Prisoners Awaiting Freedom

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Advent is here, we patiently await the revelation of the Lord and His Kingdom. As we do so it is well to think of what it is like without Him.

from If Grace Is True
Philip Gulley and James Mulholland

We too easily mistake our limited choices for authentic freddom. We are like jail inmates glorying in their freedom to choose their dinner vegetable, oblivious to the guard in the corner and the bars on the window. We exult in our supposed freedom, when in truth we are shackled by selfishness and entangled in evil.

This passage, taken out of context from an argument for universal salvation, is relevant even in its isolation from the surrounding text, for we indeed are like jail inmates. People think they have the freedom to do anything they desire. But if desire is our only lead, if right reason through Grace does not guide it, then desire will always stray. Desire is necessary and good. It is the cupid's arrow to the heart of God, drawing each person closer to Him. That is desire guarded by the intellect informed by Grace.

Too often desire is merely untrammeled, unchanneled, undirected. Desire knows there is a destination, but desire itself works in the night, without the light of grace or reason desire thrashes about endlessly. It causes no end of mischief and harm to the soul that does not accept guidance. Desire teaches us that we are the arbiters of what is good and ill. Desire willingly takes on shackles that we might declare our "independence." But no one driven by uninspired desire is independent of anything. C.S. Lewis depicted this beautifully in The Great Divorce where he shows numerous souls inches from the Kingdom of Heaven rejecting it because they cannot give up what they once loved blindly.

God desires us. He gave us desire in imitation of Him. Desire was always meant to be directed to God. With the fall, the compass of desire became disoriented, it no longer pointed true because our first parents had introduced into the equation the new lodestone of self--a lodestone so stron and so proximate that it effectively overrides the "distant" pull of grace. But God is not so easily dismissed, and in the fullness of time, grace can overcome even the obstacle of self if we show so much as a second of a degree of turning. God takes whatever small steps each person is capable of and uses them to redirect the compass, to more effectively assert the predominant direction.

When we glory in our freedom we wind up with the Reign of Terror, the Holocaust, and the Killing Fields. When we glory in God, we wind up with eternal, unending, perfect love and a home within God's heart and kingdom. So contra Milton's Satan: Better to serve in Heaven than to reign in Hell.

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I loved this post. Especially, "But God is not so easily dismissed, and in the fullness of time, grace can overcome even the obstacle of self if we show so much as a second of a degree of turning." This reminded me of Jesus' healing of the ten lepers, who all stood at a distance from Him because they were "unclean", but who asked for mercy. One precious step of asking for mercy and they were all healed, but only one approached Jesus and gave thanks.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 28, 2005 9:21 AM.

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