What a crock.<quoted text>
"God has given us the freedom to make choices
April 08, 2011|Bob Lind | Saturday Sermon
One of the stories in the Bible that has always fascinated me is the account of the conversation between Jesus and the man who has become known as the rich young ruler. The account is recorded in three of the books of the Bible. You can read it in Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31 and Luke 18:18-30.
There has been great dispute over the meaning of this incident, especially when Jesus said,â... a rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of heaven.â And again,âI say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.â We will talk about these things later. But this is not what attracted me to this passage. The most surprising and revealing thing in this incident is not what Jesus did and said, but what he did not do.
Look at the story again. What did Jesus say to the young man when he sadly turned and walked away from Jesus? He was unwilling to pay the price Jesus asked. The most revealing thing to me is that Jesus said nothing. When the man rejected Jesusâ terms, Jesus did not coax, bargain, preach or shout threats at him.
Jesus simply watched the man walk away. Then he went about his business with his disciples. There is a lesson here for us.
Jesus knew God had set before this young man a course of conduct. He not only could choose, he had to choose. Then, he had to live with the consequences of his choice. He had alternatives.
Each alternative had consequences. God does not say to us,âYou must choose this one.â Rather, he says,âChoose this one and such and such will happen.â But he leaves the choice with us. We are free to choose. The only thing he requires is that once we walk through the door of one of the alternatives, we must be prepared to live with the consequences.
God gives us choices. Then he gives us the absolute free choice of which path we will take. He doesnât present these choices with malice, but out of his sincere desire to make it possible for us to live as true people of God. Many donât understand this freedom God gives us. The thing God understands and we donât is that we have no freedom unless we are free to choose.
If you put a child in a room with a jar of candy and tell him not to touch the jar, the child has a choice. If instead we lock that jar in a cabinet and tell the child not to touch it, the child has no choice.
This is the way it is with God and us. If God removed from us all bad choices, we would have no freedom at all. We would not be individuals striving to find a better way. We would be nothing but robots. If we are not given a choice, we have no freedom to choose. God created us to be free.
God gives us choices and the consequence of each one. He has given us the perfect freedom to choose. The rest is up to us."
So, when Jesus told his disciple Peter that he would deny him three times by the time the cock crew, what was that, free will, prophecy, or a "divine decree"?