Do We Have Free Will?

Has God given each person the choice to obey or reject his will? Jesus answered this question in a multitude of passages. He told his apostles to preach the gospel to every creature, and promised that those who believed and were baptized would be saved. He also warned that those who did not believe would be condemned (Mark 16:15, 16). The choice is each person’s. The gospel is to be preached, and those who hear respond as they choose. Every soul has the ability to choose.

When we became Christians, was our ability to choose removed? On every page of the New Testament the Lord has given us instructions to obey. Some instructions tell us what to do, while others tell us what to avoid or refrain from doing. In every instruction the Lord is telling us we have a choice, but also encourages us to choose wisely.

So what about God’s activity in our life? There are some in the religious world who deny that God gives us a choice. They teach that God determined who will be saved, regardless of our participation. They are wrong. Some have adopted a form of that teaching, but do not recognize it themselves. They believe that God is working in such a way as to directly guide every decision and activity of their life. That concept removes the ‘free will’ each one has been given. And, if God makes the choices then we are not responsible for them. How, then, could our just God condemn us for a decision He made? The truth is, He has given us control of our decisions.

Does this mean that God does not have a plan for our life? No. The plan for our life is given in Scripture. He has written it so we can be certain of the right path. God does work in our world, but the specific plan for our life is guided by scripture and decided by us in obedience to, or rejection of, His perfect law of liberty (James 1:25).

Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Read the scriptures and understand the will of God. And as you make decisions make them in consideration of scripture truth. This is the Spirit guided life which leads to eternal life.

By Greg Weston

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