The Pryor Times

November 15, 2012

God gives man the power of choice

On the Go
Steve LayEvangelist, Chouteau Hills Church of Christ

— When God made man, he did not make him like a machine that did whatever He wanted him to do.  Man is not a robot, totally controlled by his creator.  God gave man the power of choice.  He placed man in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15).  In verses 16 and 17, we are told what God commanded the man.  He said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

It was not difficult for man to understand what God had said.  He had a choice of either obeying God or disobeying Him.  The Bible defines sin as the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4).  Whenever man breaks God’s law, he is guilty of sin.  And “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  The choice we have then is actually the choice between life and death.  Disobedience is sin, which leads to spiritual death.

Each choice has a consequence.  Moses told God’s people of old in Deuteronomy 30:15, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.”  Later, in Jeremiah 21:8, God said, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” God continues giving man the power of choice today.  When we obey God we choose the way of life, but when we disobey God we choose the way of death.

God gives every one of us the right to choose the way of life and good, but unfortunately, most people choose the way of death and evil.  In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  It hurts me to think that most people will be lost, but that is what Jesus said, so it must be true.

Why is it that most people will be lost?  This question is especially pertinent, because I Timothy 2:4 says that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  God wants us to be saved, but the fact is that we cannot be saved without knowing the truth.  Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  That is the reason He commands us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (truth) to every creature (Mark 16:15-16).  Many people will be lost because they never hear the truth.

Although it is essential to know the truth, it is not enough just to know it.  In Matthew 7:21-27, Jesus teaches the importance of obeying His words.  He shows that it is foolish to disobey Him, just as it would be to build a house on sand, without a solid foundation.  James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus gives eternal salvation to those who obey Him.

But, what about those who do not obey Him?  We are told 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 that those who do not obey the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction.

That is where our choice comes into the picture.  When we hear God’s word, we can either choose life and good by obeying it, or we can choose death and evil by refusing to obey God.  If you want to choose the way of life, it can only be found in God’s word.  James 1:21 tells us that the implanted word is able to save our souls.  The fact is, the only way one can purify his soul is by obeying the truth (I Peter 1:22).  God’s word is truth (John 17:17).  Each of us can choose life by obeying God’s word, or we can choose death by rejecting God’s word.  God gives man the power of choice.  You can choose between life and death.  Which one will you choose?