One of the most beautiful things about love is choice. If you remove choice from either side of a relationship it is no longer love. I remember the day I asked Jan to marry me. I asked and she said yes. I offered love and she accepted. I did not take Jan by force apart from the exercise of her will. Our love reflected a mutual choice.
There is something floating around the Church attempting to become a point of theology. It is trying to convince its listeners that all of humanity is saved apart from choice. I understand the desire for such an error to be true but in the end, too much Scripture stands in the way. A simple reading of the New Testament looking for words like “believe” or “accept” keep our choice to receive the offer of God’s love squarely in the salvation equation.
Paul told the Corinthians, “He made you holy by means of Jesus Christ, just as He did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (I Corinthians 1:2). The “call” part is the exercise of our will to receive the offer of God’s love in Christ.
Luke wrote, “Of Him, all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). Jesus said something similar, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). Believe is an important word.
While Jesus never gave traditional altar calls with the hymn, Just As I Am, playing in the background, He did ask people to follow Him. The following was a choice of their will. It is not about the method of invitation, it is about our choice to follow. Take the choice away and the Church will look like a harem, not a bride.
Be careful out there. Paul said we need to rise to a level of maturity in our faith so that, “We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:14).