I have no disagreement with the theology of free will or free choice. However allow me to suggest that there is more beyond this view. And yet it doesn’t negate free will. It simply adds to it.
Yes, it is true that God is seeking that we submit our will to Him. Yes, the choices we make do indeed determine our destiny. Yes we are called to action. “Faith without works is dead.” However, the “more” I’m referring to is mentioned in Hebrews 6. “Leaving therefore the principles of the doctrine of Christ, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith towards God, and of the doctrine of baptisms and of the laying on of hands and of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment… Let us go on to perfection… And this we will do if God permit.” I am referring to a deeper realm in Christ that has very little to do with my choice. Not everyone will see it or be able to comprehend it.
In the Book of Acts when the seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out demons, the demons responded, “Jesus we know and Paul we know but who are you?” Can you even imagine. These demons recognized Paul on the same level that they recognize Jesus. Why? Because he was fully possessed by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why he says, “I press towards the mark of the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” Followed by, “Not as though I had attained or were already perfect.” Now most Christians leave it here without reading the next verse. Here comes the Revelation. Boldly he states, “As many of us as are perfect be thus minded.” In other words as many of us who are perfect act as though you had not attained.” Be like Jesus who was the Son of God yet referred to himself as the Son of Man. Paul is calling those who are perfect to walk in humility.
We might ask, how was that call of God on Paul demonstrated? Scripture informs us that he was stoned three times and left for dead. Were the Jews in his day so stupid that they couldn’t tell if somebody was dead or not? Of course they could. They used huge stones and bashed his brains out all over the road, after which he simply got up and continued to preach the gospel. That’s why he says “I’ve been in deaths oft” or literally died many times. He was thrown to beasts at Ephesus. Yes, he was thrown to lions and tigers and bears, oh my. He was devoured. And yet, once again he got up and continued to preach the gospel. He says he spent a day and a half in the deep. Mind you this was before there was scuba gear. He even told the Galatians that he was in a straight betwixt two. In other words he was caught in indecision. He boldly states he wanted to go home to be with the Lord but for their sakes and their need for the mystery of the gospel he decided to remain.
Please do not confuse the preaching of the gospel with the mystery of the gospel. Yes there is indeed a mystery associated with the gospel. It is not simply a reference to the fact that the Old Testament was now understood in the person of Jesus. To the Ephesians he states that 1) after that you believed, and 2) after that you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 3) he ceased not to pray for them night and day that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened that they might know the hope of their calling. He goes on to explain to these born-again, Spirit filled believers their need for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him. Imagine their need for something greater than salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Unless you begin to understand that God is calling a people at the end of this age to a perfect walk you will not get it. “The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain even until now for the manifestation of the Sons of God.” Most people are waiting for the Antichrist, the Rapture or the Return of King Jesus from the clouds. Instead, Jesus is calling us to Resurrection Life in the here and now. He states, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he were dead yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) Most of us are aware of this fact after we got saved. But pay careful attention to the other half of the verse. “And whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” So apparently it is possible to achieve immortality in this lifetime in the here and now, like Enoch, or like Elijah, or like Jesus, or like Paul.
So yes of course I am talking about total possession. However I am not talking about the annihilation of the soul. We thought that when we get saved we would have to give up everything. Instead we found out who we really were and we got rid of a lot of baggage that wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. Unfortunately, we thought that baggage was our identity. Now that we are saved we realize our identification is found in Christ. The same is true after we were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Who wants to be a holy roller, a fanatic or as evangelicals put it, an emotional heretic. But again as we submitted to him, died a little more to self, and more of who we really are became obvious.
Redeemed means to be brought back. It is God’s intention to fully redeem us and to fully bring us back to that place where we were when we were “in him and with him before the foundation of the earth.” Scripture is clear, “Whom he did foreknow, them also he did predestinate etc.” So I’m not challenging you in your belief as a free moral agent. To do the work of an evangelist choices are critical. But I believe that God is calling every blood bought, born again, spirit filled believer to see the hope of their calling especially in this hour, “that you might know as you are known,” that “you might have the mind of Christ.” And as hard as it is to believe, this was the deepest desire of our Lord Jesus when he prayed in the garden, “That they may be one as thou father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
I pray that this message has encouraged believers to seek a revelation of the high call of God. Be blessed in Jesus name.