God has always given man a choice. God has the power to literally force a person to live however He wanted him to, without that person being able to disobey Him, but that is not the way God has made man. Man has free will, to serve God faithfully or to completely disavow God or anything in between.
God has gone all out to make our salvation possible. The plan by which man can be saved is one that had its beginning prior to the creation of man himself. Salvation in Christ Jesus was according to the inspired apostle Paul, God’s plan before the world had its beginning.
Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Eph. 1:3-4). The entirety of the Old Testament is but a record of the gradual leading of man to the reality of said salvation in Christ. Paul told the Galatian brethren, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:24-29).
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). “…God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). And finally, God has revealed His will to us by way of the words of inspired men. Paul wrote, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:9-13). We can say with confidence that if any man is lost in the last day, it will certainly not be God’s fault, for all has been done that needed to be done in order that man might have eternal life.
Yet one thing the word of God clearly teaches is that not all will be saved. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21) and the following two verses give an example of “many” who will be told to depart from him. Earlier in that same chapter, Jesus had spoken of those who walked the broad easy way that led to destruction and that “many” would it be that went that route (Matt. 7:13-14).
The fact of the matter is, no matter how many people would have you believe that there is absolutely nothing that one has to do in order to be saved; only those who are obedient to God’s word will be saved. This has been shown time after time in God’s word, in every dispensation of time. There is a statement found a couple of times in similar but not the exact same words that really boils it all down for man in any and every age.
It was in the days of Moses that God said though Moses, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life…” (Deut. 30:19-20). Earlier Moses put it in these words, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known” (Deut. 11:26-28).
Adam and Eve had a choice to make in the garden of Eden and they made the wrong one. Cain made a wrong decision while his brother Abel made a correct one. All through the word of God one can see this choice that has to be made. In this age it is the gospel of Christ that must be obeyed (II Thess. 1:7-9). The Hebrew writer said that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him (Heb. 5:8-9). One could say the ball in now in our court. We can choose to be obedient to the commands of God found in the gospel or choose to be lost; it is our choice to make.
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