Saturday, February 11, 2006

Everybody Gets What They Bargain For

Everybody gets what they bargain for, but not everyone will like what they get. Adam bargained for the knowledge of good and evil when he chose to eat of the forbidden tree. And he got exactly what he bargained for — ever since then, the world has known good and evil, and the whole place has been a wreck.

A choice that is truly free must have real consequences, or else the will only appears to be free. Many people proudly tout their free will but then try to deny the consequences. Or else they portray God as having somehow been unfair or cruel to them by delivering the corresponding judgment. But the judgment of God simply restores the equilibrium of righteousness. It sets things right, and that means consequences. The natural consequences for choosing the good are good; the consequences for choosing evil are evil (which is nothing more than the lack of good).

Everybody gets what they bargain for, but not everyone likes what they get. Here’s how Paul put it:
For the wrath of God is revealed form heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)
Paul has more to say about this matter in verses 26 and following. But my point here is that when people choose against the incorruptible glory of God, the only thing left is corruption. Having thus chosen corruption, God gives them over to that which they have chosen: corruption, which equals death, separation from the life God prepared for everyone to enjoy with Him. Though they freely choose the corruption, they rail against the natural results.

C. S. Lewis said that, in the end, there are only two kinds of people:
  • Those who say to God, “Thy will be done.” And they enjoy the splendor of heaven.
  • Those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.” And they experience the torment of hell.
Repentance is the opportunity to choose again and receive the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation God extends to us in Jesus Christ. You will not regret the consequence you receive from that decision.

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