Do You Believe God Compels or Invites Devotion?
Question: Your theology seems to make people mere objects of a God who compels rather than invites. So, does He compel or invite devotion?
Response: I do think that God invites devotion, but only after He has created those that He invites… and created a desire within them to accept His invitation. Many people talk of their own free will as if it were the uncreated Creator. If that’s what a person means by free will, I would argue that that person is not free, but in bondage to an illusion. We are not our own uncreated Creator. If a free will is anything, then it is a creation of the Creator and only truly free when it is at peace with this truth—the Truth.
Is to create, to also compel? Does God invite us to be created?
I believe that God creates devotion and that He creates devotion with His Judgment. Judgment means “decision”—that Decision, Will, Word, or Choice may be extremely painful but it is always Love and always Good. God wrapped His Word, His Will, His Judgment, His Light (John 3:19 “This is the Judgment, the Light has come into the World.”) in flesh. With our judgment, we crucified the Judgment of God, and from the tree on which we took His Life (THE LIFE), He cried “Father forgive them.” This is the Judgment of God. It burns away our bad judgment and imparts God’s good Judgment. All people will have to stand before this Judgment (John 12:31,19:37) and “every knee will bow (like the centurion’s) and every tongue will confess to the glory of God.” Isaiah (see 45:22-23), quoted twice in the New Testament, clearly calls this salvation—it is a confession of faith. Some will make this confession while they walk the surface of this earth in physical bodies (we call these people “Christians”). Some will make this confession after spending an untold period of time weeping and gnashing their teeth in outer darkness. All will be “salted with fire” (Mark 9:49) somehow in the process (Pentecost or Gehenna or the lake of fire and “theion“).
But here’s my point: God creates your faith with a story of Grace (the Gospel according to you). If you take credit for your “faith” I don’t think it’s faith in God; it’s faith in your own will. If faith is a “thing,” then God created it. If you want to be proud of your faith, you uncreate yourself; you desecrate yourself as the Scribes and Pharisees.
Ask yourself, “Am I offended at the idea that God might save everyone by Grace?” The extent to which you’re offended is the extent to which you don’t have faith in Grace. This is the extent to which you must still “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” For IT IS GOD who works in you, both to WILL and to WORK for his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12)
“…By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is NOT your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8) Faith is a gift imparted to you through Christ’s work on the cross. It is His life rising in you. It’s the result of being romanced by God, not the result of your own “ethical decision and will power.” We just made a short film explaining this. I hope you can watch it: