MM00051 Freedom of choice
Mentoring Manna: Freedom of choice
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
Genesis 2:16-17 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘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.’” God created man and gave him the gift of a free will. God gave every tree to Adam and Eve as food but restricted only one tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented man’s freedom of choice. We have been given the choice to freely love and obey God and the freedom to choose not to love and obey Him.
God did not create us as robots, simply programmed to love and obey Him without choice. God wants our love, but love is real only when it is expressed out of a free will. Imagine if someone were to threaten you with a pointed gun saying, “You better say you love me or else I will pull the trigger!” In response we say, “Okay, okay. I love you!” Imagine the person then dropping the gun and saying with a sigh of relief, “Oh, I am so glad to know you love me!” Obviously, that is not real love. Love must be genuine and not coerced.
God knew that by giving him a free will, that man could use that free will to make ungodly choices. But God also knew that without a choice, man could not honestly choose to love God. God’s desire for love demanded that He take that risk. He wanted man’s love even at the risk of losing his love. In His foreknowledge, God knew men would disobey Him and then later come to regret their disobedience. He knew that man would one day desire His love and want to love Him too. So God provided Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb even before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). He did this to pay the penalty of man’s evil choices so that they might be forgiven and restored.
Adam and Eve lost their right standing with God through a choice of their own free will. Now God has ordained that we be saved through a choice of our free will. How? By choosing to believe upon and follow Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who is God’s answer for our sin. Adam and Eve lost their right standing before God by a rebellious choice at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now God has made it possible for man to be saved by a choice of submission at another tree---the cross of Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We can experience eternal life at the cross of Jesus. We each stand before the cross of Christ and must make a choice. Will we choose to believe and obey Him, or will we walk away? It is a freedom of choice.
Application: Many struggle with the presence of evil in our world. They struggle with good and evil. However, evil came to our world through the consequences of Adam and Eve’s choice. People then wonder why God didn’t stop Adam and Eve from eating the forbidden fruit. But, if He had taken away man’s freedom to choose, there would never be any such thing as true love. Love is an expression of choice. Choice is an expression of free will. Choices can bring blessing or they can bring consequences. The potential consequence of man’s choices was a risk God willingly embraced. However God loved us so much, that He provided for the error of our choices even before our first bad choice was made. Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus, the Lamb, was slain before the foundation of the world. God gave man a free will and then provided for his foolish choices through the death of His Son. It was a matter of His love. It was a matter of His free will. Don’t blame God for your problems. Our problems come from the consequences of our sinful choices, either of ours or those of others. But you can overcome by a choice to give your heart to Jesus and to follow Him for the rest of your life. Of course you can scoff and walk away. It is your freedom of choice.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I want to thank You for giving me a free will. Forgive me for using this freedom to hurt You and to made wrong decisions. Thank You for sending Jesus to remedy the bad choices I have made. I look upon His cross and accept by faith His sacrifice for my sin. I freely choose to give my life to You right now. I receive You as my Lord and my Savior. I choose to follow You from this day forward. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”