Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Someone asked me whether God wants everyone to come to Him.
And, since He knows everything, if anyone refuses to follow God’s Word, then did this man really have a choice, or was it pre-determined that he would not follow God.
Pre-determination and free will have been debated by Christians and non-Christians for years. So I hope I am not adding to the confusion by sharing my views on it.
God's invitation is to everyone - without exception. When He invites us to love Him, He wants us to choose freely - without any pressure on His part to influence our decision. We choose to love Him and come to God through Jesus Christ: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6.
Of course, some choose not to accept the invitation. They decide to walk away from God. Not to believe in Him and in Jesus as His only Son. That is their free choice.
God in His infinite wisdom and in His loving kindness allows us to make that decision for ourselves. Of course, He knows our decision before we even make it - but He does not influence it in any way. He allows it to happen. If He were to force us in any way then He would have taken away our free will to decide. He might as well have created a race of robots pre-programmed with His every wish and command. But he didn't. He created us free to choose our own destiny. Our own will.
I believe that God has given each of us a mission in life. Some achieve this mission by being great preachers, church leaders, politicians, and so on. Whilst most of us can achieve our mission by the small things we do in life, our acts of kindness, love and caring for the rest of humanity.
Of course, some people choose to ignore their mission to "love one another as I have loved you"; and decide to go their own way. Not only to ignore their mission but also not to believe in the very existence of their Creator.
God allows this to happen.
There are times however when God does try to nudge us in the right direction. He encourages us to be aware of our mission and to attempt to achieve it.
Note that I say “encourage” and not force our decision.
Why He does that only in some cases we really don’t know.
A well known example is the way He “encouraged” Paul on the way to Damascus. I suppose Paul could still have walked away and not followed God’s Word; although I doubt many would have done so under the circumstances! God saw the good qualities in Paul and encouraged him to use them to good effect. Paul chose to accept God and the rest, as they say, is history.
Even today God does nudge some of us in the right direction.
Perhaps through chance meetings with someone who might talk to us about God and encourage us to accept His Word and take up His invitation to love Him.
Maybe He allows certain things to happen in our lives which make us turn to Him.
But the fact is that God does talk to us today. He does encourage us to come to Him through Jesus Christ.
Perhaps some of us just aren't listening.
But here’s the important distinction to remember. God tries to encourage us, or nudge us, in the right direction. He invites us all to accept His Word.
But He never forces us.