Month: August 2013

FREEDOM & CHOICE…Necessary

I heard on the radio that the UK recently decided to push towards making adult and other inappropriate internet sites unavailable to children. In doing so, the government has told its 19 million households that they can choose to either “have” or “not have” access in their homes. Once they choose, their internet providers will have to comply with their wishes. This is good. For those that don’t want “big brother” intruding into their lives, it’s okay because the government is not choosing which one for them- they are!
And this goes far beyond solely benefiting children. It helps those struggling with or tempted by pornography. It helps those who get unwanted ads, pop-ups or other solicitations. It’s giving people the help they need or want without forcing anyone. Those who shouldn’t indulge in it (everyone!) still have their choice to make- even if it’s wrong and destructive. No one should have any reason to complain. I suppose, but don’t know, that people can change their minds at some point if they want to. But I gather from the conversation I heard that, since the government is overseeing the switch, it is most likely a rather permanent decision. This is at the core of freedom: giving people what they need and want even if they don’t take advantage of it, and allowing them to face the consequences- even if it’s painful to watch it happen. It’s a lot like what God offers us through the Gospel.
In Genesis 1:31 with the account of describing His human creation Adam and Eve, God’s use of the word “good” means favorable, pleasant, delightful, friendly and useful which differs from the meaning in the Greek (New Testament). Jesus calls God “good” in the sense that He alone is good. This meaning signifies God’s character, essence or constitution, morality and absolute good. This is important to understand because we know their temptation involved Satan, yes, but the book of James says in chapter 1 and verse 14 that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” It doesn’t mean in Genesis that the Lord created us evil, but that He gave us the freedom to choose. The very first people created had the ability to choose, and chose wrongly. Scripture even goes so far as to tell us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He (God Almighty) “will also provide a way of escape” for us. It is up to us to take the way of escape- obedience and the path of righteousness.
I sometimes think that the good should be forced upon everyone precisely because it is good and beneficial, but I also understand the dilemma this presents for those who “love the darkness rather than the Light” which describes all people who follow their own path rather than God’s ways (John 3:19); those who have not surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ, been forgiven of their sins and now walk in newness of life through the Holy Spirit. Whether we agree with their disposition or not, the choice- the freedom- must be given to them. Take, for example, something you as a Christian feel strongly about (anti-abortion, heterosexuality and the right view of marriage, or taking the Lord’s name in vain, just to name a few). If these things were simply allowed to take place (as they are today), let alone be forced upon you, how would you feel? Can you now see the necessity of choice/ freedom? Does God hate sin and consider it an abomination? Absolutely yes! Did He intend for it to be a part of creation and everyday life? Absolutely not! Now do you see how depraved man is and how great the need for his redemption is? Do you now see how we could never right the wrongs we do, in our own power? Do you now see that God had to provide a Savior to prevent us from our own pre- and post-birth judgment of guilt? If God chose to only impose judgment (and He would be correct and just in doing so), no one would see the kingdom of God; the splendor of Heaven.
Man chooses to sin. God chooses to have mercy in the face of eternal doom through the love, obedience and excruciating sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Due wrath is in store, though, for those who reject salvation. Is there only one way to Heaven? Yes. Is that one way God’s solution and perfect provision? Yes. Is that ‘way” Jesus? Yes.
Many people like to deceive themselves and others by believing or promoting the lie that there are many ways to God and eternal life. This simply isn’t true and it doesn’t deal with or address the core problem of sin. It is overlooking or ignoring the truth the Bible has been proclaiming for millennia. It is like the atheist who is intelligent enough to know that there certainly is a God, a Creator. He simply convinces himself that there isn’t so that he will feel relieved of his conviction towards sin and his ultimate accountability before Almighty God. However, like we mentioned near the beginning of this article, it will certainly lead to his destruction in the end. He needs to have the freedom to choose life or death, forgiveness or condemnation, redemption or punishment- even if he uses that freedom for evil. Even if that choice makes him an enemy of the Lord. Which have you been choosing? Which are you choosing? Most important of all, which will you choose today and going forward? Exercise your freedom wisely. Eternity depends on it.