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Free Will: Christ Crucified

by Buford Smith

In Gethsemane Jesus practiced free-will, (Matt. 26:36-46). In His great love for us He chose the way of the cross. Because of His great love we can choose to follow His example. Or, we can choose to ignore His example.

Shortly after creation, the human heart chose to sin, (Genesis (3:1-13). From the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden the heart of man has chosen to rebel against the commands of God, (Genesis 6:5 NIV) “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”

Later God spoke of Israel, His Chosen People, through Isaiah (29:13, NIV), “These people … honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

God adds in Romans (3:23), “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That spiritual rebellion continues today, (II Timothy 3:1-5).

The world-wide spiritual rebellion calls all blood-bought believers to focus on saving lost souls from eternal punishment. Many Bible-believing Christians seem to have forgotten the Great Commission of Jesus, “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:18-20).

The world needs the offer of salvation in the message of Jesus Christ crucified and Bible-believing God-fearing Followers of Jesus need desire and courage to live and to share that message with the sinful and rebellious world, (I Corinthians 15:1-8).

The challenge: The lifestyle of the world and of many religious groups, emphasizes that neither group is interested in the message of Jesus Christ crucified. Many religious bodies flaunt their rebellion against God’s authority by accepting the blasphemous conduct of the world and calling it worship.

But God requires more than mere repetition of memorized religious chants and rituals.

God requires a changed heart-attitude toward His Word.

Salvation comes to the individual whose heart confesses its sinfulness and chooses to yield to the Lordship of God. In the obedience of baptism God gives His Holy Spirit to live in [indwell] each believer, (Acts 2:38).

The greatest need of all true believers is to get serious about saving lost souls; to adopt the attitude of Paul as he explains to the Corinthians, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified, (I Cor. 2:2). This same Paul said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some,” (I Cor. 9:19-23).

           Paul’s emphasis is critically important. The lost world needs the blood of Jesus and we

 are responsible for sharing that good news with them Paul encourages the Corinthians and us, to do a personal self-check of our spiritual awareness. Where should we be as servants of The Most high God? (II Cor. 13:5 & Hebrews 5:11-14).

To help us remain vigilant Jesus records examples of churches that became careless in their walk with God. He found problems in five of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3: Ephesus had forsaken its first love; Pergamum had people who held the teachings of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans; Thyatira tolerated Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess; Sardis had a reputation of being alive, but was dead; Laodicea was neither cold nor hot.

To each of these churches Jesus gave an “either / or” choice. Free will required that they choose between obedience to the God of heaven or rejecting Him and receiving their choice – an eternity in utter darkness cut off from the Light that is Jesus The Christ.

Jesus warns and encourages true believers to cling to the God of promise and to meditate on His promises: (I Thessalonians 4:13-18); (Hebrews 13:5); (II Peter 3:13).

God’s promises are our greatest blessings. Because He promised, we can refuse to compromise with the world; We can rejoice in suffering for His name’s sake; rejoice in anticipating His coming and rejoice in longing for His new heaven and new earth, the home of righteousness, (Rev. 21:1-8).

Our mission, as we wait His coming: To worship God and to share His gospel with lost souls. Amen.

Even so, Come Lord Jesus!


After 49 years and 10 months of full-time ministry, Buford Smith retired from Shiloh Church of Christ in 2011. Since then he preaches for various churches when their minister is away.


One Response to “Free Will: Christ Crucified”

  1. Beverly Flora says:

    Great message.

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4