“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8) “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
Which one are we supposed to do, or are both required, are we of our own free will to boldly come before the Lord, (Heb. 4:16) or are we to be as servants and humble ourselves before Him. (James 4:10) Here are just a few of the reasons that the lost see us as insane, as non-sensical individuals, whose nonsense and foolishness only grows when we are together for worship, it makes no sense to them at all how two seemingly contradictory statements can coexist at the same time. How can one be a servant, a slave, and at the same time have any amount of free will whatsoever, even if one got a break for an hour or so, or was allowed to go on a vacation or retreat, the master would still be in control, one would still be subject to His whims and desires.
To willingly become a slave, an indentured servant, a bond slave, whichever terminology you prefer, one must still make a free will decision to do so, inferring that the free will once enjoyed now comes to an end. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) “And they were judged every man according to their works.” (Rev. 20:13) Which is it? If we can do nothing without Him, (Phil. 4:13) then all we do is through Christ or done by Him through us. This is one of the reasons the heathen rage, (Psalm 2:1) we are as fools to them, and I am sorry to say this, but I do not think that there are many out there who could expound either logically or with Spiritual discernment to any of the heathen upon these statements.
How can anyone be judged for what they have not done, how can a slave choose to serve, how can free will coexist in the same man along with the servant. The terms at least in the world, are nonsensical, one is either a slave or a free man, if a decision is made to become a servant, then all free will is relinquished. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) How then does a dead man have any rights, unless those rights are granted to him by the One that has made him alive again.
Hezekiah was dying, no two ways about it, Isaiah the son of Amoz told him so, (2 Kings 20:1) yet he was given another fifteen years, the dead was given a reprieve, yet he did not choose to serve properly, at least not in one critical moment to the One who gave him the extension of his life. How often do we vacillate between our free will and the actual service of a servant, are we servants who choose to serve only when we are called to, when we feel obligated to, how many are attending a church service on Sunday morning only as the fulfillment of that servitude, and still calling themselves servants, how many have been baptized and believe there actions to be the accomplishment of their fealty, how many attend religious organizations, perform the rituals and traditions, and call themselves Christians.
How does the born-again believer come boldly to the throne of grace in humility?
There is no “cooperative” agreement between a slave and a master, the master rules, period, no questions asked, do as you are told, a free man is beholding to no one, he answers to no one, even when he is imprisoned, his mind is his own. It is no wonder the lost see us as confused and deluded. “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15) There is the turning point, there is the moment in a man’s life when he loosens the bonds of slavery, when he no longer is a servant, but a friend, and I fear that many cannot explain this truth to those who would ask them of the reason for their faith, (1 Peter 3:15) because the Lord of all creation calls us His friend. Why? Because we serve and submit willingly, we die to ourselves, to our own desires, our wants, even our supposed needs, and we give complete and total control to Him.
This is faith, this is trust, this is not an obligation, this is not done with hopes of receiving any reward, it is not done because He is the Creator and Sustainer of all that is, it is not done out of fear of punishment either in this life or the next, it is done because He is our friend, and we love Him. It’s too bad so many cannot see this simplest of truths, it is too bad that slaves cannot see that they are only truly free in Christ, and that free men believe themselves to be only slaves when in His service.