As we contemplate this week’s SS lesson on the power of choice we also find something that Christ accomplished for everyone, believer and non-believer alike on the cross.
David says of God in Psalms 145:16, “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” Really? God satisfies the desire of every living thing? Even those who do not love or serve Him? Yes! How so? Hebrews 2:14-15 says “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” 1 John 3:8 says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” When we submitted to the devil he then took away our power of choice and made us subject to bondage. On the cross Christ freed the entire world from Satan’s bondage and gave us all our freedom of choice back. You see, I can go into a convenience store and buy a bottle of water or soda or beer. I can buy whatever I want. But the alcoholic has no choice. He has to buy the beer. He has chosen to remain in bondage.
Consider this passage from Steps to Christ page 47: “Many are inquiring, “How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?” You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.”
The drunkard may want to be alcohol free, but has he chosen to be free? I can go to a restaurant and see a lot of things on the menu that I want but the waiter will only bring me what I choose. Several years ago I was living in the Dallas area when Michael Jordan was supposedly retiring and making his last appearance with the Bulls against the Dallas Mavericks. I wanted to go see him before he retired. The radio announced when tickets would go on sale and I told myself I wanted to get the tickets when they went on sale. That time came and went and the game sold out and I did not get a ticket. I got mad at myself for forgetting to get the tickets. Then I realized if I had really wanted to see Jordan I would not have forgotten when the tickets would be on sale. While thinking I wanted the tickets I never chose to go get the tickets. That is the difference between wanting and choosing, and the power of the will and choice.
It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.—Steps to Christ, P. 17
If it is not an arbitrary decree then that means both parties must have chosen that solution. Through brainwashing, addictions, etc. Satan has worked to take man’s choice away. In destroying the works of the devil God has not forced man to be saved, but He has given every living creature the choice to have what they desire.
You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light of The Cross.