Christ’s cautions about deception are urgent and the reach of false claims is global. The thought that we were not victims needs to be seen for the counterfeit that it is. The nature of deception includes the surprising and disastrous realization of what it breeds. With willpower as the favourite explanation the attempt to deceive is quite blatant. I am sure you have heard: “Faith is Works”. “Works are Faith”. “Morality is complete compliance with everything God ever said”. Please, don’t laugh. Willpower is the catalyst to salvation according to the vast majority of Christians and the theory that bears the name Arminianism.
Ultimately, we did not choose Christ: he chose us. We were begotten by God’s will, not by human freewill agency. Believing that our decision is the critical facet of getting saved and not Christ’s intervention places our witness on the horns of a dilemma.
The dilemma leaves the grace of God out of our attitude and response to salvation and the inevitable outcome is that we find ways to accumulate credit for getting saved and we treat salvation as something that makes us indebted. If we are indebted, then we ought to pay, but it is obvious that we cannot pay and in fact are not being asked to pay or prove that we are worthy. When someone gives you a gift you don’t owe them anything except “thank you”.
A biblical example of salvation in Christ as a gift being kept out of sight is James’ letter. James’ first exhortation (1:2) is a slap in the face of the Saviour.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
Joy is the Christian’s heritage, not an incidental – such as when one meets trials of various kinds. Furthermore Christian life has joy as a primary descriptor. James is not treating joy as a resident virtue. There is no recollection of salvation thst does not stir up joy and no time when God’s presence is not the source of fullnes of joy.
- For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
- And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10
- Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20
- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Faith is the gift. Through faith we become a new creation: children of God, members of the Body of Christ, and heirs of the kingdom. One choice makes the kingdom available. Yet we hear quite consistently of 7 principles, 12 daily choices, 3 principles, being offered as the ways to an abundant life in Christ. Hundreds of books push a variety of principles the believer needs to know and live by.
How about those popular Ten Commandments – the covenant? Aren’t they supposed to be the moral law, written in the believer’s heart? What about the two principles of love to God and love to one’s neighbours? If Christ is the example, who are we putting first? Did Christ not say “I give my life” and “Let the sinner who believes in me (a) live, (b) sit with me, (c) be a member of my body, (d) light up the world, (e) rise from the dead”? Where is the grace and where is the human willpower in those guarantees (a b c d e)? Where indeed is human assurance of or contribution to keeping the covenant-in-Lamb’s-blood?
Loyalty. Patriotism. Sectarianism
If one wants to prove that Christ is the only Saviour – because that is our contention – then no human contribution should appear on the record. Especially not human will.
Salvation is not left up to human reliability.
I guess its time to admit that there is no Christ living in us, because he cannot (a) lives out his life in unsaved people nor (b) can we envision that Christ is a head without a body. Your “willpower and choice” contribution to salvation is a demonic lie: works, food and drink, do not cut it.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. Romans 9:16
He who wills, the one who is exercising his wish, must be God. We pray “Let your will be done” so it must be our will that is unrelated and contrary and hostile. I have always felt that people who are trying to pay back God or think they have to prove their validity are ungrateful or do not recognize the immensity of the gift of salvation.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
So did we choose to be joyful at the sound of the good news? Did we choose to be subject to futility? Did we indeed choose God’s way? Did we choose to be like the wind? Did we choose to be subject to hope? Do we recognize that we did choose to reckon ourselves the finished product – creature – instead of the process, creation?
Willpower and the ability to choose are the weakest links in the chain. Freewill enabled Adam’s fall. At what point then do we progress past the frailty of our own judgment? When we trust the Giver.
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 2 Timothy 1:12