I’m not very good at making difficult decisions. I remember standing over a college application, trying to decide what area of study to enter. I remember lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to decide if the car I had just test-driven would be my first car. I remember staring at dozens of real estate listings and actuary tables, trying to decide which house, if any, would be my first home.
I’m not very good at making difficult decisions. Whether or not you’re the same way, I think we would both agree that we want the right to make them. We want to be able to chart our own course, to succeed or fail on our own.
So what about Christ? When we talk about making a decision for Christ, we are talking about the most important decision of all. Our attitude toward Christ has an impact that lasts longer than a four-year college, longer than the life of a car, even longer than a thirty-year mortgage. We’re talking about eternity here. So it’s understandable for us to be concerned about this important decision.
But interestingly enough, this is one that we have no ability to make. The apostle Paul spelled out the truth clearly in a letter to Christians in the city of Ephesus. Paul said that by nature human beings are “dead … in sins” (Ephesians 2:1). He meant that, left to ourselves, you and I have the same ability to make a decision about Christ as a dead body has to make a decision about a college, a car, or a house. Absolutely no ability at all.
As much as not having a choice is very distasteful, in this case it is good news. It means that life’s most important questions don’t start with the words, “How do I…” Those questions always lead to doubt and uncertainty – things that none of us wants when we’re talking about eternity. Life’s biggest questions are not directed inward. They are directed to one who is outside of us. Questions like, “Does God love me?”
And the answer to that one is easy. In spite of the fact that we have sinned against him, in spite of the fact that we have treated him and the people around us as supporting actors in a drama that is first and foremost about me, yes, God still loves me. In fact, the Bible says, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “The world” is all-inclusive. God loves us all, no exceptions.
You won’t find your name in that passage. But ask yourself this: when God tells you how much he loved the world, how he sent his Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world, how he has done everything needed for the salvation of the world, does that also include you?
A “yes” is the answer of faith. But realize that a “yes” does not indicate that you made a decision for Christ. There’s much better news. God made a decision for you. In that same letter to the Christians in Ephesus, Paul wrote, “[God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” The decision about Christ is more firm and more certain than the very foundations of the world. And for that very reason, that decision was made by him, not us.