483. VI. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS THE WORD WOULD BE OF NO USE, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE CHURCH WOULD BE NOTHING.
It is known throughout the Christian world that in the broadest sense the Word means the law, or the book of the laws, in accordance with which man must live to obtain eternal life. And what is there more frequently taught in it than that man should do good and not evil, and should believe in God and not in idols? And it is full of commands and exhortations to do these things, and of blessings and promises of reward for those who do them, and of curses and threats for those who do not. To what purpose is this, if man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things, that is, in such things as relate to salvation and eternal life? Would it not be void of meaning, and subserve no use? And if man were to cling to the idea that he has no power and no liberty in spiritual things, and thus were to be separated from any power of will in spiritual matters, would the Sacred Scriptures then seem to him to be anything more than a blank sheet without a syllable upon it, or like a sheet upon which a whole inkstand had been emptied, or like mere curves and dots without any letters, therefore like an empty volume?  To confirm this from the Word ought not to be necessary, but as the churches of today have poured themselves forth in mental inanities respecting spiritual things, and to confirm these have brought forth passages from the Word which have been falsely interpreted, it may be well to present others which command man to do and to believe. Such are the following:
The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43).
Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. And even now the axe is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Luke 3:8, 9).
Jesus said, Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say? Everyone who cometh to Me, and heareth My words, and doeth them, is like a man building a house upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like unto a man that built a house upon the ground without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49).
Jesus said, My mother and My brethren are those who hear the Word of God and do it (Luke 8:21).
We know that God heareth not sinners; but if one worship God, and do His will, him He heareth (John 9:31).
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).
He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and I will love him (John 14:21).
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit (John 15:8).
Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you; I have chosen you, that ye should bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:14, 16).
Make the tree good, the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33).
Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8).
He that is sown upon good ground this is he that heareth the Word, and beareth fruit (Matt. 13:23).
He that reapeth receiveth reward, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36).
Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings; learn to do good (Isa. 1:16, 17).
The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, and then He shall render unto everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).
And shall come forth, they that have done goods, unto the resurrection of life (John 5:29).
Their works do follow with them (Apoc. 14:13).
Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work (Apoc. 22:12).
Jehovah whose eyes are open to give everyone according to his ways. According to our doings, hath He dealt with us (Jer. 32:19; Zech. 1:6).
 The Lord teaches the same in His parables, many of which imply that those who do good will be accepted while those who do evil will be rejected,
As in the parable of the workmen in the vineyard (Matt. 21:33-44).
Of the talents and pounds given to trade with (Matt. 25:14-31; Luke 19:13-25).
So also of Faith; Jesus said,
Whosoever believeth in Me shall never die, but shall live (John 11:25, 26).
This is the will of the Father, that everyone who believeth in the Son may have eternal life (John 6:40).
He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16.)
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40).
But these are only a very few of such passages in the Word, and they are like a few cups of water from the sea.