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Youth Supplement – Choice or destiny?

November 2008 | by Richard Hamilton

Choice or destiny?

 

Many people today believe in ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’. They read their horoscopes, asking, ‘Will this be my lucky week? Will I meet the man or woman of my dreams, or become rich?’

 

But this is just idolatry in disguise – without realising it, many worship possessions instead of God. Some enter the lottery hoping to win a fortune that will make their life complete and ‘happy’. Others sail blithely through life without even thinking about God and what he says is right. They say, ‘what will be will be’ and put their faith in ‘destiny’.

     But does this work? Consider the disciple Judas. He could have excused his betrayal of Jesus by appealing to ‘destiny’. Had not God destined him to sell Jesus to his enemies – so that Jesus could die on the cross and save sinners from a lost eternity? But whatever God’s purposes might be, Judas (like everyone else) must accept responsibility for his own sin.

     God gives us freedom of choice. He gives everyone the option of doing right or wrong. True, in our natural state we are slaves to sin. But it is we ourselves who either ‘present our [bodies] as slaves … to lawlessness’ or else as ‘slaves of righteousness for holiness’ (Romans 6:19).

     God knew that Judas was going to sin, but Judas still had a conscience telling him not to. Some might argue that if everything is pre-ordained by God, Judas was just a puppet of God’s will, following his path or destiny. But this reasoning is false.

     If this were true, every sin that we commit would become justifiable – ‘We can’t help it, we are just living out God’s destiny for us’.

     Yet sin is our fault; and we have the choice to sin or not to sin. We have a conscience which tells us what is right and what is wrong. Judas’ conscience wouldn’t let him live with himself. It drove him to despair. He took the silver he had been paid to betray Jesus and threw it on the floor – and went and killed himself.

     But though we too are sinners and fully responsible for our sin, we do not need to despair. For Jesus came to die and make atonement for our sin – so that we might be forgiven and brought into a living relationship with God. Trust Jesus as your Saviour and all your wrong-doings are washed away.

Richard Hamilton