Note: This article and the one next week were written about three years ago; but I thought they should be included following the last two articles on “Choices.” (PMW)
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: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deut. 30:19-20).
The history of the Jews is one of choices, both good and bad. In this passage from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses had called Israel together and placed before them a challenge to love the Lord and to follow and serve Him. When you read the choices given them, it seems unlikely that anyone would ever choose to go against God, but history tells us otherwise.
What would happen if you and I were placed in the same place? What decision would we make? Contrary to Calvinism, you ARE free to choose. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus placed a similar choice before all men. We can choose to enter the “strait gate” and walk the “narrow way that leads to life” or we may choose to enter the “wide gate” and follow the “broad way that leads to destruction.” As strange as it sounds, most people choose the road to destruction.
We make choices every day of our lives. We choose the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the material we read, the activities of life we engage in, and we choose to obey or disobey God, to be faithful or unfaithful in marriage and to be active or lukewarm as a Christian. Every day God permits us to make choices about what we will do, and about what we believe is best for us. But we need to remember that we also must face the consequences—good or bad—of the decisions we make. Decisions determine destiny!
Someone may say, “I am not going to choose.” But to decide not to choose is a choice; to decide not to do right is always a choice to do evil. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus tells us, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” It is either one or the other. If you do not crown Jesus, you crucify Him. There is no middle ground. Pilate tried it and it didn’t work! (Matt. 27).
When we say that decisions determine destiny, we are simply saying that you are not free to choose the consequences of your choice. You may choose to jump out of a window on the 20th floor of a building. That is a foolish thing to do, but if no one restrains you, you can choose to stay in the room or jump. If you choose to jump you must face the consequences of that choice. Now apply this to other choices you and I may make. If a person decides to get drunk or high on drugs and then get in a car and drive, he must be prepared to face the consequences of that choice. The same is true when we choose to live immoral lives. Decisions determine destiny!
The same is true in spiritual matters. God has given us His plan of salvation. His plan is given to us by His grace. God wants all men to come to repentance and be saved (II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:3-4). But man must choose to obey God’s plan in order to be saved. The plan is perfect; God’s part has been executed perfectly, but again, man must choose to do his part by coming to God in obedience. On the first Pentecost following our Lord’s resurrection, Peter preached the Gospel in Jerusalem and about 3,000 chose to obey Peter’s command to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). But the vast majority present on that day chose not to obey and thus chose to remain in sin.
What about YOU? Have you chosen to become a Christian and to walk with Christ or have you chosen to walk the wide road to destruction? The decision is YOURS! But remember, decisions determine destiny.
Paul M. Wilmoth