Who is in Control?

Are you saying that since you are totally forgiven you can just go out and do anything you want? Anytime the grace of God is discussed, the critics drone away with this ridiculous question. All it does is betray their shallow understanding of salvation.

In Christ, we have received much more than forgiveness. We have been made alive so that we could walk in the newness of life led and guided by God’s Holy Spirit. Is God’s Spirit going to lead you to sin? To the person who believes that salvation is nothing more than the forgiveness of sins, freedom doesn’t make sense. So they ask the question.

The question isn’t new. Paul was hit with it almost everywhere he traveled. He gave an alarming answer to these critics in 1 Corinthians 6:12: “everything is permissible to me.” Yes, he was free to submit to the desires of the flesh. And so are you. But what was more important to Paul was that in Christ he was free to submit to the desires of the Spirit. And guess what? You are too. Both are permissible, but only one is profitable.

Here is the real issue. When we give in to the desires of the flesh we put ourselves under the control of sin. For the child of God, this doesn’t make sense. Paul didn’t want to be mastered by anything. He had had enough of that as a lost person. He wanted to live his life under the control of the Holy Spirit and experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

We are not independent beings, we are dependent. But God has given us the freedom to choose who or what we will depend upon at any given moment. Who is in control? That is the question we should be asking. When we submit to the desires of the Spirit, we will experience the abundant life Jesus promised. Who is in control of your life?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

42 thoughts on “Who is in Control?

  1. Hey Bob, you explained that very well and I hope to share it with those who have an incomplete understanding of what we are free to enjoy, living by the desires of the Holy Spirit brings life,
    living the by the flesh only misery and destruction. I think life is a much better choice.
    Enjoyed reading your post, always liberating!

    • Thanks Sue. Definitely feel free to share the link with others. Hope you and your family are doing well.

  2. That;s a great question. I do know this – the longer I am in Christ and the more I get to know my God and Savior the less I am yeilding control to my flesh. Yet thise times I do yield to my flesh the disappointment is so much greater. Finally I know this that He who lives in me isdoing His will and His good pleasure; All things are working for my good…

    • Brad, I identify regarding the disappointment being greater. The hurt that others experience because of my decision to yield to the flesh is sobering.

      • Bob for me, walking in the newness of life is just awesome, i must admit at first when i heard the good news i was tempted to think that i could sin, and it was gonna be ok todo so, but then i realized that it was not who christ said i was, and ontop of that i certainly was not experiencing the abundant life that christ talked about,I must admit thanks to Christ for using u guys to deliver such a great message of salvation. Let me use this opportunity to ask u guys to pray for me that the lord will grant me wisdom to make the right choices and to continue in his word, Bob its a scrary world out there,and i really dont want to get caught up again, i just want to be obedient…Thank you.

    • Ditto here. I’ve found the exact same thing. Although we don’t become sinless, we find that we sin less. Not that “not sinning’ is our goal, but rather trusting God is. You’re right; the longer we’re in Him, the better we get to know Him. It’s a wondrous thing to be living in His love!

  3. Bob, thank you for your courage to speak the truth on this. This is not a popular teaching in the broader Christian community. I once put a paragraph similar to what you have said here in a tract I was using in a prison ministry. The pastor of the church that sponsored that ministry called me and asked me to remove it from the tract.

    The subject of the new nature and especially the death of the old nature (Romans 6) is sadly a controversial subject among many Christians. I have had to learn to tread lightly and gently here.

  4. Aside from my family, the most important part of my life is my business. The first 16 years of operating that business was a struggle, always trying to fix things that went wrong rather than preventing the problems in the first place. When I gave up control of my business to Jesus, I was truly amazed at the results. It’s funny how we think we know so much but the Lord has shown me ways to operate that I never thought of in 30 years of the industry I work in. Praise be to God.

  5. You must think this through and be consistent.First off this idea of free choice does not exist and God never gave man free choice. Only God has free choice. You must understand what the will is to understand why the concept of free will does not exist. The “will” in and of itself does not have the function or ability of making a choice. The “will” is what puts us into action one way or another once the will has been “influenced” to act. The will is totally nuteral and does not have a new idea of itself to act. The influence is called “the strongest determining factor”.
    Before we are save we are in sin totally controlled by saten, the world, and self interest. The only influence on our will is these things. That is why the Word says in Prov. 21:4 that “even the plowing of the wicked is sin”. Man is born totally corrupt and his will is influence totally by corruption. Now, the change comes when we have been “born again”. We now have another influence working on our will; the Holy Spirit. We are lead into the Word of God, and Christ by the Word and the Spirt is in control of our will. Phil. 2:13 says “it is God who works in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure”. Look up the following scriptures and you will seen who is in control of our lives; and it’s not our so called “free will”. Prov. 16:9, Prov. 20:24, Prov. 19:21, Isa. 46:9-10, Psalm 76:10, Prov. 16:33.
    I is God who wills or it is man who wills, it cannot be both that cannot work. It is Gods’ will that is governing every every act and action of every man, even the putting to death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is man still accountable? Yes, that is what Paul said in Romans 9:19-21, he knew that question would come up.
    So sorry as much as we would like to believe that we are in control, we’re not, it is a hard sell to the “flesh” but there it is.

    • Dave, the point of the post is that we are not in control. We are dependent beings, either on the world, the flesh and the devil as John wrote in his first epistle, or on Jesus Christ.

      • I was responding to what you wrote “But God has given us the freedom to choose who or what we will depend upon at an given moment”.
        This is simply not true (With all due respect). Man will fail every time when given this choice. The histor of israel is a good example, “total failure”. Paul was not given a choice, he was knocked off his donkey and his life was “forced” into the correct direction ever sense. He was not looking for Jesus at the time but God had His will. The same when Paul wanted to go into Asia, God closed the door. Our dependence on God is not of our free choice read Rom 3:10-18. Again “it is God that works in us to will and to do”. Our choice and our curcumstance are totally dictated by God, that is why in Christ we can not fail and why Rom. 8:28 works.

        • Your out of control and totally wrong. Thanks for your opinions but God did not make automotons. They are incapable of love. You cant dictate and control love. Wrong wrong wrong

          • Hard to let go of the flesh and to give ALL the credit to God isn’t it! Automations, well the word is not used by “vessels of clay” are the words used and shaped into anything God wants Rom. 9:20-21. The type of “love” (Agape) referred to in the Word; man is incapable of, it must come from God by “grace”. Man in his unsaved state is incapable of love to God, again not my words but read Rom. 3:10-18. “ALL good things are from God”.
            Saying wrong three times does not make a person correct, it’s “what does the Word say” that we live and stand on.

        • When God had finished creation, he gave it to the man Adam and told him that he was free to eat anything from any tree in the garden, the only restriction was that he must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words man was free to do whatever he choice as long as he did not try to decide good from evil, for on the day he did, he would surely die.

          • Back up a minute. Was Adam free to chose good from evil? No. Adam did not know evil, Adam only knew good. Adam had no concept of evil because it did not exist yet. Evil did not yet enter into Adams mind prior to the fall. That’s why he did not know he was naked. Again a choice has to be made by the strongest determining factor. Thus entered Satan who is a tool of God to persuade the will of Eve to sin. Eve then persuading Adam to sin. Adam was predestined to sin it could not be avoided, in the same way Pharaoh was hardened to fulfill Gods purpose.

        • hey dave I hope to see you commenting on the next blog,and I am really happy for your insights that is according to the word it was helpful for me……….but next time u can add, to another persons comment and not oppose so boldly, thats like being gentle……but i get the picture, I hope ur not offended.

          • Jahlyn,
            Not offended at all, thank you.
            That’s one of the problems with people today, everyone is so quick to be offended. Anything can at some point offend anyone, hence the “politically correct” culture.
            I do not agree with offending to offend, but whenever you rub up againts anyones preconcieved beliefs it offends.
            The vast majority of so called Christian churches are so afraid to offend and be gentle that all that is offered is a watered down counterfit gospel which isn’t a gospel at all.
            I get the gentle part believe me; and I know that unless everything is done in the spirit of 1 Cor. 13 it is useless.

      • I totally agree bob, the word says, I place before u curse and blessings choose ye this day what ye should serve,He also says i have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly, His word also says I wish that none should perish but for all to come to repentance,Dave his word also says dont we know that whom we yeild our selves too, we are servants to obey we are either gonna be loyal to one and forsake the other, we cnnot serve two masters,all these tells us we have a part to play, we have two sets of desires that contiually are contrary to one another. Conclusion who are we going to allow to sit in the temple of God, and rule….

        • God said that He places blessings and curses yes, but it does not stop there; you did not read far enough! Your scripture comes from Deut.chapter 30. In Deut. chapter 31:16-21 God says before hand that they will not do the correct thing, He already knows that THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE, therefore they HAVE NO CHOICE. God is not giving a choice in chap. 30, He is saying what the results are from good or from evil. The Israelites were going to fail no matter what! This is all into the plan of redemption. Why did God put the tree in the garden? Not as a choice but as a means to failure on mans part. Why? so man would require a savior and in this way The Lord Jesus is gloryfied. This was all done BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.
          Now the quote that you used that “I wish none would perish and all would come to repentance” is exactically what will happen. This applies only to the elect of God, none will perish. Jesus said in John “that all that the father has given me will come to me and I will not lose a single one”.
          One last thing which is a total insult to God when we use that phrase “who are we going to allow”. Do you think you have the power to allow God all-mighty to do anything? This little worm is going to allow God to sit or not? Please.
          As to Rom. 7, sure we have a battle going on no doubt about that but it is not US who fights this battle with “our part to play”, that is why paul said “WHO will deliver me from this body of death (24), the answer? Jesus Christ, not “our choice.”

          • Dave,
            Though you make compelling points, the fact that you have chosen to hijack this topic as you have indicates that you have a serious problem. What you are doing is at best disrespectful and at worst just plain mean.

            I respectfully admonish you to let this argument go. When Bob starts a topic on election/freewill then it would be appropriate for you to make your points.

    • Wrong Wrong Wrong. You can take that Foolish (Can’t bring myself to call it theology) an stuff it. How do you know you are one of the “frozen chosen” I cannot think of any more twisted view in all forms of Christianity. Do I think God is soverign? Of course I do. But that is not the most salient definition of God. You think by you many words that you have proved you intelligence, but only your extreme ignorance. I would like to be more loving, but nothing raises my hackles more than this “He chooses you, but not me” crap. As Bob George said The reason for this
      “theology” is that it was thought (incorrectly) was salvation was getting your sins forgiven. But since it is written that He died not for our sins only, but the sin of the whole world. Since that would be universal salvation, thier answer was, He died only for the elect. ( You of course and your ilk) Make you pretty smug. Of course not, how do you know your one of the elect. Didn’t think so. Wake up and smell the coffee.

      • What have you done? Did you tear out from your Bible Eph. chap. one, and Rom. chap. nine and ten. I wonder what Jesus meant when He said “no man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”. It’s funny how we grant ourselves “the right to chose” but take that power and right away from God. God chose Israel as a type and shadow of what was to come; His chosing of an eternal church. The flesh will fight you on this because the last thing the flesh wants is to be hung up on that cross with the inability to chose. From Gen. to Rev. God choses peoples, prophets,servants, places,and times. He chooses the day you are born and the day you die. Such as in Acts 13:48 when he choses the gentiles “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” Most all Christians believe at first that they did chose God but He beat us to it and through study of the scripture we learn John 1:12 that those that have recieved Him is not by our will but it is of the will of God. Dead people can’t chose and the is brougt to light in Rom. 3:10-18.

        You asked how I know I am chosen? Could I ask you the same question a little differently: how do you know your choice worked? when the word says in Eph. 2: 8 that “by grace have you been saved”, not by works which certainly your choice is. I am certainly not attacking your salvation, the fact that you want to credit yourself with the choice you made does not mean you are not saved, it just means you have not been made aware of the sovereignty of God in this area. God chooses and draws us to Himself and in this state of new birth we turn to Him and we “think” we then chose Him but the Word teaches differently.
        When ever you feel your “hackles” being raise, stop and think, is this of the flesh, or of the Spirit? The flesh will raise hackles when threatened, the Spirit will lead you to the Word. “Election” will raise hackles for sure because it means the flesh has not part in Gods choosing and it will fight you on this.
        “How do I know I am saved?” is an entirely different subject Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.gave a pretty good answer when he said ” I may not be the man I ought to be, and I may never be the man I want to be, but thank God I’m not the man I used to be.”

        • You havn’t answered the question. How can you have the assurance of salvation? Didn’t think so because you didn’t answer the question did you. And, yes you did try to impugn my salvation. And you believe you have salvation (which by the way is life) because of what Martin Luther said? Huh? You keep talking about the word, and when you have to answer the most important question you, and any other person must ask, you quote Martin Luther. Wrong Wrong Wrong!!!!

          • Ok, Boyd,
            Sence you want to go into that topic I will be more than glad to help you along. But first I want to say that this is not about personal attacks. The world has their “posts” and you can find plenty of that there. All we write here should be in the spirit of love for the growth and knowledge of the saints through Jesus Christ.
            Proof of salvation can be found in the words of Jesus in Matt. 7:17-20
            “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
            Paul then goes on to list the fruit of the Spirit as love , joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness. and self-control. (Gal.5:22)
            Further John abswers this question in 1 John 1:3-9 ”
            3Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

            7£Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard £from the beginning. 8Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

            9He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

            John goes on to define these commandment in 1 John 3:14 “14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love £his brother abides in death.” and verse 23 gives us this commandment ” And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another,”

            2 Cor. 13:5 says ”
            5Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

            Boyd I hope this helps, and yes Dr. Martin Luther King was a great man and I’m sure he did examine himself and knew Christ to be able to say the things he said. However he is not my source as you have seen from the above comments. Grace and Peace.

        • Dave, yes Jesus did say that no man can come to him unless the Father sends him, but according to 2 Peter 3:9 God does not want anyone to perish, but that everyone come to repentance. That would mean that God draws everyone to Jesus, but we individually choose to accept Him or reject Him.
          God does not “force” salvation on anyone. We either accept God’s testimony regarding His Son, or we make God out to be a liar. 1 John 5:10

          • If that is what god said then that is what will happen, and it does. This makes sense only if it applies to the elect. All the elect will come to God and none will perish, as Jesus said in John. Now with that God is again in total control. This also makes sense out of all those millions that perished that never heard of Jesus prior to His coming. Election makes the Word come together from start to finish. Google “free will” in the bible and find out how many times it is mentioned, you will be suprised. Then check out election, predestination, foreknow, etc. Hundreds of scripture point to and conferm election, it is the only way God gets all the glory. The flesh wants to hang on with at least getting credit for a choice that is not there to make. If you are in Christ, He chose you, He gets the glory, what is wrong with that/ God said He will not share His glory with anyone.

  6. I just wrote to others, “It is not the blessings I receive (as I celebrate my 82nd birthday), but the blessings I can share.

    God’s grace opens the doors for so many opportunities that any thoughts about what I might be doing wrong disappears into that land called Nothingness. Of course, I make mistakes – at my age, I have done far too many to waste away my life wondering if His blood was sufficient for my salvation.

    Walking with Him has proven to me that His grace is more than sufficient to deal with the struggles of life. Accept it and you will begin to understand what Peter said when he described it as “joy inexpressible and full of glory”.

  7. Wonder if it is realy a shallow understanding or in reality a walk in a dry wash in the desert of confusion.
    It was a lot of years between “seeing” what Jesus offered on the front of a sunday school bulletin (that image is engraved in my memory forever) and coming to understand & accept what He did for me on that cross Being totally undeserving, knowing I would continue to screw-up, I clutched to Paul’s comment “I do the things I don’t want to do & don’t do what I want to do!” Discovering that I am not unique, among Christians, in that aspect was a big surprise.
    Only after I finally accepted the fact the ALL MY SINS were taken away, never to be seen again, did I understand the full impact, on my life, of the death, burial & resurection of JESUS, that in fact it all pointed back to that watercolor painting of Jesus & the Little Children on the front of that Sunday School Bulletin. It took 60+ years for that journey to bring me to this point in my relationship with Jesus. Each day has it’s own revelations & the adventure grows…

    • You are so right Ron! It’s proof that we cannot reason our way through the Gospel. If God does not reveal this things to us, we have NO HOPE of understanding.

      I like to use the phrase “I met Jesus in 1974 but it took me thirty years to learn what happened.”

  8. Yes and I am reminded of the Christian Sruggle in Pauls letter to the Romans. Why do I do the things I will not to do if I do what I will not to do it is not i that do it but sin that dwells in me he said I find that when I want to do good that evil is right there with wow I sure relate to that I believe the greatest sin is pride and God in all His wisdom uses that indwelling sin to keep me humble…wretched man that I am etc….

  9. I offer my deepest apologies if any offence was given, that certainly is not my intent. I guess there are posts intended for love feasts and posts for those who are serious about digging into the truth of God. You are correct I must have a problem. Again I am sorry to offend. I attended a conference with Bob George in San Jose years ago and met Bob and Bob. The discussions were great and information shared was fantastic. I just thought it was the same as then but it seems as though things have changed. The Word is offensive to the way we want to believe at times, but this fact is what makes us dig, and grow. The truth does not come easy, it has a shaking effect on everyone that gets into the meatier things. Read the responces to my posts and you can see the offence although none was intended.
    Just think what would happen if Bob asked the question “does God love everone?”

    • Dave, I love your passion. thanks for joining the conversation here. To reiterate, the point of the post was to show that as dependent creatures we are never in control. Our actions are either dictated by sin, or by God’s Spirit. If I choose to reconcile to a brother that has harmed me in some way, I do so because of God’s leading. It was not an independent choice. If I choose to harbor resentment, I do so because of the influence of sin and the desires of the flesh. The spirit of what I was trying to communicate is Galatians 5:13, “You my brothers were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another in love.”

    • You are a jackwagon. You think by your many words that you could convince one such as I of your utter failure of understanding of scripture. You are lost and a devil. Yes, I said a devil and one of his loyal subjects. I have identified you and, that’s what you are. What a Jackwagon. Yes you are an automaton. But I’ve identified who is pulling your strings

  10. I was told after I recieved Christ in 1979 that now that I had been saved it was up to me to keep it.If I failed in one point I was lost again until that sin was confessed.It took alot of years to for the Lord to reveal to my heart the truth,that Christ was actually keeping me.Not the other way around,He leads us.And for this I am eternally grateful.

  11. Love cannot be compelled and still be love. Nothing we did caused God to love us-it is His nature to love. When we become partakers with the Lord Jesus, His nature and love indwell our spirit co inhabiting our spirit “take my yoke upon you.” “it is for Him to will and Him to do…” As we yield to His movement we are seen doing by others, but it is Him. I like to use the glove. A baseball glove can not make a catch without the hand inside directing it. It yields to the hand as we yield our will to the hand of God.

  12. It seems that “choice” or “I’m in charge” is one of the big lies from the father of lies when we are being led by the desires of the flesh.
    It took me many years to come to that truth and it is still a struggle to recognize and use that knowledge to draw closer to the Holy Spirit.

    When I think I’m in charge or try to push my agenda (desires of the flesh) is when I misrepresent Christ and prove the critics right when they call me a hypocrite. What makes me very sad and yet motivates me to rest in Christ’s Love and leading is that others think that all Christians are like that (hypocrites).Thank God In Christ that He is Love and gives me yet another chance to represent Him as such!

  13. My desire is to serve and love those around me, to be available to God at all times, but all to often I act contrary to these desires. This leaves me feeling defeated at the end of the day. God knows my heart and how I desire to walk in the Spirit but yet sin seems to control my life most of the time. I look good on the outside but am rotten on the inside. The more I focus on Christ and all He has done for me the harder my heart seems to grow. I long for our Lord to take over my life but the fruit I bare does not seem genuine.

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