Summary: What place does choice play in our ultimate destiny? God chooses to let us choose.
Who is responsible for you?
Genesis 1:26-27 is perhaps the most amazing passage in the Old Testament. Turn there and read it with me… (read) This is an astounding concept.
Now, look at what happens next! The very first recorded thing that God said to human beings after creating us in His own image and likeness, male and female, is… guess what? It’s a blessing: Genesis 1:28. Yes, a blessing: Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the ground.
One thing in God’s word is clear: We were made for greatness. How? We were created by God in his own likeness to enjoy his grace and spread his glory throughout the earth. We were made to rule over the creation. God designed you to be a fruitful ruler who looks and acts with divine design, equipped to live forever. But we can only do this by choosing God’s way and listening to God’s word and following God’s will. Is that true? Is that what your Bible says? But wait a minute. Is that what you and I look like today? Would you describe yourself in those terms? (Don’t answer these questions, just think about them).
In Genesis 2 we read about how God made Adam and then gave him a job. God made a garden, then look at 2:15-17, God put Adam to work caring for the garden. Adam was a gardener. At this point in the creation story of Genesis 2, we have only God and Adam. Eve comes right after this. But here in Genesis 2 God gives Adam a command before he lets him go start his work in the garden. God’s command is there in verses 16-17. It is pretty simple really. Look at it again with me: Genesis 2:16-17. God is the creator, he is the supreme authority, and he has designed everything, then observed it and said that it is good. Now he has made Adam, a creature who is created to be like the Creator. But Adam is still very new and perhaps has a lot to learn. Like a baby that has to grow up. So, God does something very important here. He puts Adam in charge of the garden and gives him freedom to enjoy all the fruit from all the trees, all that is but one. There is one single solitary tree that Adam is told he must not eat from, or he will surely die.
Thus, Adam is given freedom and the power to develop his relationship with God and his wife and to choose his destiny. This choice is not like the choices involved in gardening or naming the animals or whatever other choices Adam makes. This choice is the big one. It is most important because it involves Adam’s character, his faith, and his obedience to God’s word. It involves choosing to follow God’s word or not. As far as we know, Adam did enjoy God’s grace and follow God’s word, up until the serpent came and deceived Eve with lies about the fruit, lies about God, and lies about consequences.
The power to choose to obey God or not is both a gift and a responsibility.
Let’s talk about choices and consequences for a few minutes.
The Bible is filled with historical narratives, laws, poetry, proverbs, prophecy, parables, gospels, letters, and other genre of literature. All of it is inspired by God, recorded and preserved to give us a revelation of who God is and who we are, where we came from and where we are going, what is wrong and how it has been dealt with, and what the choices of obedience and disobedience to God are and what the consequences that follow are. God didn’t inspire a Bible for animals, just people. We are the only creatures that carry that amazing dignity of being designed in the image of the divine. We can be faithful and follow God, or disobedient and face death. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for things to go bad.
Why are you here today? I’ll tell you. You are here because you made a choice to be here. Now some of you younger folks may be thinking, “I didn’t choose to be here, my parents made me.” That’s partly true, but just think. You could have gotten up early and run away from home and hidden somewhere until after church! Then you wouldn’t have to be here right now! Did you know you could choose to do that? Some of you are thinking, “I couldn’t do that, my parents would kill me when they found me!” Oh yes you could! You could have chosen to do something so you don’t have to be here, but you can’t choose the consequences of what you choose to do. You can choose to skip school, cheat on tests, drink or do drugs, use foul language, or a host of sinful things, but you can’t choose the consequences for your sins. On the other hand, you can choose to seek the kingdom of God, serve the Lord with gladness, give your heart and mind to the care of Jesus Christ. You can choose obedience to Jesus and the way of eternal life in Christ! But, listen to me carefully here, you can’t choose the path he will lead you on. You can’t choose to follow Jesus and do it by your own will and your own ways. You can only choose to be lead by the word of God and walk in Him where ever he leads… or not.