Do we really have a free choice in life?

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4
If God has a plan for our lines,do we no longer have a free choice? The Bible tells us we are to choose the Lord. That means we have the choice not to choose. The Lord's foreknowledge does not remove our freedom to choose. Love must be an intelligent free choice.
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Caller:  I was talking to a person the other day and they believe that God created - has such a plan for everything.  Everybody has a particular purpose.  And that would rule out any kind of choice that you might have.  That would be my question:  Do people really have a choice or is everything pre-ordained?

Pastor Doug:  Well I'm of the belief - I'm not one of these people who believes that you don't really have a choice.  I believe that we do have a choice that's why God asks us to choose.  He says, 'Choose ye this day who you will serve.'  Christ said to the rich young ruler, 'Come and follow me.' And He actually asked him to be an Apostle.  No one will ever know what the history would've ever been but God's plan for that young man - and this is in Mark chapter 10 - was to be a follower.  And he went away.  He chose not to because he loved his money more.

So we can choose to follow the Lord.  We can choose not to follow Him.  I'm of the opinion we definitely have a choice.  Now because God knows everything, some people think that He's making it happen but just because someone knows something doesn't mean that they're forcing people to make choices.  God gives us freedom to choose.  He may know what we're going to do, but that doesn't mean He's making it happen.

Caller:  So that would be God's mercy and love for you to make your own choice.

Pastor Doug:  Yeah.  Well you cannot love without freedom.  In other words, you cannot choose to love God if He pre-programs us and makes us love Him.  That's not love.  That would be like your programming your computer to make it say 'I love you, I love you, I love you' and that's not love.  Love must be an intelligent, free choice.

Caller:  And my interpretation was that if everything was planned out to the tenth degree then, if I'm born into sin, then I'm going to hell.

Pastor Doug:  Yeah if that was true, you would be right but see I believe that there's a big difference between God planning everything and God knowing everything.  God's plan for everybody is to be saved.  Now let me give you some Scripture:  God who will have all men to be saved - that's 1 Timothy 2:4. And then God says in 2 Peter chapter 3 He's not willing that any should perish.  So that's God's perfect Will but we know many will perish because they don't choose.

And there's that verse that says many are called but few are chosen - and what that means is that many are called but few choose to respond, in the original translation - and so we all have freedom of choice.  That's why Jesus invites everybody in The Great Invitation: whosoever will, let him come.  Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden.  And not all will choose.  Judas chose to turn his back on Christ.  Jesus knew what Judas would do, but He didn't make him do it - do you see what I'm saying?

Caller:  Yes I do and, thank you very much.

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