As Christians, we take as gospel that God has supreme control over our lives and fate. We conclude that everything is pre- destined and that our Lord already knows what is in store for us.
If the Lord is at the helm of things, and perceives what awaits us on Judgement Day, why do we have to strive for goodness and ensure a seat in the Kingdom of God? Isn’t it enough then that we just flow with the train of our thoughts?
A very thought provoking question indeed!
If our life is randomly pre- destined by God to be one of salvation or doom, is it justified that we live in the Fear of the Lord for the possible attainment of Heavenly graces? When the world dwells in crime, transgression, wrongdoing and revelry, why do we have to suffer injustice and keep away from sin?
God’s plan and the doctrine of pre-destination
Our God undoubtedly has a definite plan for each one of his children. But, as His superior creation, God has also allowed us a certain right to exercise our free-will based on the spiritual and moralistic values that have been instilled in us during the course of our lives. This is why a solid spiritual base is essential to choose the best course in life and avoid unwanted consequences. In spiritual life, all roads definitely do not lead to Rome.
When we trust our mental faculties to choose what we want to do in life, we are bound to fall off track from time to time. However, trusting God to lay down the law for all our major decisions will help us seal the deal with a majestic outcome. Would you believe that?
At first glance, a right to free-will would look contradictory to the theological doctrine of predestination. Pre- destination declares to us that destiny or fate is expected to overrule our existence, whatever we choose to do in life.
Is this belief true in its truest sense?
Even before we were born, before we could think, or before we could speak or act, God had already marked our destinies. Some of His children were created for redemption, and some for doom .As unfair and controversial as it may sound, the theory of pre- destination is one that has been pursued with great vigour by many theologians of immense repute.
Let’s take a look at the life of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were created by God to lead a life of joy and obedience in the Garden of Eden. God gave them specific instructions to follow, to lead a peaceful life in perpetuum.
However, we may note that eating from The Tree of Life was not a pre-destined plan by God. It was executed by the free will of Eve, which subsequently led to the doom of mankind.
So, one must assume that God gives us the choice to make a free will based on our intellectual and spiritual capabilities. This is despite the fact that our destinies are already sealed and stored in His heavenly abode.
The choices that we make in life will decide what future awaits us on earth. Just like Adam and Eve, we could be tempted to fall for the allurements of Satan, and enter into nefarious deeds that can drive our fate in the wrong direction. God has absolutely no control on these alternative decisions that we make, unless we pray and put Him before us while we act.
Our free-will can lead us through rambling degrees of joy, trials, sufferings, temptations and even sin if we are not prudent enough to identify the wrong signals. Even so, if salvation is etched in our destiny, we will ultimately repent for the sins committed, and converge under the protective wings of our Lord.
How do we explain this?
Let us take a trip back to the Old Testament and see instances where free- will and God’s will are discussed in plenty.
The Book of Exodus talks about the disobedience of the people of Israel to God’s words. We see that this exercising of free-will leads to a lot of suffering and detours which were not part of God’s plan. We can even see Moses executing his free-will by striking the rock to bring forth water, instead of talking to it as ordered by God. This action of Moses leads to denial of The Promised Land to him as a punishment from the Almighty.
We also see in Exodus how God purposely hardens the Pharaoh’s heart to get things to be in favour of the Israelites-His chosen people. Pharoah’s actions are pre- destined by God to bring forth a certain positive outcome that will help His people inch closer towards the Promised Land.
Exodus7:3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.
Let’s look at King David who loved God above all, but still committed atrocious deeds. David’s crime created a chain reaction of wrongdoings which resulted in his son committing incest by lusting after his own sister. God was still compassionate to David as he was pre – destined for salvation. We even hear the Lord call David as a man after His own heart!
Why was David able to please God, despite his villainous deeds? My dear friends, this is where we see the true love of God for His children. King David truly repented for his actions and mended his ways. Never did he ever do anything to offend God’s disposition thenceforth. David was truly God fearing and a man after God’s own heart. Repentance can melt God’s heart and provide us true salvation. It may also change someone’s pre-destined doom to one of salvation.
We are responsible for our free-will
While God still has control on every being that he created, and knows his/her destiny, God definitely does not plan what we do in our day to day lives. But, if we look up to God to direct us through our daily lives, he will definitely make things easy for us and lead us to our destiny safer and faster, without much faltering.
How do we know whether we are destined for salvation or doom?
Well, there is no way to know for sure!
Much can be assumed based on our actions, spirituality, and general behaviour. Much can be attained by surrendering our lives to God to exercise His will in our lives. Much can be inferred by reading the Bible and abiding by Word of God!
This is where we as Christians must do our supreme duty to evangelize. Every Christian is called to evangelize in big or small ways, so that even after a person exercises his free will- a decision which may or may not lead him to salvation, we can still direct a few of the lost sheep to the path of the Shepherd, and prevent them from falling into total destruction.
We can extend our spiritual blessings to others by spreading Godly wisdom, and motivating them to mend their ways and turn to the almighty. By spreading the word of God, not only do we enhance our spiritual blessings, but we also help others who could have lost their way and bring them back to the path of salvation. This is the promise that our Lord had sealed through the cross carried by His son. All lost sheep will find salvation at the feet of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Matthew 6:34 tells us not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Our father in heaven will take care of our future. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Let us all look up to our Heavenly Father and put Him before every forward step that we take in our lives, so that He may lead us to the ultimate path of salvation.