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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, February 29, 2016

THE ISSUE OF FREE WILL


THEOLOGY 101
     
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”  Ephesians 1:11

God has shown me….
nothing I have can be lost,
nothing is mine to lose.
I seek to possess….
"Don't worry" He says,
"It's all mine!"

His love is eternal
He has planned and prepared
for my life, day by day,
boundaries set, works ordained.
I'm free to relax and enjoy
all that He has done!

God has shown me….
I'm being molded by the Potter
who will make a vessel
of me for His intended use,
and ultimately, for His glory!

I can have peace in every circumstance
I know every challenge, every struggle
comes from His hand
and will be for my eternal good.

Aahh you say, ME
I'm in charge of my own destiny!
God has shown me….
our will is not free
if that be so, what chaos
there would be!

A little robot is what I am,
tucked into His sovereign will,
safe, secure and joyful as can be,
my heavenly Father has planned
everything that is
just perfect for me!

I wrote the above poem one day after doing a Bible study that so clearly pointed out the total sovereignty of God. And yet, someone in the class said, "Yes, God is sovereign, but we have a free will." This could be a paradox - God is in control, but He gives us a free will. No, I don't think so. How can someone be in control and allow freedom; it's got to be one or the other. God is God and can do anything He wants to do and it doesn't have to make sense to us.

Christianity is based on faith. We don't need to know all the answers; we need to walk in faith trusting our Creator. Sounds simple, but in reality, it isn't. Because of our humanity, and our egotism, we want to think things through and come up with our own ideas. This is when we get in trouble. God gave us His Living Word, the Bible. Some issues are crystal clear, i.e. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior and those who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life - John 3:16. In Romans 8:30, He describes a finished work. . .

"And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."

We who believe, reap the rewards of God's labor. The Bible says He's done it all! There is also what I would call vague teaching in the Bible. Jesus tells us that He will rise from the dead, enter haven and then at some future date, return. When he'll return is a mystery. I've been reading and studying the Book of Revelation. The creatures, future events and time sequences described in this book are still difficult for me to totally understand. Learned theologians can't come to an agreement on certain events.

When the debate is concerning 'free will', Scripture is very clear. In fact, when people write or speak about this subject, if they believe they have a free will, they never are able to make a Scriptural case. They are unable to because this isn't a Biblical principle. From Genesis to Revelation God is portrayed as sovereign.

"The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all." Psalm 103:19, see also Isaiah 45: 5-7

"The Lord works out everything for his own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster." Proverbs 16:4

"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:33

"As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so I will look after my sheep and rescue them..." Ezekiel 34:12

"I myself will tend my sheep (the believers) and have them lie down declares the Sovereign Lord...I will search for the lost...
Ezekiel 34:15 - 16

**He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" Daniel 4:35, also Job 42:2

I could go on for pages, but you get the essence of Biblical doctrine concerning God's sovereignty. I wish I could remember which of the old saints, someone like Martin Luther or Charles Spurgeon, called the doctrine of free-will "a self-idolatrous euphemism" - wow, what does that mean? In other words, you are saying "I'm more powerful than God and am free to do anything I want." It sounds so much nicer to say, "I have a free-will". This is not a humble attitude toward a sovereign God. Personally, I am honored to be God's loved, adored and cared for little robot! He choose me and is conforming me to the likeness of His Son.

This last sentence brings me to the issue of  'exhortations' in the Bible. While we are on earth, God is preparing us for eternity by getting the outside (our fleshly bodies) to match the inside which is Spirit-filled and totally acceptable to Him. He is conforming us. He knows us well enough to not count on our co-operation in this process. He just does it. Do you know. . .?

"...he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:27

Notice it doesn't say "in accordance with our will?" God has given us the power of His Holy Spirit - without it, we're dead men walking! All through the Bible you will find 'exhortations', which is an emphatic statement urging someone to do something. If you are a parent, you will understand completely. God is our heavenly Father - He treats us as His loved child. He wants what is best for us and this is why you see all the exhortations on how to live a good life; one that honors Him, and leads to contentment, not chaos.

I have five adult children. I exhort them because I love them and want them to have a good life. If they don't listen and get into trouble, I love them anyway and I'm still their mother. I say things like, be careful with your money, put your coat on it's cold outside, don't eat so much sugar, etc. Unlike a human parent, God uses our mistakes to help us learn what is good and what is not and to bring us into a closer relationship with Him.

Read through the Proverbs and you will find one exhortation after another! King Solomon who wrote the Proverbs was laying out a plan that will enable you to have a great life. Now, here's the problem - whenever an exhortation is presented, there appears to be a choice. You can listen to God, or be your own God.

Christians are not under the law of the Ten Commandments. God put the commandments in place to lead us to Jesus, Our Savior. Galatians 3:23 - 24. I take note of the fact that the very first commandment is "You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3 The problem with the concept of free-will is self-idolatry. We must not ever put ourselves above God and the idea that we can be sovereign over God is an abomination!!  

So, if you're one of the "I'm not a robot crowd", maybe you'll take this to the Lord and ask for direction from His word.

Thank you Lord for being my all in all. I'm so grateful that you love me too much to allow me to do my own thing - I'd get in so much trouble! Help others to understand that what you have written in Your Word is true, and the moment we say, "Yes Lord" our earthly journey will be peaceful. Worry and fear won't have power over us because You alone Lord are in charge.