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You have to choose for yourself -- part 1
pastor corner

Most religious people believe that God loves everyone and wants all to be saved. Yet some fail to understand that he created man to have his own will so he can determine what to do or not do.
It takes a study of God’s word to really understand this fact and to understand God Himself. God loved man enough to provide all man needs for salvation, but it is something that a man must decide he wants. God will not make someone do something they do not want to do — it is a choice made by the individual.  
Example after example is found in the Old Testament, showing that God gave people a choice and left it up to them whether or not they would follow him. In the book of Judges, God blessed his people, and they enjoyed a time of prosperity and peace, but they soon forgot God and began to live for themselves. An oppressor came and the people “remembered” God and cried for his help. He sent a judge to deliver the people from their trouble, but as soon as things were peaceful again, they slipped back into their sinful ways.
While man has a choice, he also must realize that every person one day will give an accounting. Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). On that day, it will be too late to change what has been done.
Each person’s destiny in eternity is set by what is done here and now. That is why it is so important that each person have a working knowledge of God’s word. Listening to what someone says or thinks about it is not a good way to get ready for eternity.
In 1 Kings 13, there is an account of a young prophet who listened to someone besides God, and because of the lie he believed, he lost his life. The lie was told by an older prophet, and the young man believed him. He had orders from God, but lost sight of who he needed to believe.
People make mistakes, but God does not. Bible study for oneself is crucial.
Knowing that one will stand accountable for the way they react to God should make them search for the truth in all religious matters.
When it comes to a person’s soul, careful study of God’s word is needed. The soul is worth more than the entire world. Jesus once said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
You have a choice — make it carefully.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series. The second part will appear next week.

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