Summary: Do we have ANY choice or is every aspect of our lives already been predetermined by God? Does God choose us even if we don’t want Him to? Does God choose some people but not others? How can you know what God’s will and purposes are?
Today I want to talk about God’s Will vs. Our Will. We are taught from the Bible that God gives us a free will. It is ours to choose. Sometimes what we choose is good and in the will of God, and other times what we choose is dead wrong. Maybe this message will answer a few of your questions. We’ll begin in a moment in Ephesians 1:4-6 which raises a lot of questions. But first let me tell you how God’s Will affected me.
When God called me to the ministry, I’ll admit that I struggled. I thought that surely God made a mistake. I wasn’t good enough, or smart enough, or kind enough, or pure enough to be a minister for God.
I had many talks with God over a 17 ½ year period before I surrendered to His call on my life. I had questions?
• God, I’m not smart enough to pastor a church when old people in that church know the Bible by heart. How am I going to ever teach them anything?
• God, what if you call me to serve out of town, or out of state, or in another country? I live on a family plot and can’t sell my place. What about that?
• And if seminary is the answer to gain my knowledge, where am I going to get the money for that?
I wanted to do God’s will but what was it? I didn’t want to make a mistake with my life! How could I be certain which choice was God’s best for my future?
Have you been there before? Some decisions are painless, like what am I going to wear today, or what am I going to have for lunch. But many decisions are life-altering. Should I apply to this college or that one? Should I marry this person? Should I accept this job? Should I buy this house? Our life is the sum of the choices we make. Today, let’s talk about how much God wants to be involved in us making all of those decisions—the big ones and the little ones.
So, we begin with a lot of questions. Listen to what Paul tells us in Eph. 1: 4-6, READ. Do you realize that God knew you before the earth was formed or even before time began? Even before Adam and Eve walked in the Garden, God was preparing for you. Not only was He planning for you but he chose you. (you thought you chose God). The term theology uses is “predestination”, but what exactly does that mean? So….do we have a free will to choose for ourselves, or has God already done that and we don’t have a say so? How do we balance these? Do we have ANY choice or is every aspect of our lives already been predetermined by God? Let’s look at a quick break down by looking at some key phrases Paul uses.
Chosen in Christ (v.4) God chose us “in Him.” We’re not chosen apart from Christ. We’re not chosen by God for anything we have done or would contribute to His Kingdom. Being chosen by God is wrapped up in our relationship with Christ.
Chosen to be holy and blameless in love. (v.4) Christ is holy and blameless, right? Well, because we are in Him, we are to be holy and blameless. We still sin, but we’re forgiven in Christ.
Adopted as His sons. (v.5) In Paul’s time, only sons were eligible to be heirs and to be granted the authority, privileges, and resources of the father. By choosing men and women as His “sons”, God is making them equal heirs. God adopted us “for Himself,” that is, he adopted us for a relationship with Him. Whether we CHOOSE to accept that relationship is still up to us.
Chosen according to the pleasure of God’s Will. (v.5) When God’s perfect will comes to pass, THEN we experience the full measure of God’s boundless love, and we bring praise and glory to God. Again, IF WE choose to accept Him.
What does all this mean to us? Does God choose us even if we don’t want Him to? Does God choose some people but not others? How can you know what God’s will and purposes are? This is a difficult passage of Scripture. That’s why Paul called it “this mystery”.
Even today, Christians want a full understanding and explanation concerning the relationship between God’s sovereign will and our own free will. Keep in mind, that Paul was very educated. And even though he was very intelligent, he found out that he couldn’t comprehend the infinite depths of God’s wisdom.
Paul uses this term “predestined.” Even today, that is a highly debated topic. So let’s dig a little deeper for just a moment. Notice that Paul didn’t merely say that God predestined us but that He “predestined us to be adopted.” (v.5)