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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Durso

Who Chose Who?

Not I But Christ

Our present high-tech, scientifically enlightened, information highway world has given rise to a new level of control issues. However, people of Adam's race have always needed to think of themselves in control, as seen in an argument that began in the 5th century. Is a man in control of his eternal destiny by his sovereign choice, or is God sovereign over all?

Time and again, men of God rise up to clarify the truth of God's control; such was the case of Jonathan Edwards, who preached, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God in Endfield, Connecticut, here in America during the 18th century.

For those who side with "freedom of choice," the argument goes like this. Everyone makes choices daily, and we are all accountable for our choices. For them, it's a "da" moment. However, the idea breaks down when we consider moral options instead of amoral decisions. Which shoe you tie first has no moral ability attached to it. To curse or not to curse does. Everyone faces hundreds of moral choices every day, from the things we think to the emotions we feel and the motives that make it all happen. Question: are sinners in bondage to the sin that controls them, or are they free to make every moral choice?

Such a question demands the truth of God's word because human experience or what we think we know is not enough. Proverbs 16:2 says, "All the ways of a man are clean (or right) in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives." Do we make good moral choices purely because we love God or because of the consequences God has built into the world? The Arminian argues for the freedom of the will as though the ravages of sin did not control it.

Concerning man's will, the Bible says, "our old self was crucified with Him, so that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for the one who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:6, 7) Slavery, according to the scripture, robs man of his freedom to make good moral choices for the right and godly reason. The Bible never speaks regarding human choices as though man were free. God said at the giving of the law, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2, 3)

For some, the God-given choice not to be an idolater carries the ability to choose correctly. No such power is given to enslaved people, as we are told in Romans 6, one of many passages exemplified throughout the Old Testament. The depravity of sin is not fully embraced by those who believe sinful men are morally free. Isaiah was a far better scholar on this point than the average person who promotes the freedom of the will in wicked men.

"For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isaiah 64:6) The picture by Isaiah of a man's righteous deeds as they are before God, who views them as filthy rags or a woman's menstrual cycle. To be clear, God says in Leviticus 15:19, "'When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Unclean means a person is defiled and unacceptable before God.

Finally, some people become outraged at this point because they say God then chooses to send some people to hell. In reality, all people deserve to go to hell, and God is not obligated to save anyone from that righteous consequence. Such thinking is a misunderstanding of grace. God would be fully righteous if He sent every last person of Adam's race to hell. However, God, rich in grace, chooses some and saves them by the substitutionary sufferings of His beloved Son. There is no demand on grace, or else it is not grace at all. Grace is free to the sinner and is without obligation as it comes from God. It is a gift (Romans 6:23) from God, and as such, it cannot be earned or deserved. The idea that God is obligated to save some because of their moral decision comes from the pit of hell and proclaims man is not helpless and hopeless (Ephesians 2:12). Furthermore, we are told that if God does not allow men to choose, He would be evil. From where does such teaching come? What scripture?

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