I love to read TJ Addington’s material. This post is excellent – he has a great gift of communicating through writing. I appreciate the word “followership” in his blog, it’s a cool word and helps me understand. Connect to his blog here. Enjoy and be grateful for God’s love today as you read this. -B
An amazing aspect of being made in the image of God is the gift we were given of moral freedom. It is amazing given the cost God knew He would pay for that gift
Because mankind was created for relationship with God, it was imperative that they be given the choice of whether to choose or rejectHim. To force someone to love another is not love but coercion. God would not coerce His creation. Rather He created Adam and Eve with pure hearts, unmarred by any sin, but still He gave them a choice: They could eat from any tree in the garden except one and if they ate of that one tree they would die.
The fact that God created mankind with moral freedom to choose right or wrong tells us a great deal about Him. Choosing Him and righteousness had to be a free choice if it was to be a true relationship and followership. Adam and Eve had a great advantage that we do not have, they were without a sin nature, so like Jesus who lived a sinless life, they could choose to reject sin. And they did, until that fateful day in the garden when they discovered the awful ramifications of their choice to rebel.
There is another facet to giving mankind this choice to follow or not. God is omniscient, which means that He knows all things, from beginning to end. Thus He knew that in giving mankind moral freedom that they would choose to rebel. He also knew that He would initiate a divine rescue operation that would cost His Son His life on the cross to pay for our sin. Knowing all this, He still chose to create mankind – knowing full well the cost it would require to redeem men and women from their sin.
What this tells us is the value that God places on men and women created in His image. Not only was He willing to create them knowing the outcome but in spite of their rebellion and the cost of reconciling men and women to God, he still desires our love, followership and fellowship.
Paul puts it this way in Romans 5:6-8. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
If you ever wonder how much God loves you or desires your love and followership just think of the price he knew he would pay in order to make that love and followership possible. He created us for fellowship with Him. In order to make that fellowship a free choice on our part he gave us the gift of moral freedom in spite of the cost to Him. That is how much He desires our freely given love and worship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T.J. Addington is a Senior Vice President with the EFCA and the leader of ReachGlobal, the international mission of the EFCA. He has served as a pastor, consultant and denominational leader.
Over the past twenty three years, T.J. has consulted with numerous churches and Christian non-profit organizations in the areas of healthy leaders, intentional leadership, governance systems and dealing with issues of organizational health and strategy. He resides with his wife of 35 years, Mary Ann, in Oakdale, MN and is the father of two sons.
He is the author of four books, High Impact Church Boards, Leading From The Sandbox, When Life Comes Undone and Live Like You Mean It – available from NavPress. In his spare time T.J. is an avid fly fisherman.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org