"THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS" A Warning Against Willful Sin (10:26-39) by Mark Copeland


A Warning Against Willful Sin (10:26-39)


1. Immediately following a gracious exhortation to draw near to God and
   hold fast the confession of our hope, we find an ominous warning...
   a. It is a warning against "willful sin" - He 10:26-39
   b. It speaks of reaching a terrible state in which:
      1) "there longer remains a sacrifice for sins"
      2) There is "a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation"

2. Is this a warning for Christians?  Some would say no...
   a. They believe in the doctrine "once saved, always saved"
   b. Who hold that true Christians:
      1) Cannot so sin to point of being eternally lost
      2) If they begin to sin to the point where they might be lost,
         God will intervene and take their life to prevent it from happening

3. Does the Bible teach "once saved, always saved"?
   a. It teaches "the security of the believer" (i.e., those who remain
      faithful are secure)
   b. But it also teaches that a "believer" can become an "unbeliever",
      at which point a person has every reason to fear for his or her
      salvation! - cf. He 3:12-14

4. The possibility of apostasy is taught in the Bible, especially in
   "The Epistle To Hebrews"...
   a. We have already seen several warnings implying this possibility:
      1) A warning against drifting - He 2:1-4
      2) A warning against departing - He 3:12-14
      3) A warning against disobedience - He 4:11
      4) A warning against dullness, leading to apostasy - He 5:11-6:6
   b. But perhaps now, with "A Warning Against Willful Sin", we learn
      the real danger of losing our salvation if we despise what we
      have received! - He 10:26-39

[To see if that is really what the Bible teaches, let's begin by considering...]


      1. "If we deliberately keep on sinning..." (NIV)
      2. "For if we willfully persist in sin..." (NRSV)
      3. "For if we go on sinning willfully..." (NASB)

      1. Implying not an "act" of sin, but a "state" of sin
         a. All Christians have moments of weakness, or ignorantly sin - 1Jn 1:8-10
         b. It is not "inadvertent" sin, but "deliberate" sin that is under consideration
      2. A "state" in which one...
         a. Knows the truth - cf. He 10:26b
         b. Yet chooses to deliberately and continuously persist in sin!

      1. Note the pronoun "we" (the author includes himself in the
         warning) - He 10:26a
      2. He later describes one who was sanctified by "the blood of the
         covenant" - He 10:29
      -- This warning is directed to those who have been sanctified by
         the blood of Jesus!

[When one persists in sin with "a high hand" (i.e., presumptuously, cf.
Num 15:30-31), they are in grave danger. This is especially true when
one is a Christian!  What sort of danger?  Consider...]


      1. What sacrifice is under consideration here?  Christ's sacrifice!
      2. What sacrifice no longer remains?  Christ's sacrifice!
      -- The blood of Christ is no longer available for one who
         persists in "willful sin"!

      1. "a certain fearful expectation of judgment" - He 10:27a
         a. One can expect a judgment that is "certain"! - cf. He 9:27; Ac 17:30-31
         b. One can expect a judgment that is "fearful"!
            1) For we must answer to Christ Himself - cf. 2Co 5:10-11
            2) And we will be in the hands of the living God! - He 10: 30-31
      2. A "fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" - He 10:27b
         a. A judgment involving "fire" (figurative, but torment just
            the same) - cf. Re 21:8
         b. A judgment involving "indignation" (the wrath of God) - cf. Ro 2:5-11
         c. Such a judgment will "devour" (not annihilate, but destroy) - Mt 10:28

[Such are the consequences of "willful sin", and the warning is directed to Christians!

Is God just to bring such a punishment upon His children who have been
redeemed by the blood of His Son?  Evidently so...]


      1. Death without mercy! - He 10:28
      2. Such was the punishment for a particular kind of sin:
         a. Sin that was "deliberate"
            1) In which one "rejected Moses' law" (NKJV)
            2) In which one "despised Moses' law" (KJV)
         b. Sin that was "open"
            1) It had to be seen by two or more
            2) For death was not rendered unless there were "two or three witnesses"
         -- Again, it is sin with "a high hand" that is under discussion
      3. While there was mercy for sins of weakness or ignorance, there
         was none for open and deliberate sin under the Old Covenant!

      1. One is worthy of "much worse punishment"! - He 10:29
         a. What could be worse than physical death?
         b. Only "fiery indignation"! (i.e., hell)
      2. Why?  Because a Christian who "sins willfully" has...
         a. "trampled the Son of God underfoot"
            1) The word "trampled" comes from katapateo {kat-ap-at-eh'-o}
            2) It "denotes contempt of the most flagrant kind" (MOFFAT)
            -- Such a person treats Jesus who died for him like dirt!
         b. "counted the blood of the covenant by which he was
            sanctified a common thing"
            1) The "blood of the covenant" clearly refers to Jesus'
               blood - He 9:14-22; 13:20
            2) It is by this blood one is "sanctified" (i.e., made a Christian)
            -- Such a person consider Jesus' blood a "common thing"!
         c. "insulted the Spirit of grace"
            1) Perhaps a reference to the Holy Spirit
               a) Through Whom the message of salvation was given - Jn 16:13-14
               b) Through Whom our sanctification takes place - 1Co 6:11; Tit 3:5-7
            2) Or perhaps referring to the spirit (disposition) of God's unmerited favor
            -- Whichever, a person who openly and deliberately sins
               "insults" God's grace!
      3. This passage clearly teaches two things:
         a. That a Christian can so sin as to reach this point of open
            rebellion against Jesus!
         b. That the punishment reserved for such is "worse than death"!

      1. Isn't God a God of love?  Of course! - cf. 1Jn 4:8
      2. But He is also a God of justice, One who judges His people- He 10:30
         a. To who much is given, much is required - Lk 12:47-48
         b. Those who despise His love, set themselves up to be
            recipients of His wrath - Ro 2:4-6
      3. Therefore it truly is "a fearful thing to fall into the hands
         of the living God" - He 10:31; cf. He 12:28,29

[What can we do to ensure that we do not become guilty of "willful
sin"?  In the remaining verses of chapter ten, I believe we find the


      1. The writer reminds his readers of their "former days"...
         a. Those days after they were "illuminated" (enlightened)- He 10:32
            1) I.e., shortly after their conversion
            2) In the days of Justin (ca. 167 A.D.), this term was a synonym for baptism
         b. Those days in which they were "made a spectacle" - He 10:32-34
            1) By their own sufferings
            2) And by sharing in the sufferings of others, including those of the author
               a) In whom they had compassion in his chains
               b) In which they "joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods"
            -- Knowing that they had "a better and enduring possession" in heaven!
      2. It is such confidence they must be careful not to "cast away"  - He 10:35
         a. To "cast away" is the opposite of "hold fast"
         b. Only in "holding fast" our confidence is there "great  reward" - cf. He 3:6,14
      -- Likewise, we need to rekindle the fire of that newfound faith
         we had when we first responded to the gospel! - cf. Re 2:4-5

      1. Endurance is needed to receive the promise - He 10:36
         a. For the Lord is coming - He 10:37
         b. And the just lives by faith - He 10:38
         -- If we draw back (become unfaithful), the Lord will not be
            pleased! ("My soul has no pleasure in him.")
      2. The author speaks of his own confidence - He 10:39
         a. He is not of those "who draw back to perdition" (who cast away their faith)
         b. But of those "who believe to saving of the soul" (who
            remain faithful to the end)
      -- We too need to "believe to the saving of the soul", or to put
         it in the words of Jesus, "be faithful unto death" - Re 2:10


1. We can look forward with great anticipation to the "saving of the soul", if we...
   a. Remember (and rekindle) that confidence early in our conversion
   b. Endure to the end with the faith that saves

2. But with "A Warning Against Willful Sin", we must never forget that one can...
   a. Fall from grace!
   b. Fall into the hands of the living God!
   -- Which is a terrifying thing!

3. How much better, though, to be "upheld" by the hand of God, as the
   Psalmist wrote:

   "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights
   in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
   For the LORD upholds him with His hand." - Ps 37:23,24

Such is the case of those who remain strong in their faith and trust in
the Lord.  Are we believing to the saving of the soul...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Atheism and Liberal, Missouri by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Atheism and Liberal, Missouri

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the summer of 1880, George H. Walser founded the town of Liberal in southwest Missouri. Named after the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri (to which the town’s organizer belonged), Walser’s objective was “to found a town without a church, [w]here unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed (Thompson, 1895; Becker, 1895). “His idea was to build up a town that should exclusively be the home of Infidels...a town that should have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon” (Brand, 1895). Some of the early inhabitants of Liberal even encouraged other infidels to move to their town by publishing an advertisement which boasted that Liberal “is the only town of its size in the United States without a priest, preacher, church, saloon, God, Jesus, hell or devil” (Keller, 1885, p. 5). Walser and his “freethinking” associates were openly optimistic about their new town. Excitement was in the air, and atheism was at its core. They believed that their godless town of “sober, trustworthy and industrious” individuals would thrive for years on end. But, as one young resident of that town, Bessie Thompson, wrote about Liberal in 1895, “...like all other unworthy causes, it had its day and passed away.” Bessie did not mean that the actual town of Liberal ceased to exist, but that the idea of having a “good, godless” city is a contradiction in terms. A town built upon “trustworthy” atheistic ideals eventually will reek of the rotten, immoral fruits of infidelity. Such fruits were witnessed and reported firsthand by Clark Braden in 1885.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
Braden was an experienced preacher, debater, and author. In his lifetime, he presented more than 3,000 lectures, and held more than 130 regular debates—eighteen of which were with the Mormons (Carpenter, 1909, pp. 324-325). In 1872, Braden even challenged the renowned agnostic Robert Ingersoll to debate, to which Ingersoll reportedly responded, “I am not such a fool as to debate. He would wear me out” (Haynes, 1915, pp. 481-482). Although Braden was despised by some, his skills in writing and public speaking were widely known and acknowledged. In February 1885, Clark Braden introduced himself to the townspeople of Liberal (Keller, 1885, p. 5; Moore, 1963, p. 38), and soon thereafter he wrote about what he had seen.
In an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, titled “An Infidel Experiment,” Braden reported the following.
The boast about the sobriety of the town is false. But few of the infidels are total abstainers. Liquor can be obtained at three different places in this town of 300 inhabitants. More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home. Fully half of the females will swear, and a large number swear habitually.... Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population.... A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key....
These infidels...can spend for dances and shows ten times as much as they spend on their liberalism. These dances are corrupting the youth of the surrounding country with infidelity and immorality. There is no lack of loose women at these dances.
Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal. The physicians of the place say that a large portion of their practice has been trying to save females from consequences of feticide. In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils (as quoted in Keller, 1885, p. 5).
According to Braden, “[s]uch are the facts concerning this infidel paradise.... Every one who has visited Liberal, and knows the facts, knows that such is the case” (p. 5).
As one can imagine, Braden’s comments did not sit well with some of the townspeople of Liberal. In fact, a few days after Braden’s observations appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was arrested for criminal libel and tried on May 18, 1885. According to Braden, “After the prosecution had presented their evidence, the case was submitted to the jury without any rebutting evidence by the defence (sic), and the jury speedily brought in a verdict of ‘No cause for action’ ” (as quoted in Mouton, n.d., pp. 36-37). Unfortunately for Braden, however, the controversy was not over. On the following day (May 19, 1885), a civil suit was filed by one of the townsmen—S.C. Thayer, a hotel operator in Liberal. The petition for damages of $25,000 alleged that Clark Braden and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article in which they had made false, malicious, and libelous statements against the National Hotel in Liberal, managed by Mr. Thayer. He claimed that Braden’s remarks, published in the St. Louise Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, “greatly and irreparably injured and ruined” his business (Thayer v. Braden). However, when the prosecution learned that the defense was thoroughly prepared to prove that Liberal was a den of infamy, and that its hotels were little more than houses of prostitution, the suit was dismissed on September 17, 1886 by the plaintiff at his own cost (Thayer v. Braden). Braden was exonerated in everything he had written. Indeed, the details Braden originally reported about Liberal, Missouri, on May 2, 1885 were found to be completely factual.
It took only a few short years for Liberal’s unattractiveness and inconsistency to be exposed. People cannot exclude God from the equation, and expect to remain a “sober, trustworthy” town. Godlessness equals unruliness, which in turn makes a repugnant, immoral people. The town of Liberal was a failure. Only five years after its establishment, Braden indicated that “[n]ine-tenths of those now in town would leave if they could sell their property. More property has been lost by locating in the town than has been made in it.... Hundreds have been deceived and injured and ruined financially” (Keller, p. 5). Apparently, “doing business with the devil” did not pay the kind of dividends George Walser (the town’s founder) and the early inhabitants of Liberal desired. It appears that even committed atheists found living in Liberal in the early days intolerable. Truly, as has been observed in the past, “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to contemplate.” It is one thing to espouse a desire to live in a place where there is no God, but it is an entirely different thing for such a place actually to exist. For it to become a reality is more than the atheist can handle. Adolf Hitler took atheism to its logical conclusion in Nazi Germany, and created a world that even most atheists detested. Although atheists want no part of living according to the standards set out by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament, the real fruits of evolutionary atheism also are too horrible for them to contemplate.
Although the town of Liberal still exists today (with a population of about 800 people), and although vestiges of its atheistic heritage are readily apparent, it is not the same town it was in 1895. At present, at least seven religious groups associated with Christianity exist within this city that once banned Christianity and all that it represents. Numerous other churches meet in the surrounding areas. According to one of the religious leaders in the town, “a survey of Liberal recently indicated that 50% of the people are actively involved with some church” (Abbott, 2003)—a far cry from where Liberal began.
There is no doubt that the moral, legal, and educational systems of Liberal, Missouri, in the twenty-first century are the fruits of biblical teaching, not atheism. When Christianity and all of the ideals that the New Testament teaches are effectively put into action, people will value human life, honor their parents, respect their neighbors, and live within the moral guidelines given by God in the Bible. A city comprised of faithful Christians would be mostly void of such horrors as sexually transmitted diseases, murder, drunken fathers who beat their wives and children, drunk drivers who turn automobiles into lethal weapons, and heartache caused by such things as divorce, adultery, and covetousness. (Only those who broke God’s commandments intended for man’s benefit would cause undesirable fruit to be reaped.)
On the other hand, when atheism and all of its tenets are taken to their logical conclusion, people will reap some of the same miserable fruit once harvested by the early citizens of Liberal, Missouri (and sadly, some of the same fruit being reaped by many cities in the world today). Men and women will attempt to cover up sexual sins by aborting babies, children will disrespect their parents, students will “run wild” at home and in school because of the lack of discipline, and “sexual freedom” (which leads to sexually transmitted diseases) will be valued, whereas human life will be devalued. Such are the fruits of atheism: a society in which everyone does that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)—a society in which no sensible person wants to live.


Abbott, Phil (2003), Christian Church, Liberal, Missouri, telephone conversation, April 7.
Barnes, Pamela (2003), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telephone conversation, March 12.
Becker, Hathe (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.
Brand, Ida (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.
Carpenter, L.L. (1909), “The President’s Address,” in Centennial Convention Report, ed. W.R. Warren, (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), pp. 317-332. [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/wwarren/ccr/CCR15B.HTM.
Haynes, Nathaniel S. (1915), History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/nhaynes/hdcib/braden01.htm, 1996.
Keller, Samuel (1885), “An Infidel Experiment,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Special Correspondence with Clark Braden, May 2, p. 5.
Moore, J.P. (1963), This Strange Town—Liberal, Missouri (Liberal, MO: The Liberal News).
Mouton, Boyce (no date), George H. Walser and Liberal, Missouri: An Historical Overview.
Thayer, S.C. v. Clark Braden, et. al. Filed on May 19, 1885 in Barton County Missouri. Dismissed September 10, 1886.
Thompson, Bessie (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Atheism & Free Will by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Atheism & Free Will

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Renowned atheist Carl Sagan began his immensely popular book Cosmos with these words: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”1 What do today’s atheists mean when they use the term Cosmos? The modern “scientific” idea is that the Cosmos is completely, entirely, and altogether materialistic, composed of matter and energy, and contains nothing immaterial or “not-matter.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines “materialism” as, “The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.”2 As it now stands, the ideas of the Cosmos or of “nature” have been redefined to include only physical matter and energy. Evolutionists Hewlett and Peters demand that “to be scientific in our era is to search for solely natural explanations.”3 Physicist Paul Davies correctly stated, “The materialist believes that mental states and operation are nothing but physical states and operations.”4 Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin admitted that evolutionists “have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism…. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”5
What are the logical implications of the idea that everything in the Universe consists solely of matter and energy? At first glance, the materialistic idea may not seem very profound or Earth shattering, but a deeper probe into the concept reveals that some of the most fundamental aspects of humanity are at stake. In this article, we focus on one feature of humanity that must be denied if materialism is accepted: human free will. You see, if matter and energy are all that “really” exists, then the notion must be rejected that there is a human will that directs the decision-making process. In short, if you, as a person, have ever made a single real decision; if you have ever freely chosen to do or not do anything, then atheism cannot be true. This is the case because your decision would be the result of something “more than” matter. It could not be explained by a naturalistic “cause and effect” chain of chemical events. If there is a “you” inside your body that freely chooses this or rejects that, then the materialist understanding of the Universe is false.
Modern leaders in the atheistic community admit as much. Sam Harris, recognized in skeptical circles as one of the four leading voices of modern atheism, penned a book titled Free Will. In that short volume, he wrote: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making…. We do not have the freedom we think we have.”6 He further stated, “I cannot determine my wants…. My mental life is given to me by the cosmos.”7 Again, “People feel (or presume) an authorship of their thoughts and actions that is illusory.”8 And, “What I will do next, and why, remains, at bottom, a mystery—one that is fully determined by the prior state of the universe and the laws of nature (including the contributions of chance).”9 As he begins to summarize his views toward the end of the book, he says, “You will do whatever it is you do, and it is meaningless to assert that you could have done otherwise.”10
Why does Harris demand that free will is non-existent? His commitment to materialism paints him into this corner, which is obvious from his statement: “In improving ourselves and society, we are working directly with the forces of nature, for there is nothing but nature itself to work with.”11 On the second-to-last page he writes, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.”12
There are striking ironies in the position that Harris and others take as they deny their own free will and their readers’ as well. First, why in the world would these men write books and articles in an attempt to persuade anyone to believe their “no free will” position if the reader cannot decide for himself to change his mind? What is the point of trying to convince a person who believes in free will, if that “belief” is nothing more than the consequence of the cause-and-effect, natural processes that are banging around in his brain? If the reader does not have the ability to choose his or her belief, what is the point of trying to “show” the superiority of the “no-free-will” position? According to Harris and crew, you believe what you believe because of the physics of the Cosmos working in your brain, and how in the world words on a page could change those physics would indeed be a mystery worth uncovering. The fact that modern atheists are writing books to convince people that there is no free will belies the undeniable fact that humans have free will.
Second, Harris’ concluding statement brings to light another glaring difficulty in the no-free-will position. He says, “Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me.”13 Wait just a minute. Who is the “I” or the “me” in the sentence? If there is no free will, and humans are simply the combined total of the physical processes at work in their brains, then there should be nothing more than the “mind” in Harris’ sentence. The fact that he can differentiate between “himself” and his “mind” shows that there is something more at work than determinism. A purely physical entity such as a rock or atom does not have the ability to think in terms of “I” or “me.” In truth, that Harris is conscious of an “I” or of a “self” contradicts his claim that free will does not exist.14
In addition, it seems humorous and superfluous for people such as Harris to write an “Acknowledgements” section in their books. Why thank people and acknowledge their contributions to your work if they could not have done otherwise? He writes, “I would like to thank my wife and editor, Annaka Harris, for her contributions to Free Will. As is always the case, her insights and recommendations greatly improved the book. I don’t know how she manages to raise our daughter, work on her own projects, and still have time to edit my books—but she does. I am extremely lucky and grateful to have her in my corner.”15 That’s all well and good, but since she has no free will, she didn’t choose to help Sam. It was thrust upon her by the nature of the Cosmos. Why thank a person who stays with you and helps you due to no choice or decision of her own, but due to an unalterable course of cause-and-effect actions in her brain? Why not thank the computer that “typed the words so faithfully as I hit the key strokes,” or the oxygen that “so generously entered my lungs and allowed my cells to function,” or the light that “so gracefully bounced from the screen (or page) to my eye, allowing me to see”? That Harris thanks his wife and not his computer gets to the point that there is something very different about the two entities. You thank a person because that person helped you (but could have chosen to do otherwise).
On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.”16Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding the lack of human free will.
Several years later, Provine continued to hold to this position. He appeared in the Ben Stein documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in 2008. In his discussion about Darwinian evolution, he said, “It starts by giving up an active deity, then it gives up the hope that there is any life after death. When you give those two up, the rest of it follows fairly easily. You give up the hope that there is an imminent morality. And finally, there’s no human free will. If you believe in evolution, you can’t hope for there being any free will. There’s no hope whatsoever in there being any deep meaning in life. We live, we die, and we’re gone.”17 The late Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick concurred with Provine. He wrote in his book The Astonishing Hypothesis: “‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”18
In his million-copy international best-selling book The Selfish Gene, renowned atheistic writer and speaker Richard Dawkins explained the evolutionary ideas that force atheism to deny human free will. He asserted that humans are “survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve selfish molecules known as genes.”19 Since Dawkins views humans as a compilation of physical genes fighting for survival, he must insist that these genes instinctively strive to live and pass on their information. That being the case, every human action must then be a product of the physical “gene” forces at work in the human body and brain. Human actions cannot be the result of some type of personality or free will according to this notion. In his attempt to flesh out his view more thoroughly and give answers to behaviors that have traditionally been attributed to human free will, he expounds on the selfish gene idea: “This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour.”20 When explaining the relationships that survival machines (humans) have with each other, he stoically quips:
To a survival machine, another survival machine (which is not its own child or another close relative) is part of its environment, like a rock or a river or a lump of food. It is something that gets in the way, or something that can be exploited. It differs from a rock or a river in one important respect; it is inclined to hit back. This is because it too is a machine that holds its immortal genes in trust for the future, and it too will stop at nothing to preserve them.21
Dawkins’ ultimate explanation for human behavior is that we do not choose the way we relate to each other, but are driven by our genes to use or exploit other humans to produce the greatest chance to pass on genetic information.
It is often the case that many atheists attempt to distance themselves from the views of Dawkins, Harris, and other free-will-deniers. They contend that, even though they are atheists, they still believe that humans have free will and choose their own behavior. They do this because they know, deep down in their heart of hearts, that they have chosen their behaviors in the past. The problem with their mode of operation, however, is that atheism necessarily implies that free will cannot exist. If humans actually make their own, personal decisions, then something must be at work that is more than nature—which is over and above the natural, physical movement of atoms. There must be a human mind, or soul, or spirit that is supernatural—that controls the movement of the physical body. A person can choose atheism, or he can accept human free will, but not both and still be logically consistent.
Atheist Dan Barker, prolific debater and author, feels the tension between atheism’s denial of free-will and the fact that humans know that they make personal choices. His solution is simply to redefine the term free will. In his debate with Peter Payne, Barker stated: “I happen to think that we have the illusion of freewill…. I’m a strict determinist. We are natural creatures. The material world is all there is. We actually don’t have what we would call libertarian freewill.”22 In his book, godless, Barker stated: “I am a determinist, which means that I don’t think complete libertarian free will exists. Since we don’t know the future…we have the illusion of free will, which to me is what ‘free will’ actually means.” Barker recognizes that humans certainly feel like they make decisions, but his atheism demands that they cannot do so. In order to hang on to his atheism, and allow for “free will,” he changes the definition of free will to “thinking that you are actually making a free will choice when you are not.”23
Barker is not the only atheist that is forced to turn to this “illusion of free will” idea. Anthony Cashmore, biologist at the University of Pennsylvania, penned an article alleging that human free will does not exist. He wrote: “It is my belief that, as more attention is given to the mechanisms that govern human behavior, it will increasingly be seen that the concept of free will is an illusion.”24 According to Cashmore, you are reading this article because your genes and your environment have forced you to. You are not responsible for your decision to read this article, and based on your alleged evolutionary history and your environment, you could not choose to be doing anything different than what you are doing now. You are literally a slave to your genes and your environment. As Cashmore wrote: “[A]n individual cannot be held responsible for either his genes or his environment. From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.”25
One of the most damaging lines of reasoning against the illusion idea put forth by Barker and Cashmore is the way in which these men attempt to convince their readers of its truth. Cashmore used five-and-a-half pages to argue that our society should disregard the outdated concept that humans are responsible for their behavior. Barker has been in more than 80 moderated debates attempting to bring people over to his view. But if Cashmore and Barker are right, then there is no way we can disregard the concept of free will, due to the simple fact that we did not choose it in the first place. If humans are not responsible for their beliefs or behaviors, then the generally held concept of free will is nothing more than an evolutionary, environmental by-product. According to their line of thinking, if we believe in free will at the present, and act on that belief, we are not responsible for it. If they are right, why in the world would they attempt to urge the scientific community to change its mind about free will, if the community does not have the power to change its mind? Why spend time and effort arguing against free will, if your audience does not have the freedom to choose to accept or reject your reasoning anyway? The fatal flaw of the “no free will” argument is that it demands that the person making the argument has the free will to do so, and it tacitly assumes the parties evaluating the argument have the power to accept or reject it.
If humans are survival machines that cannot make any real choices, then all “persuasive” arguments would be worthless. Those who believe in God are programmed and forced by their genes to do so. Those who believe there is no God are equally products of their bodily physics. If humans don’t change their minds, but, as Harris claims, their minds change them, then why attempt to changebelievers’ minds, since they don’t really have “minds” and their brains are going to “believe” whatever their genes tell them anyway? Atheists actually have to assume free will in order even to discuss the topic. It’s as if they are saying, “I want you to turn your eyes to look at me so that I can show you that you really can’t see anything.”
Television personality Bill Nye the “Science Guy” found himself in a terrible quandary when asked about human free will. In a video on the subject titled, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” he stated: “But clearly, I know I have made decisions based on things that happened around me that I wouldn’t have made without being informed by history or what I noticed. I know I have. Now if that turns out not to be true, I’d be very surprised.”26 Near the end of the video, however, he then backtracks and claims that our decisions really are the result of the quantum physics at work in our brains. Then he claims: “At some level there is randomness in what we think, because we are made of chemicals that have randomness.” Then he said, “I mean, I don’t mean to skirt your question.”27Actually, skirting the question was exactly what he was doing. He has to admit that he makes choices, but his atheistic naturalism forces him to back peddle and attribute those “choices” to chemistry and physics. His video is the epitome of atheism’s failure to deal with the fact of human free will.
In June of 2015, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne delivered a lecture at the Imagine No Religion convention in Vancouver, Canada. His speech was titled, “You Don’t Have Free Will.” It is one of the clearest examples of the new age atheistic position. Based on his atheistic beliefs, he argues for a purely deterministic world in which human free will is nothing more than physical processing at work, molecules moving to the beat of the laws of physics. Addressing his primarily atheistic audience, he says, “Now many of you don’t accept that. You don’t believe that you are robots made out of meat, which is what I’m going to try to convince you of today.” He takes this position, because if atheism is true, and there is nothing supernatural, then (as he says), “Our behavior is absolutely determined by the laws of physics.”28
Coyne takes serious issue with his fellow atheists who claim to be naturalists and determinists, but who attempt to say that humans do have some kind of free will. He correctly shows that atheistic naturalism cannot permit any type of free will. Those atheists who are trying to accommodate both ideas, according to Coyne, are simply playing “semantic tricks” trying to convince people “that we are still okay even though we are meat robots.”29 Coyne went on to say, “As Anthony Cashmore said, ‘We have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.’” Coyne then added his own words, “We are bowls of sugar, just very complicated ones.” Coyne does an excellent job of proving that atheism demands that human free will cannot exist. What he fails to do, however, is prove that free will does not exist. He claims it. He asserts it. But he cannot prove his false assertion. The reason for that is simply because humans really do have free will.
At one point in his speech, he attempted to deal with the biggest problem that the “no-free-will” idea encounters. He tried to tackle the question of why he would try to persuade anyone to believe his view, since, according to his view, no one can choose any beliefs. His argument was that, just like kicking a dog teaches the dog to avoid harm, presenting the material he was presenting may “teach” a human to adopt his viewpoint, even though humans would just be reacting to his material, not choosing to believe it. So, Coyne says, “Why did I get out of bed this morning? I thought, I hope to persuade people, and that was determined by the laws of physics.” He goes on to say, “Even our very desire to try to change people’s minds. The fact that I’m up here trying to do this is determined by my own, you know, physical constitution and environment. That is the infinite regress and the sort of annoying thing about determinism. It’s turtles all the way down.”
Let’s analyze Coyne’s statement. Who is “annoyed” by this “infinite regress” of physics? Is it Coyne? Why, if he is just doing what his chemistry is forcing him to do, does he get “annoyed” at this? And who, exactly, is it that is getting annoyed at the situation? Is it Coyne’s physical, meat robot self? Obviously, the fact that he is “annoyed” speaks to there being something more to Coyne than molecules in motion.


Consider the chain of implications. First, if there is no God, then this material world must be all there is. There can be nothing supernatural. Second, if the physical world is all that exists, then all entities that are made of matter must be driven solely by physical laws. Third, since there is nothing supernatural (according to this view), then there can be nothing more-than-matter inside of humans that can choose anything. Free will cannot exist in an atheistic world. But do not stop there. If humans cannot make decisions, then what is the necessary implication of that belief? What would that mean in regard to morality, crime, punishment, etc.? The necessary implication is that humans are not morally responsible for any of their behavior, any more than a rock, squirrel, or turtle is.
In Coyne’s speech, after making one of his points about most of his audience being determinists, he said, “Almost all of you here don’t believe in moral responsibility. Think about that.” He went on to say that because of his belief in determinism, “I don’t consider myself morally responsible, because I don’t have a choice.” Cashmore said the same when he stated, “From this simple analysis, surely it follows that individuals cannot logically be held responsible for their behavior.”30 While the atheists who deny free will attempt to conjure up a world where no moral responsibility brings about a modern utopia, nothing could be further from the truth. The rapist blames his genes. The murderer blames his chemistry. The adulterer points the finger at his environment. The thief “cannot help himself.” The perjurer acted only in response to molecular motion in his brain. The school shooter followed his urge to kill as many students as possible. The suicide bomber could not have chosen otherwise. An environment saturated with such thinking would hardly be described as a utopia.
Along these lines, Coyne said, “Whether or not you are the kind of person who accepts other people’s notions of morality is something that you have no control over. And if you don’t, that’s something you don’t have any control over either.” Let that sink in. If you think it is “morally” acceptable to fly a plane into a building in an attempt to kill as many people as possible, you could not think otherwise and you are not “morally” responsible for doing anything wrong. Truly, the denial of moral responsibility is one of the most fallacious and harmful implications of the false idea of atheism.
If we are to be “scientific” about these matters, we must take what we know to be the case and find the explanation that best fits the facts. If we are honest, each of us knows that we have freely chosen attitudes and behaviors. We know that we could have chosen differently. And we often feel the guilt of having chosen wrong, or the triumphant feeling of having chosen right. In all honesty, you know that you could choose to quit reading this article right now, or you could continue. Your freedom is not an illusion, but is an actuality: a statement of the way things really are, not the way they only seem to be. Since that is the case, we must take the fact—our free will—and find an explanation that best fits the fact. Atheism cannot account for human free will. Atheists who are consistent with their belief are forced to admit this is a logical implication of it. Therefore, if humans have free will, and atheism implies that they do not, then atheism is false. On the other hand, the idea of a supernatural God endowing humans with a mind, consciousness, and soul fits perfectly with the fact of human free will. Thus, the person who is trying to “follow the evidence where it leads” must conclude that human free will proves a supernatural Creator exists.


As I have studied atheistic books and writings and watched several videos, I’ve tried to put my finger on why atheists do not want to believe they choose. They all admit that humans think we are free to choose, but they insist that we are not really choosing anything. They maintain that there is really no “Sam Harris” upstairs, or Jerry Coyne “in there somewhere.” They insist that “Richard Dawkins” is just another name for the physical molecules that make up a certain body, and that there is no real soul or personality of a non-material nature “in there.” If there really is such a thing as free will (and there is), why would a group of people choose to deny it in spite of the evidence that proves it exists? Why don’t they want to be viewed as free moral agents who deserve praise for their morally correct actions and who deserve blame for their moral failures? An exhaustive list of possible reasons why this is the cause is impossible, but Coyne did give us one very telling idea.
Near the end of Coyne’s speech, he attempted to explain the benefits he sees in adopting the idea that free will does not exist (not to be tedious, but keep in mind that he does not really think you can adopt it; instead, you are forced to accept whatever your chemistry determines). He said that a benefit of denying free will is that you would have a “lack of regret for bad things that happen. It takes away a certain amount of guilt feelings from you. You don’t have to beat yourself up over, ‘I should have done this instead of that.’” There you have it. Humans, from the beginning of Creation, have looked for ways to plead “not guilty” in the face of their own sins. We have attempted to blame everyone else except ourselves for our moral failures. Humans have tried to blame God, their parents, their genes, their society, their spouses, their circumstances, and everything under the Sun for the selfish, sinful choices they have made. The next step with this approach is to say that, since we cannot choose our behavior, then “punishment is not justified for retribution (people get—or should get—what they deserve).”31
Notice the reasoning. If I can say that I cannot help myself (I cannot choose differently), then I do not have to feel guilty for the things I do wrong. Furthermore, if I did not choose the immoral actions that I committed, then neither society (nor God) can punish me for doing immoral things. Truly, the Proverbs writer accurately stated many years ago, “Evil men do not understand justice” (Proverbs 28:5). The atheistic position not only rejects the concept of free will, but then jettisons the concept of justice as well. Yet how acutely aware we humans are when injustice has been done to us.
In regard to the current situation, Romans 1 reads almost like a prophecy,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is evident in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (1:18-22, emp. added).
“I was just a meat robot.” “My selfish genes drove me to….” “The physical properties in my brain forced me to act that way.” “I could not have chosen differently so I’m not morally responsible.” These and other empty excuses will not be accepted by the Maker on the Day of Judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).


1 Carl Sagan (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House), p. 4.
2 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
3 Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters (2006), “Theology, Religion, and Intelligent Design,” in Not in Our Classrooms, ed. Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch (Boston, MA: Beacon Press), p. 75, emp. added.
4 Paul Davies (1983), God and the New Physics (New York: Simon & Schuster), p. 82.
5 Richard Lewontin (1997), “Billions and Billions of Demons,” in The New York Review of Books, 44[1]:31, January 9.
6 Sam Harris (2012), Free Will (New York: Free Press), p. 5, italics in orig.
7 Ibid., p. 19.
8 Ibid., p. 24.
9 Ibid., p. 40.
10 Ibid., p. 44.
11 Ibid., p. 63.
12 Ibid., p. 65, italics in orig.
13 Ibid., italics in orig.
14 For an extended discussion of consciousness and Creation, see Bert Thompson and Brad Harrub  (2004), “The Origin of Consciousness: Part 2,” Reason & Revelation, 24[2]:9-15, https://goo.gl/M9Drix.
15 Harris, p. 67.
16 William Provine (1998), “Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life,” http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/DarwinDayProvineAddress.htm, emp. added.
17 Ben Stein and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media), emp. added.
18 Francis Crick (1994), The Astonishing Hypothesis (London: Simon and Schuster), p. 3.
19 Richard Dawkins (2006), The Selfish Gene (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press), 30thAnniversary edition, p. xxi.
20 Ibid., p. 2.
21 Ibid., p. 66.
22 Dan Barker and Peter Payne (2005), “Does Ethics Require God?” http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/ethics_debate.php.
23 Dan Barker (2008),godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press), p. 128.
24 Anthony Cashmore (2010), “The Lucretian Swerve: The Biological Basis of Human Behavior and the Criminal Justice System,” PNAS, 107:10, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/02/04/0915161107.full.pdf+html.
25 Ibid.
26 Bill Nye (2016), Big Think, “Hey Bill Nye, Do Humans Have Free Will?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITdMa2bCaVc.
27 Ibid.
28 Jerry Coyne (2015), “You Don’t Have Free Will,” Imagine No Religion Convention, Vancouver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca7i-D4ddaw.
29 Ibid. All other quotes from Coyne’s speech have the same bibliographic information unless otherwise noted.
30 Cashmore.
31 Coyne.

Child Of the King (Father’s Day 2014) (By Ben Fronczek)


Child of the King (Father’s Day 2014)

Child Of the King (Father’s Day 2014)
(By Ben Fronczek)
Open:   A story is told of a little boy named William, (or Billy as most knew him) who was a orphan child that lived and survived on his own on streets of a large city. No one knew what happened to his parents, there were only whispers and rumors about them. Even at a very young age, Billy learned to do what he had to do to survive. His clothes were not much more than rags, and he learned what restaurants had the best food in their garbage cans. He even found rest and comfort sleeping between beams under a certain bridge. And in His little mind, all seems well with the world.
 One day as he was hanging around out on the streets, he notice a man staring at him. He had seen him a number of times before and he always caught him looking at him with a concerned look. This time was different. This time the man came walking towards him and sat down right beside him on the step that he was sitting on. He noticed that the man was dressed very nice, he was well groomed, he even noticed that he smelled good when sat down beside him. The only thing that Billy thought that was a bit unusual was how he seem to conceal his face a bit with his high collar.
 He asked, “What is your name young man?”
“William, but everyone calls me Billy”, he responded with a cheerful note in his voice.
“I like the name William”, the man responded. “It sounds, dignified”.      Billy liked this guy already. He not only looked nice, and smelled nice, what he said also made him feel good.
The man asked, “How old are you Master William?
And Billy responded with a smile saying, “I think I am about ten.”            He had never had anyone call him ‘Master William’ before. He kinda liked it. It made him feel important.
The man softly asked, “William, do you have any parents, and if not who do you live with”?
With down cast eyes Billy responded by saying, “I don’t know if I have any parents. If I do, I don’t know who they are or where they are. I sort of been passed around from one old street lady to another. They took care of me until the last one got sick and they took her away to the city clinic. I’ve been on my own since then”.
“Then where do you live William”.
And Billy with an excited tone in his voice responded, “Do you want to see”? He had never had any guest come to his place before.
He grabbed the man by the hand and started leading him off. He said, “Come on, its not that far”.
After going down a few side streets and down an alley or two, they came to the underside of a bridge. Billy scurried over to where the beams of the bridge meet the concrete on the ground. And nestled up under the bridge he had place a number of boards on the beams to make a shelter, or what many kids would have considered a fort.
“This is home sweet home”, he said proud as a peacock.
“This is where you sleep at night”, the man said with a look of concern on his face?
“Yea isn’t it neat, I made it myself” responding with a bit of pride in his voice. “The sound of the hooves and carriages going across the bridge at night help me fall to sleep at night”.
After they talked a bit more the man took Billy to get something to eat at a diner close by. And after Billy finished his sandwich, the man with a gentle smile told Billy that he was sincerely concerned for him. He admitted that he saw him around the neighborhood more than once and that he had even asked some of the locals about him and how they all said that he was a nice boy and polite to all.
He then in turn asked, “Billy, have you ever dreamed about living in a nice home, with a new mom and dad, and all the nice things that life can offered”? 
Billy responded by saying, “Sure, what street kid hasn’t? But who is going to take a dirty little kid like me in, someone like you”?
“As a matter of fact,” the man said, ”that is exactly what I would like to do”. And then the gentle man proceeded to tell Billy how much he and his wife wanted to have children of their own, but that they were unable. He also told him he really wanted to adopt a polite young boy to share his home and life with.
And then he turned to Billy, and softly took him by the hand and asked, “William, would you like to come and live with me and my wife in our home. I will adopt you as my son, and I will become your new dad, and all that I have will be yours?”
Stunned and then with small tears in his eyes the skinny frame of the boy reached out and clung to the man and responded by saying, “I’d be crazy not too. Besides I like the way you smell. Can I call you daddy?”
Having joy move his heart by this boy he responded, “yes” with a smile. He told Billy to leave all his belongings behind, he would not need anything because he would get all new clothes, and anything else he wanted.
As the two walked hand in hand down the street and rounded the corner, the boy could not help but notice a magnificent carriage, with 2 stunning black horses set with elaborate gold embossed harnesses and reins. And when the man picked Billy up and put him in the seat the thrill of awe almost took his breath away.
He turned to his new dad and asked, “Is this yours”? And His new dad nodded yes, with a smile.
And so Billy responded by saying, “You must be rich or something”.
As they moved from street to street Billy noticed that they were moving into the nicer part of the city and he wondered what kind of home his new dad and mom lived in. After much twisting and turning thru the streets, they found     themselves heading for the small rear gate in the royal palace.
Billy asked, “Daddy, where are you going, that is the royal palace. This is where the king lives.”
To which his new father responded, “You are right, and it is also the new home of the king’s new son, Prince William.”
“You are the king”, Billy asked with wide eyes.
“Yes, and now you are my son.”
As you could imagine Billy was given more than he could have ever imagined; beautiful clothes, respect, the best of food, servants, an awesome bedroom, parent that truly loved him, and all the blessings that come with being the king’s son. It was more than any orphan boy could ever dream. It was like he was living in some kind of a fairytale.
But one day not to long after, no one could find Prince William. It was as if he just disappeared from the palace. And after a diligent search one of the servants said that he saw a little beggar boy leaving the palace wearing scruffy old rags for cloths. And when Billy’s trusted servant investigated further, he found Billy back under the bridge, sleeping in his old dwelling on a pile of straw with part of a loaf of bread that he had pulled from a garbage can.
When asked why he left the palace and returned to that place, Billy responded by saying that he did not think that he deserved to be live in such a beautiful palace, and enjoy all those gifts and the king favor, because he was just a beggar boy.
And to that the servant responded, “No, you are no longer that little beggar boy. By the kings own decree you are now a child of the king, you are his son, you are a prince. And even though you may have troubles and heartaches in this life, you will forever be his son. And all the blessings that come with being the king’s son will be there for you as well. Whether you take advantage of the blessing and opportunities, well, that’s up to you. Either way, you are still a child of the king now and forever more. (Author unknown)
Sometimes I wonder if we are more like this little boy than we realize. I can’t help wonder if we forget what Father God has done for us, or is it that we feel guilty like we don’t deserve what He makes available to us now that He has taken us in as His own. Or it’s maybe a little of both?
Jesus referred to the all powerful God as “My Father” 53 times in the Gospels. He also called God “Our Father” some 21 times. Jesus also calls God “your Father” 21 times in the Gospels as well! So, Jesus clearly shows us that those of us who are Christians share the same relationship with almighty God as He Himself does. He is our Father, abba father, or dad.
In Ephesians Paul tried to get those early Christian to open their mind up to this reality as well, in chapter 1 he writes, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in heaven. In Christ, He chose us before the world was made. He chose us in love to be his holy people—people who could stand before him without any fault. And before the world was made, God decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. This was what God wanted, and it pleased Him to do it. And this brings praise to God because of His wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely. He gave us that grace in Christ, the one he loves. “ ERV
The wonderful thing or big deal about being a Christian is not the fact that we put our faith in and accepted God into our liferather, I believe the most wonderful and amazing thing is the fact that even before the world was made God, the supreme being over all creation, wanted to adopt us and become our spiritual Father, our eternal, heavenly dad. Not because He had to, or felt obligated to because He created us, but rather, like the king in our story, He chose to make us His sons and daughters because He wanted to. It was something He wanted to do because it pleased Him to do it. And, I’m sure, like the king who adopted Billy, He was filled with joy and loved us so very much because we wanted to become His child.
Like Billy, all too often we seem to forget this and who we are now, and the blessings that our heavenly Dad wants to pour out on us if we would only let Him. Either that or we don’t feel that we are worthy, or we feel guilty about our past life, and so we find our self holding back something of our self, or we just go back to some of things we did before. Maybe we just don’t understand who we are now or the Father’s love for us.
We are born again, yet rather than accepting that fact and maturing and growing up in His grace some of us go back to where we were before, just like Billy. Rather than renewing our mind and feeding it rich spiritual food some of us choose the garbage of the world to feed on.
Rather than clothing our self with Jesus we, we return to and put our old filthy ways back on our self. Rather than living like a child of God who belongs in the kingdom some of us return to live in the world and live like it’s resident do.
Jesus tried to explain the love of God, the Father’s love for us in His parable of the prodigal son. Most of know that story which is recorded in Luke 15:11-31. It is the story of the wayward son who asks for his inheritance even before his father dies. He then leaves his father’s home and goes off to another land where trades all that wealth for a worldly, wild, and ungodly lifestyle that only the world could give.
Eventually he runs out of money and in desperation he gets a job slopping pigs where he finally comes to his senses and decides to return home to his father.
In that parable we read that even before this young man got home his dad was seemingly outside waiting and looking for his lost son. And when he saw him we read that he ran to greet and hug his boy. He also showers him with gifts and has a party because he returned.
Maybe what we don’t realize is how moved the father was to see his son return. This father portrayed in the parable does not appear to be a simple or common man, but rather, someone who was quite successful in his old age. Individuals like this did not normally run anywhere unless they really had to. If you can just imagine, he probably would have had to pull up a long dress like robe to run, which would have been very undignified for a man of his stature and age… But it did not matter. It did not matter if he appeared undignified or not, he loved his son and was willing to do anything to show his love to him. That’s the image of our Father God that Jesus wanted to show us.
By telling that story, Jesus wanted to show you and me how much God loves his children that return to Him.
The king did not owe Billy his love, nor did he somehow deserve it.           The wayward, prodigal son did not deserve his father’s love.
And likewise, Father God does not owe us anything, and we certainly don’t deserve His love either…. But He loves us anyway, why? Because He wants to. No other reason. It’s simply His choice.
So I say this Father’s Day, just say thank you, ‘Thank you for loving me Father God, thank you so much for making me your son! (or daughter)’…  and then just accept and enjoy that love.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com