“He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”
We certainly did not ask to be born but God knew about us before our parents ever met. In speaking of Jeremiah God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before your were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” The fact that the Lord knew us and created us without our help does not guarantee that He will save us unless we make the right choice to serve Him. The Psalmist said, “As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me.” The choice is ours. God does the calling but we must do the responding. Many are called that do not respond to the call and this is tragic. God gives us free will. He is not willing that any should perish for as Peter said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Even though the Lord is not willing that any should perish the sad fact is that most do. Not because God was slack concerning His promise but because most chose to do their own thing rather than to obey His commandments. Moses challenged the chosen people of his day to make the right choice. He said, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you.” History attests to the fact that most did turn away and perished.
Joshua said to the Israelites just before he died, “If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The people gave the right answer but did the wrong thing. We read, “And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua.” Unfortunately soon after that every man was doing that which was right in his own eyes. That turned out to be a bad choice.
Elijah threw down a challenge to the Israelites of his day. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” Soon after Jezebel was out to kill Elijah and he fled for his life. God does test us to see if we will follow Him or do our own thing. He tested Adam and Eve in the garden and they failed. He tested King Hezekiah, “But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask Hezekiah about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” Sadly he failed this test. God tested Abraham and he passed the test. We will be tested. That is a promise from God but He tests us so we can overcome; He does not want us to fail.
Jesus tells us to cheer up when we are being tested. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We too can overcome and there is a special blessing upon those who do: “He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.”
God created us and He wants us in His kingdom but it must be our decision to say along with Joshua of old, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We join David in saying “As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me.”