the process of giving one’s life to Christ. The new believer continues to exercise free will in cooperating with, or resisting, the Holy Spirit in the transformation process. The net effect of cooperation is the emergence of a pattern—increasing consistency in obedience to God, thus a growing reflection of godly character. The apostle Paul describes this effect as growing conformity to Christ’s will (see also Rom. 7:15–8:17, 12:1–2; Eph. 1:11–14; Phil. 2:13; Col. 1:28– 29). By choice the captive makes such a practice of obedience that Christ’s will in his or her life becomes strong enough to overcome the tug of personal autonomy with all its illusions. The reverse is also true. One can become “captive to evil” by making a long-term and consistent pattern of rejecting God and his ways (see Rom. 7:15–25; 2 Tim. 2:22–26). A second reason that evil can never exist or be expressed in the new creation is that all new creation inhabitants will be captive to Christ’s will. This does not mean, however, that those who enter the new creation have relinquished their freedom. Because of the manner in which God exposes humanity to evil and offers his assistance to overcome it in this creation, evil will no longer be possible in the new realm. God’s plan is to use this universe to release those who choose life with him to a new level of free will and love far beyond anything ever experienced in earthly life. The apostle Peter wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3–4).