Free To Choose
The book of Deuteronomy is the last recorded words of the prophet of God to a nation preparing to enter the promised land. The purpose of this book was to remind the children of Israel of the law they had received from Jehovah God. In one of the most powerful discourses given by Moses, he said, “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” (Deut. 30:19). It is clear by Moses’ words that they were free to choose.
Created With Free Will
Man was created with free will. Adam and Eve were given permission to eat from all of the trees that were in the garden of Eden except for one. They had a God-given right to choose what they would eat and what they would avoid. The fact that Eve partook of the forbidden fruit and then gave it to her husband who was right there beside her proves that they had free will. If they were created without free will, then God would have certainly kept them from eating the forbidden fruit, and we would not be in the mess we are in today. They had free will but unfortunately chose to disobey God.
Free Will Was Exhibited In The Old Testament
In the book of Joshua we see one of many times Israel was commanded to choose. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). Joshua could have easily said, “As for me and my house we choose to serve the Lord.” Israel clearly had a free will concerning who they would worship and who they would serve. Sadly, they often chose to worship and serve other gods.
Free Will Was Exhibited In The New Testament
Jesus on the last day of the Feast of Booths said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). There was a choice the thirsty man had to make. Would he come unto Jesus and drink of the living water, or would he continue and die of thirst? If man were not given a free choice, this verse would be confusing. Jesus also said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37). Not to be willing clearly indicates that they had a will yet chose not to come to Jesus.
The Call To Repentance
Where there is a call to repentance, there is a call to choose. There is a free will to either continue in an objectionable lifestyle or repent of this way of life. Why would Jesus, Peter, Paul, John, James, and others call someone to repent if man did not have free will to repent? The hearer can choose to or refuse to yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Clearly we have a free will.
This also speaks to the area of preselection. The idea is that God had preselected those to be saved and those who would spend eternity in hell; no matter how repentant people are, if they had not been preselected by God, an eternity in hell awaits them. There’s a big problem with this way of thinking. First of all, it is clearly not God’s desire that any soul go to hell. They go there as they reject God’s free gift of salvation. Peter expressed God’s heart toward the lost: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). Since this is God’s Word, we have to come to the conclusion that if left to God, all would repent—no one would perish. However, in agreement to the rest of the Bible, man chooses to accept or reject God’s plan of salvation. Those who choose to accept the completed work of Calvary will have their sins washed away and will have everlasting life with Christ their Savior. It’s our choice. Have you chosen Jesus?