Truth Baptist Church
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
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Free Will and Final Choices!

Is salvation of the soul a lifelong series of choices, or can one be saved instantly as a result of one single choice?

     If you were to die today, do you know absolutely for sure that your soul would go straight to Heaven?
     What if you die five years from today?  Are you convinced that you will go there?
     Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could know for sure?  For then, any problem or hardship that you might face down here would not be so unbearable: because you would know that when this physical life ends, you are going to a place where there is no more pain, or sorrow, or death.  And just think, you will be living in that place with Jesus for millions and billions of years, never to end!
     Friend, the Bible reveals to us that a person can know for sure that his soul has eternal life now, therefore guaranteeing him of a future home in Heaven.  This guarantee can be secured instantly in this present world as the result of one single "choice".  That "choice" being: to sincerely repent and totally rely upon Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of one's soul.
     Listen to what the Scriptures say in I John 5: 11-13: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of Son of God."
     Now, there are many religious people who would object to this on the grounds that there is always the possibility that a Christian can choose to turn away from Jesus and die in that condition, resulting in condemnation to Hell.  They do not believe that a person can have an "eternal security" for their soul in this life as long as he still has a "free will".
     Consider what kind of conclusion this "free will" objection will lead to.
     First of all; a free will is a wonderful privilege from God because it gives man the ability to independently respond to Him.  After all, God could have created man as a race of "mindless zombies" or "computerized robots".  However, this would never be a satisfying relationship for Him.
     Keeping this in mind; we must conclude that those who are already in Heaven still have a "free will"; or do you suppose that they are just like "zombies" or "robots"?  Of course they are not!  But if they still have a "free will", then wouldn't there be the possibility of them turning away from God sometime in the future and end up in Hell?  They could never have the peaceful security in knowing that they were safe in Heaven forever.  For, even if they were to behold God in all of His glory [some call this the Beatific Vision], there would always be the chance that they could end up like Lucifer and his angels.
     The point is: in order to be consistent; all of those who believe that a person can never be eternally secure in this life because of his "free will" must conclude that a person could never be eternally secure in Heaven either!
     Having considered all of that; may I remind you that there is such a thing as a FINAL CHOICE.  For when one makes a "final choice" about a particular matter; he may have had a free will up to that point, but not after.  He may have a free will in other matters, but he cannot go back and reverse that particular choice because it was "final".
     To illustrate this, let's suppose that a person has been diagnosed with cancer in one of his feet.  The doctor gives him a choice as to how he wants to keep it from spreading.  Either he can try to treat it medically, hoping to stop it; or he can have the foot amputated, guaranteeing that it wouldn't spread.  If he has the foot amputated, he has made a "final choice".  Two years later, he may wish that he had never made that choice, but he can't change it, because it was "final".
     This same principle of "final choice" can also be applied to receiving salvation by the grace of God.  The reason for this is that when a person sincerely repents and through faith depends upon Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of his soul; he immediately receives "everlasting" life.  Jesus said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; but IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE." (John 5:24)  The Scriptures teach that "...the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)
     The adjectives "everlasting" and "eternal" before the word "life" prove by context that it is speaking of something that is permanent, endless, etc.
     The very fact that this life is a "gift" from God and that it is "everlasting" necessitates that it must be received as the result of one single, "final" choice.  Jesus said: "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM, AND YE SHALL HAVE THEM." (Mark 11:24)
     Consider this for a minute, suppose that you were to pray, believing that God would give you His gift of everlasting life [through Jesus Christ] today: would you have to ask for it again next week, or next year?  Of course not, because if you had really believed that God would give it to you, and that it was "everlasting", [as Jesus said it was]; then you would have already had it.  If you were to keep asking for it, then you must not have really had enough faith to believe that Jesus would give it to you in the FIRST PLACE!
     Listen to how He puts it as He is speaking to the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John: "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water [the physical water in the well] shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him SHALL NEVER THIRST; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into EVERLASTING LIFE." (John 4:13,14)  Please notice; in the physical realm, in order for a person to keep from getting thirsty, he has to keep on taking drinks of water.  However, in the spiritual realm, once a person has taken a drink of the "living water" of salvation, he will never have to take another drink again, for he will never be thirsty for it again!  He had a free will beforehand to choose whether to drink of it or reject it, but not after, for he has made a "final choice".
     Another example of this can be found in the Scriptures when Jesus said: "And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one." (John 10:28-30)  Friend, since God is more powerful than anyone, even the devil himself could never pluck one of God's children out of His hand.  Neither would someone be able to jump out, because once they have entered into God's hand, they have made a "final choice".  Suppose that a small child wants to cross a busy street.  His father will take him, but only if he puts his hand into his father's.  As they get halfway across, the excited child may try to pull away from his father's grasp.  However, because of the loving father's strength and knowledge of the potential danger, he would never let go of his child.  The child had a free will to choose as to whether he wanted to put his hand into his father's, but once he made his choice, he could not reverse it.
     The apostle Paul speaks about the time that he had made his "final choice" about the destiny of his soul when he tells Timothy: "... I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (II Tim. 1:12)  Please note that he doesn't say "whom I am believing" or "which I am committing".  This is because he knew that there was a time in his past when he had made that "final choice" to commit the responsibility for his salvation to Jesus Christ alone!
     Friend, if you haven't already; right now you have the "free will" to make that "final choice".  Why don't you admit your need for salvation and commit to Jesus Christ the responsibility of saving your soul from Hell.  "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25)  After all, that's why He died on the cross and rose from the dead!
     Remember; the very moment that you completely trust Jesus Christ to save your soul, you have made a FINAL CHOICE and can always be thankful that you will NEVER have to be cast into Hell.  For Jesus said: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT." (John 6:37)