Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Proposal - Election & Freewill

In the movie “Princess Bride” there is a wedding. I greatly fear that during a wedding I conduct someday, I will uncontrollably break out with:

“Mawwage. Mawwage, is what bwings us togevvvah today. Mawwage, that bwessed awangement. That dweam, wiffin a dweam.”

What’s also bad is the thought that I may not do it, but I may think about it and start laughing!

During Sunday School this past week, an analogy came to mind to describe the concepts of Election and Freewill and this movie provided some insight.

After the wedding, Princess Buttercup (come on guys, don’t stop reading—I promise you won’t lose your Man-Card) finds her true love, Westley, in her chamber. She asks why he didn’t stop her wedding and stop her from getting married. When he replies that she didn’t really get married, Buttercup is confused and says, “Yes I did. This old man said ‘man and wife’!”

Westley responds, “Did you say ‘I do’?”

“Well, we sort of skipped that part.”

“Then you’re not married. You didn’t say it. You didn’t do it.” Then there is a confrontation with the evil Prince, who wants to remedy the technicality by killing the Princess.

But there is something so important about that moment. For a real wedding to take place—both the husband and the wife have to give their assent, give their “I do” to the relationship, the marriage bond, the future.

Freewill and choice are necessary. That’s why forced marriages are a sham and cultures who do not allow women to freely choose or allow them to speak at their wedding are so damaging in the long run.

But this is so much how our relationship with Christ works. He is our Bridegroom and we are His Bride.

He makes all the arrangements for the wedding. No part of the ceremony is left undone or unprepared. Everything is set up beforehand, even the house is prepared for us. And we are waiting for the Father to pronounce that all is prepared that Jesus can come and receive His Bride.

Jesus has done all the work, made all the preparations, and has Chosen His Bride and done everything to entice her. He makes a proposal—but for a true wedding to take place, the Bride must give her assent. She must say “Yes” to the proposal from the Bridegroom.

When the Bride says “Yes”, all she has to do is show up and say it publicly before the gathered witnesses. We say “yes” at our conversion, we show it publicly at out baptism—it is our “pledge (or answer) of a good conscience toward God”

Imagine if a man were to propose to a woman and she did not have the freedom to say “no”.

God has chosen His Bride—but so many are refusing His proposal. He has made all the arrangements, taken care of everything—provided the best and yet we still say “no”.

Another issue to discuss is the fact that so many have not even heard the Proposal—because we as His ambassadors and representatives have not brought the message to them

Still another topic—what if a man proposes to a woman and she says “yes”, but then refuses to wear the engagement ring because she’s embarrassed. If she only puts in on when he’s around but takes it off as soon as possible.

That’s how so many of us are with Jesus—baptism is like putting on our engagement ring and wearing it for all the world to see. But the danger is that even after we put on the engagement ring—some people live as if they only wear it on Sundays but take it off Monday through Saturday. That’s not an engagement or a marriage either.

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