8. Freedom means God won't retaliate against you for your choice.

Sin pays its own wage. The wage is death. {Romans 6:23}

My husband and I have a running joke about picking a restaurant when we go out for a date. At some point, early on in our relationship, he asked where I wanted to go to eat, and I replied that I didn’t care so I would let him choose. So, he suggested a restaurant, and I thought about it for a moment and said, “Nah.”

He went on to suggest a few more, and after considering each one, I realized they just didn’t sound appealing. Finally, I said, “What about that little Italian place?” He looked at me in exasperation. “If you knew you wanted to go there, why didn’t you just say so in the first place?” So often, when we go out now, I’ll say with a wink, “You can pick the place… so long as you pick the right one.”

It’s funny, and we laugh, but for him, that’s not really choosing at all. If I tell him he has freedom to make the decision, but in the back of his mind, he knows that I have a place already picked out and will make sure we end up there, what’s the point of the charade? I might as well admit that I’m going to be picking the restaurant.

Now, this might sound like an analogy that’s too trivial to relate to something as important and serious as having a relationship with God, but the principle is the same. Because for far too long, many Christians have said that God gives us the freedom to choose whether to love Him or not, but then they also say that, in the end, God is going to destroy anybody who does not choose to love Him.

If that’s so, if a person must arrive at the choice God wants or He will destroy them, then what is the value of saying there was a “choice” in the first place? On the contrary, true freedom means that you and I are free to make the choice we want to make without any fear of retaliation from God. In the end, if God doesn’t get what He wants, He’s not going to take it out on you.

That’s why it’s so important to understand what it says in Romans 6:23—that there is a wage for persisting in sin, but that sin pays that wage. Freedom doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences for the choice you make, but it means that you don’t have to fear that God will retaliate against you for not making the choice He wants you to make.

If you want to dig deeper—
Isaiah 55:6-7
Romans 1:18-35
Galatians 6:7-8
2 Peter 3:9