Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 See,I have set before you today life and prosperity,death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today,by loving the LORD your God,walking in his ways,and observing his commandments,decrees,and ordinances,then you shall live and become numerous,and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear,but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them,18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death,blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,20 loving the LORD your God,obeying him,and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days,so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors,to Abraham,to Isaac,and to Jacob. (NRSV)
Life is full of choices,many of which we make without thinking about it. But the choice Moses puts to the people of Israel before crossing the Jordan was another matter. This was life and death. What decision they made here and now not only affects their immediate future but their eternal destiny.
The choice is between faithful dependence on God and independence from him. Between following his ways and following our own ways. And such a choice is still relevant today. We cannot deny the reality of human choice by arguing for some sort of predestination. There are differences of opinion regarding the essential nature of predestination,but few on any side of the debate dismiss the necessity of human choice.
God offers all men and women right relationship with him through trust in what Jesus has done for them. But it is only an offer,and like all offers it has to be accepted. Some embrace the offer eagerly and immediately. Others come to accept it more gradually. Others sit on the fence while yet others reject it. And even those in these latter two categories can come to change their mind-though no one can ever know when it will be too late to do so.
God wants all to be in heaven with him. But he twists no one’s arms. He simply extends his hand willing us to take hold of it yet profoundly aware many will do no such thing.