This year, citizens of the United States of America will exercise one of the most fundamental rights of our democracy—choosing through free and fair elections those who will govern us at local, state and national levels. The right to choose our leaders is a precious one. In the course of our nation’s history, thousands of brave men and women have shed their blood and laid down their lives to provide and protect this freedom. Oppressed people in many nations across the globe can only dream of enjoying such a privilege. We must never take it for granted. Liberty, though purchased by sacrifice, is forfeited by complacency.
As much as we cherish our democracy, however, the most important choice every person must make in life is not a political one, but a spiritual one. The Bible contains some 70 or more references to choosing. Throughout the pages of Scripture, the inescapable imperative of choosing for or against the Lord sounds forth over and over again.
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” Joshua commanded Israel before his death, “whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,” he declared, “we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Jesus said, “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17). Further, He declared, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30).
In addition to the fact that each of us must choose for or against Christ, the Bible makes clear that we have only a limited time to make this choice, and that the consequence of doing so endures for eternity.
“People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The Prophet Daniel foresaw that judgment and spoke of it, saying: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
The Good News that God has given us to proclaim, though, is that God “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
“By this gospel you are saved … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).
It is important to realize that, even before we make a decision about Christ, we are not neutral. We are God’s enemies.
Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Billy Graham has pointed out that we are all sinners, separated from God by birth, by choice and by practice. John the Baptist declared, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).
In a very real sense, not to consciously decide for Christ is indeed to have already decided against Him and to be living as one who has already been found guilty of sin and is awaiting the full execution of the sentence we deserve.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
However, life and not death can be the outcome of the story for each of us, if we will choose to trust in and follow Christ.
“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
When we talk about the necessity and urgency of choosing Christ, it is important for us to recognize the miracle of God’s loving initiative toward us—namely, that when a person places his or her faith in Christ, the truth is that God already “chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4).
But we have a responsibility to act on the light He gives us—about Himself and His righteousness, about ourselves and our unworthiness, and about Christ and His unique sufficiency for our salvation!
The Bible tells us, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3). As a partner with us in proclaiming the Gospel, please ask God to continue giving us the wisdom, favor, strength and financial resources to do this work. And please join us in praying that, through these efforts, multitudes will indeed choose Christ, who shed His blood and laid down His life to make it possible for men, women, boys and girls from every tribe and tongue to experience freedom from sin and receive eternal life. That’s a sacrifice worthy of our wholehearted gratitude and lifelong devotion. To God be the glory!
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New international Version.