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Freedom to Choose (#3 and last in series)

Alcatraz

I remember hearing many years ago that God is a Gentleman who doesn’t force his will on anyone. It must have been clear to me then that the point was that God has given each of us a free will that he won’t violate.

Over time I’ve heard others add that if someone doesn’t accept Christ before they die, they won’t repent afterward.  Because of the evil of their hearts, they will stubbornly choose to live in hell forever rather than to bow the knee to their Creator.

In support of such a view, some have quoted what C. S. Lewis imagined in his book The Great Divorce. He pictured an afterlife where people could continue to choose their way away from God until they were a mere shadow of what they had been. But if I’m not mistaken, Lewis’s own story of conversion is that he recalls being dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God– until one day, on the way to the zoo, he arrived realizing he was a believer.

And what about Paul on the road to Damascus? Did anyone hate Jesus more than him?

What about all of the felons who when they realize they might spend the rest of their life behind bars begin offering up information on “bigger fish” in hopes of getting a reduced sentence?

And what about us? How many of us have a story of faith that makes us the God-seeking hero of our own belief in Christ? How many of us credit ourselves for our good sense in choosing Jesus?

I don’t claim for a minute to understand how it all works. And I do believe the gift of free will is a real and wonderful mystery. But I also suspect that “freedom to choose” might be a greatly overrated argument and wishful thinking when it comes to how the lost will want no mercy after death.

Note– Again, please keep in mind that I realize that there is plenty of Scripture that, depending on how it is interpreted, can be used to support all sides of this argument. So this is not about my wanting– or being willing– to argue with anyone here. 

And… no mortal but me is responsible for these thoughts…

So please remember that for several years, this blog has not been affiliated with Our Daily Bread Ministries which is not responsible for anything I write here.


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47 Responses to “Freedom to Choose (#3 and last in series)”

  1. poohpity says:

    I do agree that people can and will use scripture to prove the point one is trying to make but to me it just so seems like taking pieces of a puzzle away from their context or content to form another puzzle picture of their choosing not what they were intended for just shows how out of touch they we are with God. We seem to want things to be how we want things to be and one can use scripture to make that happen in their sight.

    For instance in 1 Peter 3:18-20 “The meaning of those verses do not seem to be completely clear and commentators have explained them in many different ways. The traditional interpretation is that Christ between His death and resurrection, announced salvation to God’s faithful followers who had been waiting for their salvation during the the whole OT era. Matthew records that when Jesus died, “many godly men and women who had died came back to life again” (Matt 27:52-53) Other commentators think this passage says that Christ’s spirit was in Noah as he preached to those imprisoned by sin. Still others hold that Christ went to Hades to proclaim His victory to the fallen angles imprisoned there since Noah’s day (2 Peter 2:4). In any case, the passage shows that Christ’s Good news is not limited. It has been preached in the past as well as in the present, it has gone to the dead as well as the living. God has given everyone the opportunity to come to Him, but this does not mean a second chance for those who reject Christ in this life.”

    Could that be the unforgivable sin mentioned in scripture?

  2. street says:

    attitude

    thinking about attitude. never thought of it as a relationship between two.

    17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

    18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

    19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

    20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned

    21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

    22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

    23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

    24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

  3. street says:

    thinking
    bondage of the will

    Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do.

    oswald chambers

  4. Beloved says:

    I have family members who having once heard the gospel and believed decided to reject it- Christ. Living for greed alone they declare anyone with low income is useless and worthless- except for their laborers of course. Their god is green who pays them with a false sense of superiority- in this world. If I bank on a universal salvation then why pray for them? Or for any and all? That’s the rabbit hole we find ourselves in in my probably wrong opinion. Or, do we pray so ourselves and others may enjoy God now? Or or or?

  5. jeff1 says:

    Holy Spirit, come, confirm us
    in the truth that Christ makes known;
    we have faith and understanding
    through your helping gifts alone.

    2 Holy Spirit, come, console us,
    come as advocate to plead,
    loving Spirit from the Father,
    grant in Christ the help we need.

    3 Holy Spirit, come, renew us,
    come yourself to make us live,
    holy through your loving presence,
    holy through the gifts you give.

    4 Holy Spirit, come, possess us,
    you the love of Three in One,
    Holy Spirit of the Father,
    Holy Spirit of the Son.

    based on John 14: 25-27Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); 16: 12-15

  6. poohpity says:

    This week on Discover the Word is a series on “Mental Health in the Bible”.

  7. Beloved says:

    Paul said:
    Hebrews4: 1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

  8. Beloved says:

    Pray for Israel and peace in Jerusalem

  9. Beloved says:

    Hebrews10: 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses

    dies without mercy

    on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God,

    and has profaned lthe blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

    30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

  10. bratimus says:

    Well since I’m still half alive, I’m not going to try and guess at how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit deal with a soul after the death of the flesh.

    Jesus did say let the dead bury the dead and we should follow Him.
    I’m still half alive so I’m going to deal with the living before the death of the flesh and leave after the death of the Flesh in God’s hands for that is God’s business and not mine.

    i’m going to let God deal with life and death, and try to live the best life I can through and for Christ.

    There are some things way over my pay grade.

    I probably can tell you do to some behaviors of people, how God is going to react to the living.

    I won’t speculate or guess how
    God is going to react to a soul after the death of the flesh.

    The dead can bury the dead, I will follow Christ orders from Christ.

    Need to be careful that our personal hopes and wish don’t lead us away from Christ.

    In Christ Jesus name

    Bratimus

  11. jeff1 says:

    Not sure how people who don’t believe in a Creator are ever going to get to the point of accepting Christ if they don’t believe He existed.

    I didn’t choose Jesus and He didn’t force Himself on me but I was brought up to believe in Him and it never has been a lack of belief on my part that caused waywardness or doubt.

    That came about through the division in religions and I allowed myself to be side tracked from the truth but my dad as always gave me good advice when it came to God.

    Firstly, it is for me to follow Him and not the other way around.

    When I was following my religious beliefs I was changing God to suit them which my dad knew was wrong and he let me know it though not in an aggressive or angry way but so that I would see that I needed to keep fixed on Christ as an example and not others.

    That’s a lesson I learned and don’t want to forget as there are many distractions that are unhealthy and misleading so for those of us who are putting our trust in Christ we already are rewarded by not just knowing but being assured of His presence.

    Personally I think it must be hellish living in this world without that assurance and comfort.

  12. jeff1 says:

    Need to be careful that our personal hopes and wish don’t lead us away from Christ.

    In Christ Jesus name

    Bratimus

    I couldn’t agree with you more as it is a slippery slope.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    Still in Revelation I read of a New Jerusalem, a city where no sin nor sinners can enter. Only those written in the Lambs book of life.

    From under the throne upon which God and the Lamb set, a river of water flows. On either side of this river the tree of life stands. Apparently there is more than one since it stands on both sides.

    It bears 12 “manners” of fruit each month and its leaves are for the healing of the nations.

    12 different fruits for what would seem to be gives eternal life (Genesis 3:22 KJV) and its leaves for the healing of the nations.

    Personally I don’t think that the leaves are meant as an ecological healing of the ecosystem on earth, but rather the nations being the different peoples, it is the people who are in need of healing.

    Following Jesus’ lead, I am to forgive those who sin against me. To make friends of my enemies. To be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this.

    I still look on sin as a sickness in the heart of mankind and believe that nothing is withheld from God’s will.

    God will make a way.

    Steve

  14. poohpity says:

    bratimus, I could not agree more. I trust God! He has the best in mind for all mankind and if I trust Him, I think I will do well in living life in the here and now as well as eternally.

    It amazes me, well not really, that people leave out the very examples of Christ we are to live and concentrate on while alive rather than the things we have no control over or really understand but think they do. If I do not see a reflection of Christ in one’s life I will sure not listen to their take on anything controversial especially if I know they have a very limited knowledge of the things that matter the most(still drinking milk) and certainly will be unable to digest anything to do with the meat of scripture. (1 Cor 3:1-3 NLT; 1 Peter 2:2)

  15. jeff1 says:

    For the fruits of his creation,
    thanks to be God!
    For his gifts to every nation,
    thanks be to God!
    For the ploughing, sowing, reaping,
    silent growth while we are sleeping;
    future needs in earth’s safe keeping,
    thanks be to God!

    2 In the just reward of labour,
    God’s will is done;
    in the help we give our neighbour,
    God’s will is done:
    in our world-wide task of caring
    for the hungry and depairing;
    in the harvests we are sharing,
    God’s will is done.

    3 For the harvest of the Spirit,
    thanks be to God!
    For the good we all inherit,
    thanks be to God!
    For the wonders that surround us;
    for the truths that still confound us;
    most of all, that love has found us,
    thanks be to God!

  16. Beloved says:

    But if I’m not mistaken, Lewis’s own story of conversion is that he recalls being dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God– until one day, on the way to the zoo, he arrived realizing he was a believer.

    I’ve heard others say the same, that they feel they are literally hanging on to Jesus feet while He pulls them into the kingdom. In my sanctification process there have been times I realized how hard- painful even to give up things I loved- people also-,yet I knew Jesus enough to recognize and decide that He was all in all for me. At times the enemy has approached me with the reminder of my “free will” and maybe I should think again. Unfortunately and sadly in my lifetime I’ve tried or done most everything the world offers. (except for the lgbtq community which is popular today).

    So, am I kept because of my choices(s) or Gods? I’d say both. The Light was always brighter and I was always afraid in the darkness. And as I mentioned before, Jesus, who bears the Light is a far far better friend than I’ve ever seen or had.

  17. jeff1 says:

    THINE be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
    endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won;
    angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
    kept the folded grave-clothes where thy body lay:

    Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
    endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won.

    2 Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
    lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
    let the Church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
    for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting:

    3 No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of Life;
    life is nought without thee: aid us in our strife;
    make us more than conquerors through thy deathless love;
    bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above:

    Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
    endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won.

  18. street says:

    i’ll be going to Mount Hope tomorrow and will leave this behind. sorry. if you must be born again? how is it that you have a choice in this? i am pro life, but not pro ignorance?

  19. street says:

    so why the Gospel?

    John 10

  20. SFDBWV says:

    There is just so much to say here in the content of our discussion it is impossible to cover it all because it is a summary of a lifetime of believing. A lifetime of experience, a lifetime relationship with the Holy Spirit. Something that should be continually growing.

    And what is growing, but changing or seeing more clearly what it is God is saying to us. Through His written word as well as His constant presence with us in our hearts and minds.

    If you remember my sharing with you the dream I had as a child about going along a steep uphill pathway in the dark with the ground around dimly lit, in the company of a few others and led by a man. The going hard and difficult. In the dark star lit sky above I could hear the sounds of what sounded like the flapping of wings. When I ask our leader what those sounds were he told me they were the sounds of angels going from the throne of God to the people of earth ministering to them.

    When I said “Hey I want wings too so I don’t have to struggle along this pathway”, a voice out of the darkness above said “No Steven this is the path you have to travel, but don’t worry you will make it.”

    If you consider the journey from birth to death a long walk back to God at any point along the path you are where you are. You aren’t where you were and you haven’t gotten any further.

    This is where wisdom and knowledge is. As we trek along our journey back to God if we are still forging forward and upward we are learning more. If we stop anywhere in the walk and think that the journey of learning is over we are no further along. And we may find we have a long way to go.

    Everybody’s journey is at different places than you.

    29 degrees f and clear. Three days of below freezing mornings in a row.

    Steve

  21. jeff1 says:

    My dad’s knowledge of the Bible (drinking milk) compared to my peers who could quote you chapter in verse if they wanted to justify their beliefs, on the other hand, was quite impressive.

    I know who knew God better from his words, actions and advice to keep my focus on Christ.

    Since that it takes more than quoting me Scripture to convince me that you are any closer to God.

    C. S. Lewis says its safe to say its the ‘pure in heart’
    see God and so perhaps God is not as impressed by our knowledge and more attuned to how we live our lives.

    Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they shall see our God;
    the secret of the Lord is theirs,
    their soul is Christ’s abode.

    2 The Lord who left the heavens
    our life and peace to bring,
    to dwell in lowliness with us,
    our pattern and our king;

    3 still to the lowly soul
    he doth himself impart,
    and for his dwelling and his throne
    chooseth the pure in heart.

    4 Lord, we thy presence seek;
    may ours this blessing be:
    give us a pure and lowly heart,
    a temple meet for thee.

    based on Matthew 5: 8

  22. street says:

    Since that it takes more than quoting me Scripture to convince me that you are any closer to God.

    it will take Agape. God’s presents.

    thinking of the scribes and pharisees reaction to God’s presents. thinking of the disciples reaction to God’s presents. need a bigger boat…..?

    Narrow Gate

  23. jeff1 says:

    Lord of creation, giver of gladness,
    in celebration we come today;
    loved ones around us, hope shining strongly,
    your love completing our deepest joy.

    2 Lord of our past days, life’s rich surprises,
    clearing our pathways you wisely led:
    through painful learning we have moved forward,
    working and earning our daily bread.

    3 Lord of tomorrow: what will it bring us?
    Blessing or sorrow, all unexplored:
    each situation calls us to trust you,
    our true Salvation is Christ the Lord.

    4 Lord, in your keeping, we are safe always;
    waking or sleeping you watch us still:
    save us from losing love’s precious jewel.
    help us in choosing your gracious will.

  24. jeff1 says:

    And what about us? How many of us have a story of faith that makes us the God-seeking hero of our own belief in Christ? How many of us credit ourselves for our good sense in choosing Jesus?

    Why would any believer who trusts God is a ‘God of Love and Mercy’ when it comes to their own Salvation want Him to be any different toward those who have fallen away or have not believed to begin with.

    Consider this is your God a ‘God of Love’ when you want Him to be and a ‘God of Wrath’ when you don’t and my problem with that is that we are told God never changes and so it might be good to consider if it is I who changes God to suit my desires except I forget that God isn’t going to do my will but His own and so if I seem far from God today it might just be my lack of choosing God’s will.

    Sinner Saved by Grace

    If you could see
    What I once was
    If you could go with me
    Back to where I started from
    Then, I know you would see
    A miracle of Love that put me
    In it’s sweet embrace
    And made me what I am today
    Just an old sinner
    Saved by grace

    I’m just a sinner
    Saved by grace
    When I stood condemned to death
    He took my place
    Now I live and breathe in freedom
    With each breath of life I take
    Loved and forgiven
    Backed with a living
    I’m just a sinner
    Saved by grace

    How could I boast on anything
    I’ve ever seen or done
    How could I dare to claim as mine
    The victories God has won
    Where would I be
    Had God not brought me
    Gently to this place
    I’m here to say I’m nothing but
    A sinner saved by grace

    I’m just a sinner
    Saved by grace
    When I stood condemned to death
    He took my place
    Now I grow and breathe in freedom
    With each breath of life I take
    I’m loved and forgiven
    Backed with a living
    I’m just a sinner
    Saved by grace

    Now I grow and breathe in freedom
    With each breath of life I take
    I’m loved and forgiven
    Back with the living
    I’m just a sinner
    Saved by grace
    Saved by grace

  25. poohpity says:

    Viv, from the way you describe your dad it seems he was more of a solid food eater than a milk drinker. He sounded like he lived what he said he believed by his close relationship with God.

    If one really thinks about what child while living on milk tries to get to know their parents and it isn’t until they start to eat solid food that they look outside themselves to everything around them. That is what it seems as described as the difference spiritually in milk and meat. I do not think knowledge of scripture really fits that.

    It would seem that some may have knowledge of scripture for knowledge sake and then there are those who desire to know God better through scripture to get closer to Him but it is not really up to any other human being to determine the heart of the one reading them. Lewis was one who started to read the bible for knowledge sake but it turned into belief through them and then writing stories to bring in people to what they say in a neat kinda way. So putting people down for reading the bible just because one does not read it, is petty. Now that seems to describe what spiritual milk is.

  26. poohpity says:

    Just as petty as arguing about life after death when those are things we are only given a glimpse of and will never know about until we meet the Lord face to face but do not live what we have been given to know and fail to practice.

  27. poohpity says:

    Because I am not very good at describing the move from milk to solid food here it is in the words of another;

    But above all, to grow in spiritual maturity, we must shed worldliness. Because we are united to Christ by faith in his life, death, and resurrection, we are new creations. We are not who we once were. So why would we want to live like we are? Let us put off our old way of life—the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors of this world— and “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10). Let us live like the holy and set apart people that we are.

    While the Bible calls us to come to Christ like little children, dependent upon his grace, we are not to remain as children. We are to grow and mature in the faith, moving from milk to solid food. May we feast on God’s Word, savor its taste, and hunger for it all our days.”

    Paul describes milk as the arguments between believers that DO NOT lead to unity but cause division and following other believer even if they are not leading us in truth but into strange philosophies, superstitions, things built on man’s thoughts and ideologies rather than on Christ.

  28. jeff1 says:

    I tell you what is petty, Pooh, Bible readers trying to make
    those less Biblically taught feel as in they are someway less of a Christian because they aren’t knowledgeable.

    The Christians that have impacted my life are those with hearts for God as without that you can get the Bible to fit anything you want it too and the differences among Christians is proof of that.

    The only people I see putting down is yourself and no one is arguing about life after death just giving opinions but again because it doesn’t agree with your scriptural interpretation I must be wrong and you must be right.

    The only person gets it right is God so there is no arguing as far as I am concerned.

  29. bratimus says:

    I like eating fruits sometimes I will come a cross a piece of fruit and the skin of the fruit doesn’t look so good, little scared and not the brightest skin on it. The under is very tasty and good. I have had fruit that the skin of the fruit looks perfect, but the fruit itself is dried out and just nasty and gross on the inside. This reminds me of Christians, some the appearance isn’t much or they don’t have much in the way of the world, in their heart the are truly faithful to Christ. Then there are those Christians that their outward appearance is good and they have many things of this world but their rotten to the core at the heart.

    The this makes me think of Jesus and the fig tree when there was not fruit Jesus commanded it to wither.

    So when it come to God judging man, could it be something like my experiences eating fruit, what you think God is going to do when God comes to a piece dried out and just nasty and gross inside.

    This is why tend to stick with the lesson from Jesus in the Gospels.

    I would say everyone one in here when you come across the dry and nasty gross tasting fruit, you throw it out.

    In Christ Jesus name

    Bratimus

  30. Beloved says:

    Actually, bratimus, I was just thinking the same thing. Ignore it- The bait I mean.

  31. Beloved says:

    I’ve been mulling over this:
    I don’t claim for a minute to understand how it all works. And I do believe the gift of free will is a real and wonderful mystery. But I also suspect that “freedom to choose” might be a greatly overrated argument and wishful thinking when it comes to how the lost will want no mercy after death.

    My question then is this, does mercy end at the judgement? I do not know.

  32. jeff1 says:

    This joyful Eastertide
    away with sin and sorrow!
    My Love, the crucified,
    hath sprung to life this morrow:

    Had Christ, that once was slain,
    ne’er burst his three-day prison,
    our faith had been in vain:
    but now hath Christ arisen.

    2 My flesh in hope shall rest,
    and for a season slumber;
    till trump from east to west
    shall wake the dead in number:

    3 Death’s flood hath lost its chill,
    since Jesus crossed the river;
    Lover of souls, from ill
    my passing soul deliver:

    Refrain based on 1 Corinthians 15: 13-14
    v. 2 based on Psalm 16: 9

  33. Beloved says:

    Actually I’m a little afraid to speculate further knowing the deceitfulness of the heart and the emotions. I must stick to what scripture so plainly says- the gospel alluded to in the OT and proclaimed in the New.

  34. SFDBWV says:

    When I was a very young child I used to look up into the starry night sky and feel “homesick.”

    I remember because as I grew and matured it always seemed odd to me that I would feel homesick at home while looking up into the night sky.

    I started to write this morning about how the Bible came to be edited, published and into our hands, but for now decided to forego that because whatever I said would be quickly misinterpreted and attacked.

    Viv’s dad is right focus on Jesus and listen to that still small voice in your heart.

    See you in the morning, unless snatched away which is my constant prayer for Matt, Glenna and I…But then I remember that voice in the darkness overhead that said “No Steven this is the way you have to go…”

    Steve

  35. Beloved says:

    Reformed perspective:

    The fact that our free decisions are part of the ordained purposes of God in no way lessons the reality of our freedom. RC Sproul

  36. jeff1 says:

    In this world of casual carelessness
    it’s discouraging to try
    To keep your morals and standards
    and our ideals high . . .
    We are ridiculed and laughed at
    by the smart sophisticate
    Who proclaims in brittle banter
    that such things are out of date . . .
    But no life is worth the living
    unless its built on truth,
    And we lay our life’s foundation
    in the golden years of youth . . .
    So allow no one to stop you
    or hinder you from laying
    A firm and strong foundation
    made of faith and love and praying . . .
    And remember that ideals
    are like stars up in the sky,
    You can never really reach them,
    hanging in the heavens high . . .
    But like the mighty mariner
    who sailed the storm-tossed sea,
    And used the stars to chart his course
    with skill and certainty,
    You too can chart your course in life
    with high ideals and love,
    For high ideals are like the stars
    that light the sky above . . .
    You cannot ever reach them,
    but lift your heart up high
    And your life will be as shining
    as the stars up in the sky.

  37. street says:

    I remember hearing many years ago that God is a Gentleman who doesn’t force his will on anyone. It must have been clear to me then that the point was that God has given each of us a free will that he won’t violate.

    i have to smile and wonder about the greatness of the story of jonah today. how God accomplishes His will regardless of how we feel or think. jonah for example. the unchanging purposeful intent of God’s Sovereignty and Grace to people who do not understand how far they are from God. His mercy is indeed Great.

    looking forward to seeing a very joyful Jonah with nothing to brag about, but His LORD. a true joy and a true thankfulness that will never end.

  38. Beloved says:

    Yes, that makes me smile also. Oh boy how great to see so many we’ve read about through the years! That great cloud of witnesses that’s cheering us on. Cloud- I Cloud ha ha.

  39. Beloved says:

    Could that be the unforgivable sin mentioned in scripture?

    “The third commandment follows the second commandment not to worship false idols, the disobedience of which is called idolatry. Idolatry one way or another is the basis of all sin. Blasphemy, which comes next, is the sin of sins. It is the lie of lies, the use of God to hide your sins rather than to repair them.” Cited

  40. Beloved says:

    from Glimpses of the Devil, M Scott Peck

  41. foreverblessed says:

    Mart wants us to think about how God deals with us humans
    And that He does not violate our free will!

    Mart gives the example of Saul, who really hated Jesus, and yet God finds a way so that Saul in his own free will chooses for Jesus.
    I remember Spurgeon praying for the unbelievers:
    “God, work in their circumstances as you did with Saul, do they happily will chose for Jesus!

    So he asks, is not our free wi overrated?
    And then he says, whatever you think, you can get bible verses to prove your point, so he is not going to argue about it.

    But it is good to see how God worked in circumstances in people’s lives.

    Jonah is a good example too!

    And what to think about Mary of Magdela?
    Jesus became very dear to her, because Jesus had freed her of 7 evil spirits. They actually know the amount, 7!

    In the series of “the Chosen” it is very well described how Jesus intervenes miraculously in each of the lives of His followers.
    For instance: Mary of Magdela explains to Nicodemus how she got freed. Mary says: “I don’t know what happened, but it was HIM!
    Everything that happened between my past and now is because of Him.
    Out of her own free will she chose for Jesus!

  42. foreverblessed says:

    Oud free will is deaf to God.
    I believe it is the same as in romance:
    You want the other to have freely chosen for yourself, and vice versa.
    A choice out of pure love!

  43. foreverblessed says:

    Our free will is dear to God

    Sorry sorry for not having proofread before posting.

    But how God uses circumstances so that we see with our own eyes How Much He loves us.

    That He leaves the 99 to go after the 1 that is lost.

  44. SFDBWV says:

    Nothing gets closer to a person’s psyche than their faith.

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things unseen.

    But religion is how we practice belief.

    It is written that God wrote eternity on the hearts of man.

    Apparently we don’t have a choice to somewhere in our psyche believe that there is something more to life than these miserable years we spend here on earth before death.

    The accepted answer for God placing the concept of eternity on our hearts is so that we look for Him.

    I agree.

    Without that added help from God in the creation of us we would be like we may think of an ignorant animal or fish, just existing in order to eat and procreate.

    It is also written that faith is a gift from God.

    I agree.

    God influences, helps, pushes and in some cases frightens or punishes us in order to make the right “choices”.

    The question then might be, will He make the “choice” for us?

    “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” John 15:16 KJV

    The thing remains for us not to put God in a box, but remember He is God, not us.

    Steve

  45. poohpity says:

    Did we choose God or did He choose us?

    John Piper writes in an article titled, “One of the Most Important Principles in Reading the Bible”

    Sometimes readers of the Bible see the conditions that God lays down for his blessing and they conclude from these conditions that our action is first and decisive, then God responds to bless us.

    That is not right.

    There are indeed real conditions that God often commands. We must meet them for the promised blessing to come. But that does not mean that we are left to ourselves to meet the conditions or that our action is first and decisive.

    Here is one example to show what I mean.

    In Jeremiah 29:13 God says to the exiles in Babylon, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” So there is a condition: When you seek me with all your heart, then you will find me. So we must seek the Lord. That is the condition of finding him.

    True.

    But does that mean that we are left to ourselves to seek the Lord? Does it mean that our action of seeking him is first and decisive? Does it mean that God only acts after our seeking?

    No.

    Listen to what God says in Jeremiah 24:7 to those same exiles in Babylon: “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”

    So the people will meet the condition of returning to God with their whole heart. God will respond by being their God in the fullest blessing. But the reason they returned with their whole heart is that God gave them a heart to know him. His action was first and decisive.

    So now connect that with Jeremiah 29:13. The condition there was that they seek the Lord with their whole heart. Then God will be found by them. But now we see that the promise in Jeremiah 24:7 is that God himself will give them such a heart so that they will return to him with their whole heart.

    This is one of the most basic things people need to see about the Bible. It is full of conditions we must meet for God’s blessings. But God does not leave us to meet them on our own. The first and decisive work before and in our willing is God’s prior grace. Without this insight, hundreds of conditional statements in the Bible will lead us astray.

    Let this be the key to all Biblical conditions and commands: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13). Yes, we work. But our work is not first or decisive. God’s is. “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

  46. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Steve!
    Wonderful truth.
    That peace of written truth makes me really glad!

    Without God’s Grace we were nowhere!
    With God’s Grace, God looks for our full heart,
    I could only read your comment when logged in.
    So just fill in my thoughts here.

    I read in a devotion, wax it my utmost, somewhere in May.
    All the commands Jesus gives are meant for the life of Jesus IN us.

    I have read this before, but for some reason it really hits me hard this year.
    Everything Jesus tells us is for the Life of Christ in us, because He has worked it already.
    I could suit this in the next topic:
    The born again topic.

    We must be born of the Spirit to be able to be anything, let alone do anything spiritually.

  47. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry, I wanted to read Steve’s comment, and had to login, but apparently Pooh posted in between time, so it was Pooh, who posted John Pipers writing about God and the conditions of God.

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