<<planned, intentional>>
 God has given us free wills and because of the choices we make, we can (as much as lies in our power), intentionally determine the path we travel. However, we cannot bypass the fact there are always consequences over which we have little control.

In our Christian life we all have struggles and regularly allow our old life to control us, which unless addressed can lead to ‘backsliding’ into sin.  Many times this is an accidental or unintentional reaction rather than a premeditated or deliberate response. However, the Bible records serious outcomes about those who live in habitual, wilful and

I am determined to follow Christ – no turning back

purposeful rebellion while knowing what the Bible teaches yet intentionally disobey by ignoring their consciences voice (Heb 6:4-6, 10:26). This is characterised by renouncing Christ, after having known and followed Him, and then decisively turning their back on Him. The good news is God does not reject genuine repentance when it is accompanied or ‘proved’ by appropriate lifestyle changes.

While Jesus spoke of those ignorant of what was expected of them, and were treated less severely than those who knew and failed to respond appropriately the call is “Find out what pleases the Lord” and “do it” (Lk 12:47,48; Jn 2:5; Eph 5:10). This is why regular Bible reading/study, prayer, meeting with other believers are some of the essential spiritual disciplines.

Rather than debating the difference between intentional and unintentional sin the Bible clearly states, “All have sinned and fallen short of His standards…” with ignorance of what God requires continuing to separate people from Him to this day (Rom 3:23; Eph 4:18). Paul, whose religious zeal was misdirected testified, “I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:13,14).

All people have some understanding of God's values and requirements (through their conscience) so there is no excuse for people to claim they are without sin and aren’t aware of what He expects from us (Rom 1:18-20). The remedy for sin is confession and repentance, then living as a new creation in Christ (Act 17:30; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Jn 1:8,9).

Jesus was not accidentally crucified but sinful humanity outworked God’s purpose so we could be saved and come into an eternal relationship with Him (Act 2:23). “Jesus resolutely set out…” and submitted Himself to God’s will (Lk 9:51, 22:42).

We are commanded to put God first – loving and serving Him with our whole heart, mind, and body (Mk 12:30). Yet, our flesh creates a vast range of excuses why we don’t fully comply. Similarly, we are instructed to love our fellowman as we love ourselves, but again the selfish human nature struggles with this divine mandate (Mk 12:31).  In both these vital areas, it requires rigorous and consistent effort on our part to put God and the needs of others before our wants.

No one will get to heaven by ‘drifting with the flow’ or just hoping they will arrive there; it requires a reasoned and conscious choice to leave the sinful hell-bound way of Satan and turn to Jesus. This definite decision is only

Do I take the terms of salvation seriously?

made real by the deliberate turning from the old way of life and embracing the new (Eph 4:22-24). Other terms that indicate the purposeful and intentional pursuing of Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers are “Take up your cross and follow me…We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ…Put off your old self, put on the new self…Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature…” (Lk 9:23; 2 Cor 10:5; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5). This is not a causal, ‘if I feel like it’ notion but a focused call to give our all to Him who gave His all for us so we don’t have to spend eternity separated from Him.    

See also: choice, conscience, consequences, drift, freewill, ignorance, intentionally, motive, once save/always saved, put off/put on, repentance, thinking/thoughts.