Obedience and Free Will by Pastor Kevin Stephens 0

Genesis 15-25

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

We see here a perfect set up.  Perfect living conditions, the perfect mate and only one caveat.   They weren’t allowed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This was the first conflict between obedience and free will.

Obedience is the act of following instructions or recognizing someone’s authority.

In the religious realm, free will implies that individual will, and choices can coexist with an omnipotent divinity.  All actions made according to a person’s will are called “willing” or “voluntary.”  God has allowed us that option.

The two elements that must be in place for obedience to God and free will to live together peacefully are:

  1. Recognizing God’s Authority
  2. Acting on that criteria

The beauty of what God has done for us is that everyone understands that the Creator gets to determine everything about his creation.  How it will operate, what will be in it, its laws, its environment…absolutely everything about it.

Compare this to Star Wars.  George Lucas created the story, the looks, the settings, the characters, the plots, absolutely, everything about that universe.  And now, everyone who follows the movies, books, etc. knows how things operate in that world. Sith and the dark side are bad.  Jedi are good.

Someone could look at the story and say, “I think it would be a much better story if he made the Force a computer that everyone wanted to own.”  That would just be ridiculous, not because of the idea but because it’s his story, and his world.  He gets to tell it the way he wants.

So again, God as the Creator and ultimate giver of life, has the right to determine everything. And in his great benevolence, he decided that he wouldn’t make us all love and obey him. He is so gracious and giving that he gave us something that could be used for good or evil.  He gave us, free will.

Unfortunately, we tend to act on our own agenda, our own plans, but that is inconsistent with our profession of our relationship with the one we call God.  We, of our own free will, call Him God.  We say, God is our Sovereign King and ruler.  We say, “thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth.”  However, with that prayer, we must be willing to act.  We must be willing to do our part to make that prayer valid in our lives.

Obedience allows us to get the most out of our free will.

By choice, we follow.

By choice, we obey.

By choice, we resist.

Now reflect on your own obedience to God.  Do you find yourself lining up with his will or do you find yourself disobedient?  What choices will you make today?

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