Indore Baptist Church
September 26, 2021

The Choices of Man and the Choices of God

Preacher:
Passage: Acts 15:7
Service Type:
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The Choices of Man and the Choices of God
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” (Acts 15:7)
You hear a lot about choices today. In our society and in our political arena, it seems that men and women want to promote the choices of men and women, and they want to permit men and women – even boys and girls – to live their lives based on their own decisions and choices. Of course, this only holds true as long as those choices and decisions are made in the form of, and conform to, the desired directions and intended evils of the wicked men and women who have taken control of our society and government. In other words, these decisions and choices are applauded as long as they are anti-God and opposed to the normal ways of nature and natural Creation.
This idea of “freedom from oppression” and “freedom to choose” has long ago taken over the doctrine and theology of the religious world – even most of Christianity. Today, most religious persons will subscribe to some sort of religious view that promotes and encourages the will of man and the decisions that we make as individuals. Indeed, evangelical Christianity marks it growth and progress based on the good decisions and choices that men make – theirs is a religion of “decisionism.”
Let’s look at the definition of the word “choice.” As a noun, the word can be defined as the following: “the act of choosing : power of choosing : the best part : a person or thing chosen.” As an adjective – and this is how the word is used most often in the KJV – the word can be defined this way: “worthy of being chosen : selected with care.” In the Scriptures, the word “choice” is mostly used to describe a person, animal, or thing that is of higher quality, or that is of a special nature. However, in our text verse the word “choice” actually appears as a verb. We read that our “God made choice…” This is an Act or Determination of God. It is in this manner that I want to consider the choices that are made among God and men.
The Choices of Man and the Choices of God are two distinct and different things. When I say this, I say this from the perspective of the differences between the Nature of God and the Nature of man. I know that God can, and does, make man willing and able to make Choices that are like Him. However, man in his natural condition is not capable of these Good and Godly Choices. This is something that Christians today need to preach and teach. We need to let the world understand that there is something fundamentally different between God and man, and therefore there is something fundamentally different between the Choices that God makes and the Choices that man makes.
(Let me insert here, that when I speak of the Choices of God, and the Choices that He makes, I am not speaking of a God that changes and Who adapts and Who chooses differently based upon the circumstances. I am instead speaking of a God that makes known His Choices to His Creation – and these Choices were ordained and sure from before the foundation of the world.)
Today, as we look at the Choices of Man and the Choices of God, I want to mainly look at the Salvation that we have by the Grace of God. I want to look at that Salvation as God’s Choice, and not man’s choice; God’s decision and will, and not man’s decision and will.
Temporary and Eternal
Man’s Choices are Temporary. Man is a Temporal Creature. As I said earlier, I want to approach this message today, with the understanding that the man that we are speaking of is a Natural man. We are speaking of Natural man, and all of the abilities and attributes that he naturally possesses. And any man, in this natural condition, must certainly be seen as a Temporal Creature.
David offered up this prayer to God: “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah…O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” (Ps. 39:4-5, 13.) If King David could acknowledge his own Frailty, then surely you and I must also acknowledge how frail we, and indeed all of mankind, are.
Since man is so Frail and so Temporal, it can be seen that he makes choices that reflect this Temporality. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ tells us the story of the rich man whose ground “…brought forth plentifully:” (Lk. 12:16.) The Lord tells us what it was that this man chose to do, by relating to us the thoughts and words of this rich man. “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (Lk. 12:17-19.) This rich man could see far ahead, and plan far ahead, as far as the flesh was concerned. He was taking care of his future and was providing for himself and for his family. But, really, as far as even human time is concerned, he was not really farsighted. In other words, those crops that he had could not last his lifetime. And those barns that he built would eventually grow old and have to be re-built again.
And you might look at it this way as well: What if the rich man would later change his mind? Perhaps he was even the one that had built the barns that he currently had? Do you see what I mean? The Choices that he made, he might later un-make. And the Choices that he had already made, he might currently be changing. The Choices that we make here in this life, are purely Temporary. We may change our minds or attitudes concerning Choices that we have made – or perhaps we might have our minds or attitudes Changed for us. The point is that our Choices are not lasting ones, but they do change and they are altered from time to time.
But, the even more important mistake that he made, was that he thought in purely physical terms. His Temporal sight did not allow him to make provision for the soul. We read in the next verse, “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided.” (Lk. 12:20.) The Choice that the rich man made was to provide for the flesh, and to seek after the Ease that riches might provide for the body. He did not Choose to provide for the soul. His (and all of mankind’s) affections and Choices concerned only the Flesh.
God’s Choices are Eternal. As much as man is Temporal, even more God is Eternal. In other words, we must contrast man’s Temporariness with the Eternality of God. Man, as a Temporal Creature, must make Choices that are also Temporal. God, as the only Eternal Being, must make Choices that are also Eternal.
We read in Eccl. 3:14, “I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” (Eccl. 3:14-15.) Time, and the constraints of Time, is something that is unknown to God. What He is now, He has forever been. What He was in the past, He will forever be in the future. Therefore, the Choices that He makes reflect this Eternality and Immutability of God. Those that He has Chosen to love He has forever, and will forever Choose to love.
Balaam said aright, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num. 23:19.) His Choices are of an Eternal Nature, just as He is Eternal. The Psalmist said, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” (Ps. 33:11.) This is a comforting thought when we consider the Love that He has manifest toward us. However, this is a frightening thought for those to consider who have not known Him, and are not faithful unto Him. His counsel is for ever. The Choices that He has made are Everlasting.
Limited and Sovereign
Man’s Choices are Limited. Let’s think about another aspect of man and the Choices that he makes. Man is Limited in his Ability, Strength, and Authority. Therefore, the Choices that he makes are Limited in the same way. Man might desire to do certain things, that he later finds he is just not able to do. Man might Choose to be the richest man on earth, and he might find that he cannot attain unto that goal. Man might Choose to be the most Powerful, most Wise, most Popular, most Successful, etc… But not every man that chooses these goals can attain unto them. Do you see what I am saying? Man’s Choices are Limited by his own Abilities, Inabilities, Strengths or Weaknesses.
The Lord told the Jews in Jn. 5:40, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Why would not these Jews be saved? It was because that they were incapable of Choosing Him. This is a difficult verse for the world to grapple with. In fact, the world, and even much of Christianity must hate this verse; because this verse speaks of the Inability of man. Now, God is perfectly just in condemning these Impotent Jews, because they are doing exactly what they want to do – rejecting Jesus as the Christ. But the point that I am making today, is that it was never possible that they could Choose Jesus, without the Ability and Desire that He would give them. This is what Saving Grace is. It is the gift of Faith given unto people that do not deserve it nor do they even desire it.
God’s Choices are Sovereign. God is Sovereign. When we understand this fact, then we must realize that the Choices that God makes are Sovereign also. He is not dependent upon any man, angel, creature, or object as far as the Choices that He makes. His Ability surpasses the feeble abilities of any other. His Strength is much greater than any other strength or power that might be found in this Creation. His Authority far exceeds the pretended authority of any that would oppose Him. Therefore, we must conclude that the Choices that He makes are Choices that are made based upon His own Will and Desire – for He cannot be Opposed and He is Sovereign in every way.
We read in Deut. 7:6-8, “For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” It is interesting to notice here in this passage, that the Choosing of the Lord was not predicated on the merit or worthiness of those that He Chose. Rather, we see that the Choosing was based entirely on the Lord God. Israel was Chosen because, 1) the Lord loved them; and 2) because He had sworn an oath to save them. The Lord is Sovereign in His Choices, just as He is Sovereign in every other aspect of His (and our) Existence.
Job said concerning his God, “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.” (Job 23:13-14.) There is no need to question the Choices of God, for they are made by a Sovereign and Unchangeable God. We do not have the permission or the ability or the right to question Him and His Choices. We can only Praise Him as the Sovereign God of all that is.
Wicked and Holy
Man’s Choices are Wicked. There is one more thing that I want to think about concerning man and the Choices that he makes. Even if we ignore the affects that man’s Temporal Nature subjects him to; and even if we ignore the fact that man is Limited in all his ways; we must still understand that man’s Choices that he makes will be flawed. Why do I say this? Well, I say this because man is Inherently Wicked and Depraved. Many today do not like to think about the Sinfulness of man. Many today do not want to believe in a Corrupt and Depraved mankind. But this cannot be denied. So, even if we give man Eternality; and even if we remove the Limits from man’s abilities and authority; still man will only make Corrupt and Evil Choices – because that is who he is.
Jeremiah relates to us these words of the Lord: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer. 13:23.) Since man is accustomed to do evil, he will, without fail, choose the wicked rather than the good.
Notice the Words of the Lord as He spoke through Isaiah to those that pretended to serve Him: “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” (Is. 66:3-4.)
God’s Choices are Holy. Finally, let’s consider the Holiness of our God. This is something that is fundamental to all of the understandings that we have of our God. Especially as we consider the Choices that He makes in regards to mankind and the Salvation of man, let us never forget that God is Holy – He can do no Wrong. Hannah said of God, “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none besides thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (1Sam. 2:2.)
Since God is Holy; and since God is Eternal; and since God is Sovereign; it must be that the Choices of God will reflect these Attributes of God. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” (Hab. 1:13.) And then we read in Jas. 1:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” His Choices are untainted with Evil or Wickedness or Unrighteousness. (See Ps. 92:15.)
With this thought in mind, we can see that the Salvation of Jacob, and the Reprobation of Esau are within the Holy Choice of our God. “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Rom. 9:13-15.)
The Choices of God are Eternal, Sovereign, and Holy. Let us never forget this.

Conclusion
Let me read you this one final passage concerning the Choices of God and the Salvation that He has delivered to His people. We read in Numbers 16 about the man Korah and those that, with him, thought that they could challenge the authority of Moses and Aaron. These men thought that they could elevate themselves in the Eyes of God, and they thought that they were more holy than those men that God had chosen. Read what Moses told them: “And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even tomorrow the LORD will show who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD tomorrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.” (Num. 16:4-7.)
To me, this is a description of the Salvation that God has given unto those that are His. We do not Choose Him, until He first Chooses us and Calls us. Notice that Moses said, “…and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy…” It is of the Lord’s Will and of His Doing that we are saved. We are His Choice – and He becomes our Choice as a result of His Choice.

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