This post is a continuation of the Jesus Who? series. If you have not been following along, I recommend going back to catch up via the following links (Jesus Who?, Ignorance and God – Part I)
Because it is impossible to know the mind of God, all I can do here is speak to what is possible and extrapolate to explain how I perceive the world around me. I believe that the Bible provides a foundation on which to demonstrate that there are some, and probably many, for whom salvation occurs in no possible life scenario in which the freely made decisions and actions of such individuals fall in line with God’s will. Such individuals would not choose Christ even if God presented them with an explicit and undeniable revelation of His existence. For instance, even after God displayed His power over the gods of Egypt, and after giving dire warnings, took the lives of the firstborn of Egypt, Pharaoh refused to acknowledge God’s divine sovereignty.
Apart from God working in the events of our lives such that the disposition of our hearts toward God changes, no one would ever seek Him or even be receptive to the message of the Gospel. No one would ever choose to love Christ on his or her own accord. One might think that this eliminates the possibility of free will, but I believe that God can allow individuals the freedom to make decisions. At the same time, He orchestrates the events surrounding those decisions per His ultimate purpose of saving souls for His glorification.
On our own, the decisions that we make are selfish in nature. I believe, however, that God’s arrangement of the events in an individual’s life can include moments of divinely inspired clarity, where he or she views the opportunity to choose Jesus, according to God’s will, to be advantageous. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit is not coercive but instead instructive enlightenment that makes sense to the individual in light of the life circumstances present at the moment of decision.
It is at that moment when a selfish decision serves both the individual and God that those who are God’s elect are “born again” spiritually through an act of the Holy Spirit. Those who are “born again“, by the grace of God, are saved by faith. It is those individuals in whom the seeds of God’s word take root, and in whose lives the fruit of the Spirit manifests itself, providing visible confirmation of the changed life brought about by God.
Next time we look more in depth at God’s inclusion of free will in His creative narrative and how it relates to a knowledge of Jesus sacrifice and resurrection.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay