Reading a passage in Jeremiah this morning, I was reminded that God gives us freewill and that the onus is on us to choose to do the right thing.
Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. – Jeremiah 23:28
We might cite this as an example of freedom of speech under the LORD’s authority. Because God is willing to permit anyone to say anything, it behooves believers who have been given his word to speak it faithfully.
The fact that our free will is recognized in Scripture is evident. In addressing the consequences of the blessings and curses of God, Deuteronomy 30:19 makes it clear: we have the freedom to choose life. Joshua 24:15 speaks of choosing whom we shall serve. John 7:17 mentions a person’s will to do God’s will. In fact that is what obedience to God is all about: freely choosing to do God’s will. It doesn’t mean God forces you into submission to religious laws.
God does not force obedience on anyone. But no one can exercise freedom without assuming responsibility for their choices. For every choice we make, according to the exercise of our free will, there are predictable consequences – predictable because God has created an ordered, balanced universe. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Reality is not arbitrary, but rational and characterized by cause and effect.
So, those who choose to rebel against God will accordingly pay the consequences for what they have done.
There are two seductive arguments against this statement. First, as recorded in Genesis 3, Satan was able to entice Adam and Eve to sin (rebel against the authority of God) by using doubt (skepticism). He asked rhetorically whether or not God really commanded them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And once doubt had been introduced into their thinking, Satan appealed to their human pride, suggesting that God had ulterior motives to telling them not to eat from that particular tree. And this argument continues to be used today.
Secondly, is the foolish denial that God is real, relegating God to a position of merely being a product of Man’s creative imagination. There is no exuse for this argument because what can be known about God has been made abundantly clear from the beginning (Romans 1:20). Those who use this argument willfully cover their eyes and only see what they want to see. They particularly refuse to regard holy Scripture, the God-breathed word that reveals himself to all who are open to receive it.
Since doubt and pride are very real things that we human beings experience, it is understandable that those states of mind might lead a person to sin (again, keeping it clear, sin is rebelling against God). But to insist that God is not real, in order to rationalize not recognizing his authority over you, requires a significant presupposition of the will in which the individual assumes god-like authority over his own life.
Once this presupposition is made, the individual has no cause to examine the evidence. Such a person makes himself out to be a god whose mind is made up. And that’s all that matters.
The error of this kind of thinking is that those who are enticed by it will suddenly, in the end, be confronted with the reality that God has authority over them, regardless of their denials. God doesn’t need their permission. He is the One – the only One – who is in authority.
That is what the Bible says. Jeremiah’s prophecy said, “…let him who has my word speak my word faithfully,” which I have tried to do here. The reader has the freedom to accept it or reject it, but there will come a time when we all “reap what we sow” (that means deal with the consequences of our own actions). Galatians 6:7 instructs, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
God gives us freedom. But don’t think your freedom means you are not responsible for your choices. Consequences will come. They are inevitable, unavoidable. For the sake of your own eternal destination, pay attention to God’s revelations. Don’t ignore them. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” – John 14:6.
Choose life. Serve the LORD. Do God’s will. Receive Christ.