Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV)
Before the foundation of the world the Almighty God looked down through the tunnel of time and this is what he saw:
. . . as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18 ESV) Many years before Paul, King David wrote, God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalms 53:2-3 ESV)
What God didn’t see was a human race with free will to choose between good and evil. He saw a human race bound by the chains of sin and enslaved by a nature that was totally bent toward evil with no capacity (freedom) to make a righteous choice (1 Corinthians 2:14; Titus 3:3); who were by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). God didn’t see men with free will he saw slaves, for whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved (2 Peter 2:19). And the intentions of man’s heart were and are evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21) leaving man incapable of choosing to be free in and of himself. Man neither could not nor cannot by his own free will choose to set himself free (Romans 8:7).
God not only saw a sin enslaved human race he saw a spiritually dead human race. For man is not only a slave with no free will, apart from Christ he is morally dead in trespasses and sins and a follower of Satan. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) A dead man has no free will; he can neither make a choice nor give himself life.
It takes a sovereign act of God’s mercy and grace to make a man spiritually alive. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. . . . Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV)
So, before the foundation of the world God foreknew (Gr. proginosko) a son (1 Peter 1:20); a perfect representation of himself (Colossians 1:15). God did not look down through the tunnel of time and see a man who would one day live a perfect life and be perfectly obedient to him and then choose him as his son based on what that man would one day accomplish. God did not choose Jesus to be his son because Jesus was the best human or even because he knew Jesus would be. NO! God had a relationship with his son before the world was made. Jesus was a beloved son before he was born (John 17:5, 24).
Another thing God didn’t see before the foundation of the world was a group of people who would one day choose him and then decide to call them his sons based on their decision to choose him (Romans 3:10). What God did see was a group of people that he would foreknow (Gr. proginosko), predestine to set his love upon and call to be his own (Romans 8:29-30); a group of people with which he chose to have a relationship before they were born (Galatians 1:15).
Had God not chosen a people for himself (Ephesians 1:1-12; 1 Peter 2:9), none would have ever chosen God (John 6:44, 65; John 15:16; Romans 9:14-16). It is God who puts his laws into the mind of man and writes them on his heart and makes them his people (Hebrews 8:10). It is God who gives a new heart to man and takes the heart of stone and makes it a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). It is God who qualifies men to share in the inheritance of the saints (Colossians 1:12). It is God who shows mercy and brings forth man apart from human will (Romans 9:16; James 1:18). It is God who makes man willing to choose to be free and causes him to be born again (John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:3). And God accomplishes all of this through his son. As the son said, All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27 ESV)
God foreknew a plan before the foundation of the world that through his son many would be set free from the yoke of slavery (Acts 4:26-28). And in due time God sent his son into the world (Romans 5:6) in the form of man (John 1:14) with a mission to set every man free who believes in the son (John 3:36) and to bring those who believe to God (1 Peter 3:18).
The son, Jesus, made these declarations about himself:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19 ESV) I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV) Furthermore, Jesus told the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32 ESV)
Jesus claimed to be the truth, John declared him to be the Word (John 1:1, 14), so to know the truth is to know Jesus and to abide in his word is to abide in him. To know him and abide in him is true freedom because it is for freedom that Christ sets free all who believe in him (Galatians 5:1). And if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2 ESV)
That’s why we praise him!
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. Titus 3:3 (ESV)
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV)
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 2 Peter 2:19 (ESV)
And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.
Genesis 8:21 (ESV)
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Romans 8:7 (ESV)
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you. . . . 1 Peter 1:20 (ESV)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:15 (ESV)
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. John 17:5 (ESV)
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24 (ESV)
. . . as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one. . . . Romans 3:10 (ESV)
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 (ESV)
But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace. . . . Galatians 1:15 (ESV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:1-12 (ESV)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 (ESV)
And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” John 6:65 (ESV)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16 (ESV)
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:14-16 (ESV)
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Hebrews 8:10 (ESV)
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV)
. . . giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:12 (ESV)
So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:16 (ESV)
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:18 (ESV)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’—for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. Acts 4:26-28 (ESV)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6 (ESV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (ESV)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 (ESV)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. . . .
1 Peter 3:18 (ESV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (ESV)
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (ESV)