Choice and Salvation
Joshua said to the Israelites, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
The possibilities of life for every man are ultimately reduced to two choices. One is to love God and the result is living life in all its fullness and salvation (1 Timothy 2:3,4). The alternative is to reject God’s love, and accept the world instead. And the result is having what the world will offer and sharing the destiny of evil doers at the end of time-eternal death. God sets before men life and death and urges them to choose life. But He does not interfere with their contrary choice, nor does He protect them from its natural results.
God’s will was revealed from the very beginning of time. He permitted Satan to exercise his free will to rebel against Him. He also permitted Adam and Eve to choose disobedience. Cain and Abel were free to reject God’s sacrificial system as well. And Cain eventually turned from the Lord. Thus, God does not wish to be worshiped by programmed creatures. For He wants His creatures to have a loving relationship with Him based on their choice and knowledge of His character.
Moses wrote, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Any service that is not voluntary is useless. Not only is the freedom of choice an important element in our relationship with God, it is a major key to success in our Christian walk.
The apostle Paul understood the role of choice in one’s salvation when he wrote: “I discipline my body… let, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Every act a believer does is based on his taking a choice for good or for evil. Righteousness is never a programmed provision that takes us to heaven no matter how we live and if we really don’t want to go.
Choice also means we’re always free to change our mind, that’s why Jesus asks us to choose Him and reaffirm our choice every day. He says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means that the soul must be in daily connection with Christ and must live His life (Galatians 2:20). We can have the assurance of salvation if we keep our eyes on Christ and hold fast to His Word. But if we believe that once we accept Jesus we can turn away from Him and still be saved we will be faced with a great disappointment.
In His service,