Did your wife choose to marry you? Your wife became Mrs. So-and-so because she chose to marry you. So you see, we are what we are because of the choices we make.
Galations 6:7-8 says:
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
We are what we are because of the choices we make.
We attribute three “Omni’s” to God:
God is Omnipotent…all-powerful.
God is Omniscient…all-knowing.
God is Omnipresent…god is always present with a person. There is never a place you can go where God cannot hear you when you call out to Him.
Some people believe that God is in complete control, meaning that nothing happens that was not meant to be, that nothing happens outside of God’s control. But there is a problem with this belief…sin happens, and we know that in Job 34:12, it says, Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Therefore, we know that God does not cause sin to happen. But sin does happen, and if God doesn’t make it happen then He must not be controlling everything.
Obviously God does control some things but not control other things. When God permits us to make our own choices He is not giving up any of His sovereignty. God, of His own permissive will, gives us permission, to make our own choices.
Definition: Wishing, desiring, or choosing especially in reference to the will of God. In the gospels, primarily in John, Jesus is said to be acting not according to His own will, but according to the will of the heavenly Father (John 5:30; 6:38). Indeed, doing the will of the Father is Jesus' nourishment (John 4:34), and Jesus does nothing apart from the Father's will (John 5:19). Luke confirms this when he quotes Jesus' statement in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me, nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done" (Luke 22:42).
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
God has an explicit will and a permissive will. An example of God’s explicit will is found in Acts 9:1-6,
9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
In these verses it is obvious that Paul did not at this time choose to become an apostle of Jesus Christ. He was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christian believers. We have proof that Paul was an apostle by God’s explicit will in Ephesians 1:1, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Another example of God’s explicit will is found in Jeremiah 1:4-5.
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me (Jeremiah), saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
It is by God’s permissive will that we do most of the things we do. Some of the things we do are obviously contrary to what God wants us to do, like when we sin. But when we make our own choices we are doing what He has given us the power to do. He may not like our choices but, nevertheless, He wants us to make our own choices.
Some people disagree with me and say that God is in complete control and that everything that happens is God’s will. But then we wouldn’t be guilty of sin, God would be.
You chose to marry your wife. God didn’t hold a shotgun to you.
Did you choose to believe in Christ or did some unseen power force you to believe, as the Calvinists would have you believe? You chose to believe in Jesus of your own free will.
Believe it or not, there are some Baptists who believe that God is in complete control and that you have no control over choosing to believe in Christ, that it was God’s explicit will that you accept Christ and that you had nothing to do with it. If God completely controlled each person’s actions then we would all be like angels, always doing right, like robots.
We are what we are because of the choices we make. God created mankind with a free will; free to choose as we wish. Adam, of his own free will, chose to sin; God didn’t force him to eat that fruit. Neither did Satan.
There are a few Baptists that call themselves Freewill Baptists, but they carry free will to an extreme. They are not like us. They are followers of an early church reformer named Jacob Arminius, so they are called Arminians. They believe in works for salvation among other errors.
If God doesn’t force us to sin…then who does make us commit sin? Satan, the Devil? No. Several years ago there was a black comedian on television, named Flip Wilson. He had a skit where he often would say, “The Devil made me do it!” Oftentimes we blame our sinning on the Devil. “It’s not my fault, the Devil made me do it!” Satan will tempt us, but the decision to sin is a choice we ourselves make. We have the Holy Spirit speaking into one ear and Satan speaking into the other. Which one do we choose to obey?
A grandfather had two dogs he kept in separate pens. He explained to his grandson,
“I have to keep these two dogs in separate pens, otherwise they would fight till one would finish off the other.”
“Which one would win the fight, Grandpa?”
“The one I feed the most.” He replied.
The grandpa continued, “I also have two dogs battling within my heart. One is the FLESH, it is filled with envy, hatred, murders, and wrath. The other is the SPIRIT, it is filled with love, joy, peace, and goodness.”
“Which one will win the fight, Grandpa?”
“The one I feed the most.”
God wants us to choose right. If we see sin God wants us to say, “I won’t even look at it!” Then turn our eyes away. He wants us to resist sin. It is God’s will that we choose to do right, of our own free will. Not because we have to, but because we want to.
Sometime before the Civil War, a good man went to a slave auction. While there he saw a young slave being sold after trying to escape. So out of compassion the good man bought the slave and then had a lawyer prepare a certificate of freedom, which he gave to the black man. The good man then went about his business but he noticed the Negro was following him every place he went, so the good man told the Negro, “I purchased you and I have now set you free. You are a free man. You may go anywhere you wish. You don’t have to stay with me.”
But the young Negro said, “I know, Massuh, but I want to stay with you.”
It’s that way with us…Jesus bought us and set us free from bondage to sin and then He set us free indeed. We may choose to stay with Jesus or we may choose to go our own way.
John 8:36 says, If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
We don’t belong to Jesus because He bought us…because He set us free indeed…we belong to Jesus because we gave ourselves to Him.
I sometimes hear a person say, "We belong to Jesus because He bought us with His own precious blood." No! That's not why we belong to Jesus! Yes, He did purchase our redemption with His own precious blood when He paid our sin-debt. He purchased us out of slavery to sin. He was acting as our kinsman-redeemer according to Leviticus 25:47-49. Now, He could have said that we had to pay Him back, but He didn't...after He purchased our redemption He set us free indeed. He didn't purchase our redemption because He wanted us to be His slave, He did it because He loves us. We're His brethren, not His slaves. We, who are His, belong to Him because we gave ourselves to Him. If you didn't give yourself to Jesus then you are not His.
2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
It’s this way with us…Jesus bought us, then set us free…but we said “I love my Master, I will not go out free.” In this way we gave ourselves to Jesus, thus we will serve Him…for how long? Forever.
1 Corinthians 7:23 says, Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Yes, Jesus paid a great price for us when he bought us out of bondage to sin…before He set us free.
John 8:32, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 14:6, Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Galations 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
God purchased us from bondage to sin, but then He set us free.
God doesn’t force us to choose to believe in Him. He doesn’t force us to love Him. He set us free. It’s like that saying, “If you love something turn it loose, if it comes back to you…its yours; if it doesn’t…it never was.”