N.B. There are two touchstones by which every theological dogma may be tested. The first, that God is Love (I John 4:16); the second, that man's will is free, though not necessarily his actions (Luke 13:34, Gal. 5:17).
Rom. 7 gives us a vivid picture of a man whose will is set upon righteousness, but whose actions are forced upon him by habitual sin in the flesh. The drunkard, the drug addict are obvious examples of this pitiful condition.
And, on the other hand, the old lag in the cell gives us an illustration of the exact opposite. Here we have a man whose will is all for evil, but whose actions are forced into a blameless mould of stone breaking or oakum picking, such as a saint might copy!
Men have always feared the responsibility which attaches to free will, and longed to believe that God can do something which will relieve us from the burden. Yet the truth remains that although God is Love and will secure us from all outside aggression or internal decay, yet even He is not master of men's wills but only of their actions. Were He so, all would be saved; for He is not willing that any should perish: but the decision of salvation or destruction is man's own decision; and his only eternal security lies in his eternal determination to obey God. It is man's spirit, not his soul, which is born again. His soul, adopted out of his earthly family and introduced into his heavenly family, may yet hanker after the old home and bring God to a dreadful decision. For God having saved a people out of Egypt, after destroyed them that believed not, and they knew God's breach of promise. It is unfortunately true that there are those who by their own choice and with determination have repeated their original transgression, and are therefore twice dead. (Heb. 10:26.) For the soul that once received a living spirit from the Almighty can also kill it. and again plunge into the darkness from which it once emerged. (II Peter 2:20-22, Jude 5-12, Num. 14:34, Heb. 3:12-4:2.)
On the other hand, while the Christian is sure of Eternal Life, he is not sure of glory. The reward of the Christian is to be allowed to share with His Lord in the Eternal government of His Kingdom; in a word the faithful servant is, as always, rewarded by more work and higher responsibility!