By Emily Glasner
God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil. Man, in his state of innocence, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.The Westminster Confession of Faith IX:I-III:
The Bible describes through story, imagery and poetry, the two options each person is presented in life. There are two roads, two ways, two consequences.
- For Adam and Eve, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9).
- For Cain, the choice to succumb to the sin at his door, or the choice to do what was right (Genesis 4:7).
- Abraham could leave his home and start the family of faith or stay where he was.
- The Israelites could have trusted in God instead of complaining against Him in the wilderness, avoiding the consequences of wandering for decades (Numbers 14).
- Saul could have destroyed his enemies and not been rejected as king (1 Samuel 15).
The two-road choice continues through the narrative of Scripture. The histories describe obedience and idolatry. Psalms reveal the wicked and the godly. Proverbs the wise and the foolish. The Prophetic literature points out the existence of evil and the option for nations to change their ways.
Each road has a direction.
Each road flows through the stages of history.
Every person has experienced the consequences of taking the road both ways at one time or another, and every life has the opportunity to divert its own stream to go where it chooses to go. This raises centuries-long debates around God’s will and man’s freedom and where the one starts and the other stops. However, here I will try to just focus on God’s heart and man’s heart.
God is involved in our decisions as much as the allowance of our total freewill permits. Choosing life is not impossible, and it is the choice he asks us to make (Deuteronomy 30:19).
The Road to Life
The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for those whom the Father has given unto Him.The Westminster Confession of Faith VIII: V.
The ability to choose life is empowered ultimately through the divine mystery called grace summed in Jesus, the Messiah. God, who points us through the ancient narratives, to the river of good, of obedience, of wisdom, prosperity, and blessing is not only on the banks. He appears in flesh to reveal the road, the river, the life, the way, the truth and the direction, and it is all in and through Him (John 14:6).
In our humanity, we will continue to be presented with two choices until we are united with Jesus in the heavenly places (if we continue to choose what God asks us to choose).
Jesus explains our freedom in Matthew 7:13, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way” (NLT). Lest the one seem too hard and the other too easy, he explains in John 6:29 that the key to the choice is faith, “…This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
While obeying God is difficult at times and believing in Jesus so demanding it will cost you everything, the alternative is very grim… death itself. This death road, while wide, is also increasingly demanding, and we witness its chaos, entropy and decay every day. The voice calling us to divert to the wide way promises every temptation common to man but delivers hell (1 Corinthians 10:13).
So, being empowered through Jesus’ sacrifice, choose life. We must not follow Cain’s example, and instead choose what is right. We should follow Abraham’s example and choose to leave everything to follow God. We should, unlike the Israelites in the desert, choose to trust God and not to complain. Unlike Saul, we should choose to completely destroy every enemy in life that keeps us from fully obeying God.
Today, I want to encourage you to learn from history’s lessons and choose to obey rather than rebel. We should learn from the wisdom literature and choose wisdom. We should learn from the Psalms and choose the way of the godly and learn from the prophets to turn our backs on evil. And ultimately, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, NLT).