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Free Will

The advice is simple: Follow Jesus, worship God. I say “advice”, because God always lets you make your own choices. That’s free will. He sets before you life and death, and advises you to choose life. And so you are free to follow Jesus and worship God, and you are also free not to.

God respects your choice, but if you choose against him, he will continue to try to convince to change your mind, until your time is up (and God is the only one who makes that decision). Each choice has a consequence; whether positive or negative, God permits you to experience the consequences, hoping that the pain of the negative consequences will teach you to make choices that will lead to the peace and joy of the positive consequences.

God never forces you; he offers to guide you, but he never forces you. He gives you absolute, unconditional free will, no strings attached. The fact of the matter is that the only thing you truly own is your will – not your body, not your real estate or other ‘wealth’ holdings (if you have any), and not your soul. But your will is entirely your own to do with what you choose. It is on the basis of those choices that the ultimate fate of your soul is decided.

By his life and death, Jesus paid the debt of Original Sin for us and opened the door; it’s up to us whether or not we want to follow him through that door. This is the most important choice we’ll ever make in life: to accept God’s way of mercy (forgiveness) or to reject God’s way and persist in pride and revenge.

Keep in mind that God and Jesus are a package deal – you can’t have one without the other. You can’t say:  “Oh, I follow the Commandments and I’m a good person, but I don’t believe in Jesus”; or: “Oh, I believe in Jesus, but I think some of the Commandments are outdated”. God and Jesus are a package deal; you can’t accept one and deny the other, or you are really denying both.

Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.

When you say yes to God’s way, you automatically become a follower of Jesus.

The two are a package deal.

Choosing or rejecting God’s way as exemplified by Jesus is the single most important choice you’ll ever make, and the decision is left entirely up to you. God doesn’t want automatons or slaves; he doesn’t want to force people into choosing him: he wants them to come to him of their own free will.

We have free will to choose, and God will respect our choice, even if we choose against him. Yet God’s counsel, even as he permits us our own choice, is that we choose his way: he sets before us life (his way, leading to him) and death (the devil’s way, leading to hell), and prompts us, entices us, counsels us, but never forces, coerces or tricks us to choose life.

Jesus told his disciples that those who died from that point in time onwards will “rest in their labours” only if they follow him and do God’s Commandments. Likewise, Moses, the prophets, Jesus and others speak of the Resurrection of the dead which will occur at the end of time, when all souls will come before God, who will judge them according to their works – that is, according to their free will choices. Some souls, though very few, will proceed to heaven, having made the right choices, while the rest will be banished to hell.

This is not a metaphor or a myth or a joke or an old-wives’ tale or a scary-monster story fabricated to keep people in line. God’s final judgment, based on the free will choices we make while yet on earth, and the subsequent reward of heaven for having made the right choices or the punishment of hell for having made the wrong choices, is as real as it gets, is more real than the reality that passes, is passing, in this world. It is true reality, as it is eternal, both the realities of heaven and the realities of hell.

We have a foretaste of those eternal realities right here on earth. As a self-professed atheist, prior to being born-again, I had a foretaste of hell in the perpetual, and perpetually worsening, emotional pain, fear, anxiety, confusion, dissatisfaction, insatiable bodily lusts and so on that were constant features of my life. Now, as a born-again follower of Jesus, I have a foretaste of heaven in my constant communion with God’s Spirit and the joy, peace and contentment  that brings.

There are only two options: to live in love or to die in fear. There is no third option.

You are either living in the will of God, who is Love, or dying in the bondage of Satan, who is fear. There is no alternative to these two options. If you’re not one, you’re the other.

If you say: I don’t believe in God or in Satan (or in love, for that matter), then you confirm you’re dying in fear, because all sin is bondage to death, and existing outside God’s will by denying him is sin.

You can only either be in love or in fear. There is no other option.

The spiritual states of love and fear are not opposites but absences — love is the absence of fear and fear is the absence of love. While on earth, in our mortal bodies, we can only experience varying degrees of either love or fear. Only after our bodily demise, as spirit beings, will be able to experience these spiritual states to their fullest – either perfect love, in heaven, or total fear, in hell.

The more you trust God and do his will, following Jesus, the greater the love.
The more you trust in yourself and do what you want, following Satan, the greater the fear.

Angels had free will once, but now, having made their choice either for God or against God, they have been “locked” into place. They all still serve God, but in different capacities, either as his holy angels or as his demons. Jesus says we’ll be “like the angels” upon resurrection.

Will those of us, then, who “endure to the end” become like God’s holy angels, living in perpetual joy and peace and pleasure? What an amazing thought!

And will those of us who don’t make it be forced to take our place among the ranks of the demons, in perpetual agony? What a sobering and horrifying thought. May none of you reading this end up there.

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