Free Will: Putting A Smile On God’s Face

Freewill!

What is freewill?

Dictionary.com:  made or done freely or of one’s own accord; voluntary(2)of or relating to the metaphysical doctrine of the freedom of the will.

Webster’s New World Dictionary:  freely given or done; voluntary(2)of or holding the doctrine of freewill(3)freedom of decision or choice between alternatives(4)the freedom of the will to choose a course of action without external coercion but in accordance with the ideals or moral outlook of the individual(b)the doctrine that people have such freedom – determination.

American Heritage Dictionary/New College Edition:  (1)the power or discretion to choose; free choice(2)the belief that man’s choices ultimately are or can be voluntary and not by external causes(3)done of one’s own accord; voluntary

New Comprehensive International Dictionary:  (1)the power of self-determination regarded as a special faculty(2)the doctrine that man is entirely unrestricted in his ability to choose between good and evil(3)opposed to determinism(4)made, done, or given of one’s own free choice-voluntary. 

As you can see, they vary a little bit from each other but they all talk about freedom, choice, free, or voluntary.  Only one refers to morals and only one refers to choosing between good and bad.

Freewill has nothing to do with the end game or end result.  Faith is a journey and what sustains us to the end.  The end is spending eternity with Jesus.  Freewill has everything to do with the moment by moment choices we make throughout the day. Am I going to put a smile on God’s face at the end of the day.  Am I going to accept the fact that God has already counted the cost.  Or, am I going to make things easier for myself by making that moment turn in my favor.  In so doing, I get out of the stress that moment would have brought.  It is human nature for man to not want to live with the burden of pain.  Why say to me we have freewill  if I make a choice that is out of line with God’s will?  I thought that since I have freewill, my choices would be free of external coercion.

If you think about it, one could say ‘the deck is stacked’.  Since man wants to avoid pain, and spending eternity in hell would be full of pain, then he chooses to live a good life, one that is guided by morals.  A life lived that put a smile on God’s face at the end of the day.  If a man wants to live a life free of morals and he is free from outside pressure then why can he not get into Paradise?  The answer is God abhors evil.  He cannot live with evil.  Why?  God is love eternally.  Evil comes from Satan. The status of that relationship is they are diabolically opposed for all perpetuity. Life is temporary, Jesus is eternal.

For the Christian, evil is considered the most potent and dangerous weapon used against the believer and the ability to choose God.  It makes it harder to believe that God knows all and exists.  From a Christian standpoint, God allows evil to exist because of freewill.  He allows it to exist on a temporary basis so that those who choose to love Him freely will one day dwell with Him in heaven but with their freewill intact, free from the influence of evil.  God’s intention concerning evil is to one day destroy it.  Those who do not love Him or acknowledge Him will be hard pressed to find any alternative for how things came to be.  

Let us look at moral attributes.  If my actions are calculated to help one succeed then why should one perform them.  For Christians, the fixed point of morality – what constitutes right and wrong – is a straight line that leads directly back to God. If there is no God, there is no real reason to be moral.  There would be no standard of what moral behavior is.  As a philosopher pointed out, “if God does not exist then everything is permissible.”  According to the Christian doctrine of freewill – with the ability to choose, you are actually making two decisions at once.  If you choose to follow one then you are choosing not to follow thee other.  If you choose to follow God then you are also choosing not to follow Satan and vica versa.  In the end, you are free to make a choice but there are consequences for making that choice. Morals have everything to do with freewill.  It has everything to do with the choices that we make and live out for others to see.  We chose God because He chooses us.

FOOTNOTES
Articles and other resource materials

 

Mercy

Mercy, in the face of or in the wake of a great threat.  We are facing that danger in these times and yet we were made for days such as these.  Days in which we have the opportunity to have an impact – a potential “God sized impact” – on the earth. One that would increase the members of the Body of Christ.  God’s saving and sovereign promises mentioned in the Bible convey the extent of His mercy, many of which are fulfilled.  God is faithful and merciful yet some believers and gentiles squander the opportunity and privileges this affords.  Letting sin mislead or misdirect from the straight and narrow path that God has set us on.  Despite all that God’s is unchanged by unfaithfulness.  In otherwords, unbelief is not a failure for God.  It is an opportunity for us to see the power, mercy and grace that God extends to us to create us into something masterful and unique.  God’s love for us is eternal, faithful and true.

God’s sovereign mercy is specifically directed.  It is specifically directed at our sin and His intention is to erradicate it from the body that He created in His image. How have I seen God’s sovereign mercy in my life?  That promise of mercy is referenced to Abraham by God – “and Sarah will be with child at this time, next year.”  As a child of God all believers are co-heirs but it is God’s choice to determine the heir and He did.  God chose His Son, Jesus Christ.  I cannot save a loved one from death, God can!

So what does God’s sovereign mercy and glory reveal about Him?  That He is holy, trustworthy, is in control, forgiving, a living God that is always present.  This makes it easier to face God in times of trial and great threats that come our way in our journey with God.  If  I do not believe in God’s sovereignty then life will be difficult. I will not trust God, I will go out on my own and I will fall into despair.  In the end, God’s justice is sovereign.  It is fair and just.  Our salvation does not depend on our effort but on God’s sovereign mercy.  No human effort, desires or accomplishments can trigger God’s mercy!  I can be sure of my salvation because God did it and promised it.  God desires to share His glory.  His mercy is rooted in His great love. His LOVE is the greatest expression of love in the human experience.  

Increasing Grace

We become followers of Jesus Christ when we accept Him into our life/heart.  His followers unite with Him in death and resurrection.  As followers, the only thing that keeps us from experiencing that union is sin.  Sin is like a grenade.  When a grenade explodes, the shrapnel goes out within a certain radius depending upon the amount of explosive used.  The shrapnel of my sin however, “a bouncing betty”, goes out not only to all those around me but can go out to and affect generations.  In other words, my acts of sin always carry destructive consequences.  In the word picture above, that shrapnel flies in all directions.  The most deadly “bouncing Betty” there is comes in the form of pornography.
The good news is that we have been set free from the slavery of sin.  We are set free by the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed on the cross for our salvation.  Said another way we NEED Jesus’ blood for our salvation.  We start the process of salvation when He is accepted and Baptism is a part of the Christian conversion.  It unites one to Christ.  Now, as believers, we are saved from God’s wrath and the shackles of sin.  Eternal life begins at the conversion of a sinner to a believer.  The biblical doctrine of salvation tells us that God is relational.  It tells us that our union with Christ is for all perpetuity.
Everyone was born under the mastery of sin.  The shrapnel of Eve and Adam’s sin has long lasting and far reaching consequences that have extended beyond generations and for many generations to come.   My Saviors death has ended my life in Adam and I am alive in God and am dead to sin.  Jesus, fully man and fully God, died for that reason.  Living to God gives my life purpose.  So, if you want to cheer up because the burden of sin has you down, just remember the one true Living God has given purpose to my life.  
As for increasing grace, there is no such thing.