“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev.22:17). But who is —“whosoever will?” Is it those who have the strongest, natural “willpower?” No, because according to Scripture it’s not even the will that determines our choices, it’s the heart and it moves our will to act. So the condition of our heart determines whether we will come to Christ in truth or not (e.g. Psa.119:10, Prov.4:23, Acts 8:37, Rom.10:9-10).
The problem is that since the Fall of mankind, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jer.17:9, Matt.15:18-19, Mk.7:18-23). Due to the extreme corruption that sin causes, just one sin in a lifetime is destructive enough to earn an eternity in hell (James 2:10). “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” which causes people to refuse to come to Christ. Therefore, the human will is not sovereign, but a servant to sin (Rom.3:23, 6:18-23; Jn.5:40).
Our will is free only in the sense that it’s free to choose according to our heart’s desire. And a truly godly choice for Christ cannot possibly come from an evil heart (Lk.6:45-46). So whether or not we do what Jesus says to do and come to Him in truth depends upon whether God has cleansed our hearts from the love of sin and filled it with love for Him, so we’ll be willing to “take the water of life freely” (Job 14:4, Psa.51:10, Prov.16:1, Ezek.36:26, Jn.3:27, 8:44, Phil.2:13).
Still, every person will be held responsible for how they respond to the gospel call, for its everyone’s duty to their Maker to repent, believe and receive Christ, whether they have heavens help or not. God doesn’t lower His standards just because our sin has caused us to fall short of His glory. That would be like a criminal going before a judge and making the excuse that he can’t help but break the law and the judge corrupting justice by letting the criminal go due to the criminal’s inability to abide by the law!
The truth is that we all deserve hell and God could have chosen not to save any and still been righteous in His judgment. There will be no one in hell that doesn’t deserve to be there, because God has never and never will force anyone to sin. Even God’s act of reprobation causes no one to sin (Rom.1:28). As Scripture says, “God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions” (Eccl.7:29).
Yet, God is merciful and He has revealed this to us at the cross, where His justice and mercy meet. God can pardon the vilest of sinners and still be righteous because Jesus Christ has purchased them, redeemed them and paid their sin debt in full. The gospel of Christ “is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom.1:16).
Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn.6:37). So come to Him today friend and taste His free grace. You don’t have to earn it because it’s free to all who truly believe with their whole heart that Christ Jesus is their Savior and their only hope in this life and for eternity. Don’t follow after those who try to come on their own terms or those who think they can bribe God with their own works, for the only way to take the water of life —-is freely.
Sis. Lee Anne—emails are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org