Friday, May 31, 2013

Proof We Have Free Will

Some in mainstream churches have taught the idea that people are predestinated to be saved or lost. We in the Church of God have understood that predestination has to do with when we are called to our opportunity for salvation, not with the choice we will make and whether we will be finally saved or lost (Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:3-12).

Every person ever born has an opportunity for salvation. No one will be permanently lost, condemned to perish forever in the lake of fire, due to circumstances not under his or her control.

We understand that the billions who are not called in this life, who are not drawn to Christ by the Father in this 6,000 year age of man (John 6:44), will have their chance for salvation in the millennium or in the white throne judgment, the general resurrection (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Revelation 20:11-15).

But when a person's chance for salvation comes, whether that person "makes it" or not depends on the choices that person will make. No one is forced to lose out. We all have a chance. We all have free will.

God promises that He will not allow us to be tested or tempted more than we can handle. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The principle of free choice, free will, free moral agency, is stated in Deuteronomy 30:19-20: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

Here is a proof text that we all have free will and no one is predestinated or forced by circumstances to be lost. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). God is not willing that ANYONE be permanently lost.

Some, unfortunately, will be lost. "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:28). Yet, it is not God's will that any be lost. Now, if it is not God's will that any be lost, yet some will be lost, the only explanation is that those who will be permanently lost will be lost because of their own wrong choices, choices freely made.

Circumstances of birth, of upbringing and environment, of heredity, of all that go into our personality and character before we are called, CANNOT override God's will that we be saved, because the God who created the universe is able to control all circumstances of our lives.

The only thing that can override God's will that we be saved is our own free will and choice. God allows that. It is His will we be saved, but He won't force us to choose rightly. He allows us to be lost if that is what we choose. He won't like it, it's not His will, but He will allow it because He doesn't want robots as sons.

We all have free will and free choice. Each of us can make it, if we do our part. God will do His part and give us all the help we need.

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