In our daily lives, we must make choices. Some large and important, others small and insignificant. Some things are beyond our control, like where we were born and the abilities or talents that we have. But, most of the time where we are in our lives is the result of choices we have made, whether good or bad. And for that we can blame no one else.
Our God is a God of choice. The Lord wants us to be with Him, but He does not force us. Years ago a preacher explained it this way; “I love it when my little daughter climbs up on my lap and tells me that she loves me. If there was a button on her forehead that I could push to make her say, “I love you, Daddy,” it would not mean near as much to me as when she voluntarily tells me.
We were created in the image of our Heavenly Father, including His emotions. I am sure that He is very happy when we voluntarily tell Him that we love Him, and when we voluntarily praise His name for His wonderful goodness and blessing toward us. He did not create us with a button on our foreheads so we would thank Him like automatons.
So our Lord gives us choices. In the Book of Genesis, from the very beginning, the Lord offered a choice. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had the choice to eat from any tree except one. They chose to eat from the one forbidden tree, and we know the result.
At the close of the very last book of the Bible, the Revelation, after Satan is locked up for 1,000 years, he is released. (Revelation 20:7). For years I wondered why the Lord would release Satan after he was locked up and unable to deceive man.
The reason is - God allows us a choice. He allows us to decide. The Revelation and Old Testament prophets describe a period of perfect peace, ruled over by Messiah (Old Testament) or Jesus (Revelation), the King of kings and Lord of lords. After 1,000 years of peace, many people will not have experienced the evil of the Devil. There will be no war. There will be no child predators. Those living at that time will not have had to make a choice of who they would follow. Therefore, Satan is to be released so mankind can make one last decision. Amazingly, there will be many who will follow Satan after the Holy rule of the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
We will live forever. Our bodies will die, but our souls will continue on forever. Where our souls abide will be the result of our personal decisions. Personally, I will follow the advice of Joshua:
I pray that if you have not done so, that you will choose to accept the free gift of salvation offered by the Lord. May His name be praised forever.