Looking unto Jesus — chapter by chapter

Do I have a choice?

…because God from the beginning chose you for salvation… II Thess. 2:13

This, and verses similar, when lifted and isolated out of the balance of the whole counsel of the Word have created great tensions and confusion for many believers. Specifically, regarding the sovereignty of God. It is clear God’s electing process occurs in the place of eternity— “before the foundation” and “from the beginning” (Eph. 1:4; John 8:44). God is God. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He knows all the data of the universe, knowing all there is to know, including those, who in the process of time, accept Christ as their Savior. Simultaneously you and I have free will. Consider this illustration from John Phillips—

“A novice plays a game of chess with a chess master. Pieces are on the board. Each player has a measure of sovereignty over the board. Within rules, each has the power of choice and the right to decide which moves he will make. The game proceeds, but after only several moves, the chess master announces the game is over. Not once did he violate the power of choice over the novice. However, his mastery of the game and his sovereignty over the board was such that he could overrule the other’s moves.

Thus, God allows us to make our choices in life, but He overrules them. All other wills can function properly only when they cooperate with the will of God. When in opposition of God’s will, they create confusion. God is quite able to take all of those factors into account and ensure that, in the end, all ministers to His glory and to His eternal purpose. And yet never does He violate other wills to do so.

God will not violate human will. But, by the same token, neither will He allow Satan to violate it. Satan can tempt, but he can’t compel; he can persuade, but can’t push; entice, but can’t force. He could persuade Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, but he could not push it into her mouth.

This is equally true of salvation. The human will is active in the decision, to accept or reject God’s precious and costly gift of salvation. Never are we forced by the Holy Spirit. He convicts, but does not compel. He will speak, enlighten, call and strive, but never does He make the decision for us. In the end, the decision is ours. Either we say, “I will,” or “I will not,” to God’s invitation.

In the end, God endorses the decisions we make. He does not send people to hell; they send themselves. A person says, “I will not accept Christ.” God finally says, “Your will be done. Live forever without Him.”

God describes Himself as I AM. He dwells in the eternal present. Past, present, and future are human phenomena. He knows the end from the beginning. He is able to choose, elect, and predestinate because the future is all foreknown to Him (I Pet. 1:2).”

God desires that every man be saved (I Tim. 2:4). He loves you and has shown it clearly by Christ’s death on the Cross (Rom. 5:8). Next time you play chess consider these things… yet, far better is to make this day your day of salvation, accept His invitation, His love!