“Come, let’s consider your options,” says the Lord. “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool. 19 If you have a willing attitude and obey, then you will again eat the good crops of the land. 20 But if you refuse and rebel,you will be devoured by the sword.” Know for certain that the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 1:18-20.
Israel is THE Chosen Nation of God who has a very l-o-n-g history of abandoning the faithfulness of their God; the One Who brought them out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Isaiah chapter one speaks to that abandonment and God’s anger toward Israel. In v 18 Yaweh speaks to the sinful people concerning their sins and tells them, ‘you can become white like snow…if you have a willing attitude and obey.’ Their attitude must be one of obedience to the Lord’s commands as seen in the Torah, i.e., The Ten Commandments. God’s Word of truth is that when they come to Him in obedience, “I will heal their land…” 1 Chronicles 7:14. Here, in verse 19, “then you will oagain eat the good crops of the land.” His blessings upon an obedient people will be plentiful. However, there is another option available to them, as well. “But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” Strong words for a disobedient heart.
In Acts 28 we find that Paul preached and taught the Message of the Gospel for 2 years in Rome, in vv. 23-28 we find this account written by Luke, “They set a day to meet with him, and they came to him where he was staying in even greater numbers. From morning until evening he explained things to them, testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets. Some were convinced by what he said, but others refused to believe. So they began to leave, unable to agree among themselves, after Paul made one last statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will never understand, and you will keep on looking, but will never perceive. For the heart of this people has become dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. Therefore be advised that this salvation from God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen!’ ”
What we find herein is that Paul attempted to convince these people who are hard in their hearts, but some were convinced. Paul quoted the words of Isaiah, “You will keep on hearing, but will never understand, and you will keep on looking, but will never perceive…” God’s desire is that everyone will be convinced and come to Him by faith. “Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare. Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must you be, conducting your lives in holiness and godliness, while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God?” 2 Peter 3:8-12.
A disappointing and disastrous opinion exists that wrongly teaches that God has already chosen who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell. However, the question also exists, “If God has already made such a decision, why would He have sent Paul to Rome for 2 years in house arrest?” AND “Why would Paul have attempted to convince people to do something that had already been done for them?” This is absolutely ludicrous and opposed to what many believe and teach among us today. Yes, these folks are able to ‘proof-text’ their examples, many very good examples, but to read the contextual examples which state just the opposite is to negate the Word of God.
But here we are again with Jesus and Nicodemus, and Jesus gives Nicodemus the same option to choose to follow the Messiah or not. “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he does not give the Spirit sparingly. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:34-36. The option is to believe the Son for eternal life or to reject Him and understand God’s wrath remains. Jesus does not tell Nicodemus that the decision has already been made for him, but rather explains a moment earlier that all who believe in Him will have eternal life, John 3:16.
All that I am able to do is to explain the same thing that Isaiah said, “Consider your options,” for Jesus is Lord and Savior.