All people make choices. It is the byproduct of being made in God's image and likeness. It's who we are. People are defined by the choices they make. And it is because they are made in God's image and likeness and provided with free will, that after providing real alternative choices like heaven and hell, He has left it to us to decide where we will spend eternity.
God has already made known what His will is for all men to be saved. And He came as a man so that we would come to know Him. So that's a given. The devil wants to deceive you so you will reject God's deliverance. So it's now left to men to choose. We must choose wisely because our eternity depends on it.
By coming as a man God has shown us the way to have all that He wants us to have. And by giving us free will, the knowledge of good and evil, and the gospel, He has equipped us to be responsible for choosing the gift of life His death and resurrection have made it possible for us to have.
But, there is another aspect to free will and the choices we make. The choices we make today are also the memories that we will live with tomorrow. This is why God wants us to learn to love as He does.
Because as Peter said, love covers the multitude of sins.
And it is the memories of those sins, choices we may have made that are not an expression of the love of God. Or the memory of those choices we made that do express God's love. That can either be used by the devil to make our lives miserable, even if we are saved. Or that give us protection from the condemnation of the devil.
We know it's the devil bringing this condemnation because in the New Testament God does not impute trespasses. He does not hold people accountable, nor does He condemn them, for bad behavior. He delivers from that condemnation if we will let Him. He never brings it.
This is what Paul said in 2Cor.5:19, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." So when we live the life that God has prepared for us we will live life with the same attitude of love and forgiveness. This is the love God has for all men. And the love that delivers men from the condemnation of the devil.
For example, when we read in John8:3-11 of the woman He encountered that was caught in the act of adultery Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more." Here Jesus shows us God's heart. His love for all men to show He loves us unconditionally. Showing her that she could trust Him to deliver her from those who condemned her. Even if they were correctly accusing her.
This seems strange to those who have been taught to believe the doctrine of original sin that says God condemns all men. But, not to those who have seen from the plain language of the very word of God that this is a lie from the pit of hell. The biggest lie satan ever convinced men of.
Jesus did this to show us that God is not in the condemnation business. But, in the deliverance from condemnation business. Which is why in Heb.2 Paul wrote, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
Paul says that this is why Jesus "took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."
In another place we see Jesus teaching about a king that would take account of his servants. When expressing the heart of the king in Mt.18:23-ff He said he was "moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt." This is the love God has for all men. This is why in 2Cor.3:17 Paul said, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
No one had to pay the debt in the servant's place. The king, representing God here, simply and lovingly forgave it. Because this is who God is. He is love just as John said in 1John4.
In Judges2 we find the real reason God gave judges to Israel. Now most people think the judge's job is to pronounce sentence on the guilty. To punish them for their bad behavior. But, here we find a very different purpose God had for the judge to serve. God said the judges He set up for Israel were given to "deliver them out of the hand of those that spoiled them." In this we see the true purpose of God's justice. And that is to deliver men from the condemnation of the devil. This is the love of God. This is the reason Jesus came.
In John10 we see Jesus describing Himself as the "good shepherd" saying, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
Here again we see the love of God and the true purpose for Jesus coming to earth as a man. And in that He describes for us the real need men have for His salvation. His deliverance. And that is to be delivered from the condemnation of satan. Because when the devil condemns it is to deceive men into believing that the real reason they need Jesus is because they are bad. And that this is why God can not love them until His just requirement of the law is met. And His wrath is appeased.
When the truth is that good, bad, and wrath have nothing to do with why we go either to heaven or to hell. The truth is that it's only because we do not know Him, and instead have believed in the condemnation of the devil, that we go to hell. Because we go with the god/God we have believed.
This is why I began this message with the statement that the choices we make today will be the memories we live with tomorrow. And that this is one reason why God wants us to learn to love as He does. Because those memories can create for us a false reality that perverts our understanding of God's love from unconditional to conditional.
An unconditional love that brought Him to become a man just like us in every way. Having planned this from before He made the world because He knew that only by joining with mankind in our mortality could He conquer it through His death and resurrection. In Rom.10:9,10 Paul says our choice to believe in His death and resurrection is what joins us to Him. So that we become children of God and heirs to His kingdom.
So the choices we make today that build the memories we live with tomorrow has a much more significant role to play in our lives than just this life. Not only will this help us to walk in love toward others while we are here on earth. But, our choices we make today that we will live with tomorrow also determine where we will live in eternity.
We will spend eternity with the god/God we have believed. If we will believe in God's love for us and that He came for our deliverance from the death and condemnation of the devil we will have eternal life. If we believe the condemnation of the devil we will spend eternity with him.
But, Jesus has come so that we can have life and that life more abundantly. And the abundant life Jesus brought for us is eternal life with God in His kingdom.
So as Joshua proposed to the Israelites, so I propose to you now. Choose you this day who you will serve. Whether the false gods of the peoples around you. Or the one and only true God who has conquered death and Satan so that you could have eternal life by grace through faith in Him and His resurrection without works.
Confess Jesus is your Lord. And believe in your heart in His resurrection. With the heart man believes unto righteousness. And with the mouth confession is made for salvation. A salvation that delivers us from death and the condemnation of the devil.
Do this and you will be saved. Do this and you will be delivered from condemnation of Satan to eternal life in Christ Jesus. Do this and you will have the immortality that Jesus came to provide you with. Do this and you will be a child of God and heir to His kingdom.
Do this.... and I will see you there or in the air!
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