Pr. Jaynan Clark

February 13, 2014

photo of Pr. JaynanHe is one of those rare individuals, especially as an 18 year old male, who really didn’t want to drive or get a license but it was expected of him. He survived and passed the training and testing and the time came to get his license. Long lines at the DMV is nothing new along with the wait but finally “Bingo!” your number is called and he stepped up to the window. As his eyes were tested and questions regarding organ donation, voter registration, and others were asked and answered, one question stood out and begged for further explanation and clarity. “Do you want to sign up for the Selective Service?” He paused with that look that revealed a lack of understanding so it was explained that if the draft was to be instituted that is where the names are generated from. He answered confidently and patriotically, “Yes.” But the question begged another from his parent standing by, “Excuse me but what if he had said ‘no’, wouldn’t he still be signed up?” The woman behind the desk hesitantly stated, “Yes.” Looking for much needed clarity in the fog of confusion the question and answer were pursued further, “So you asked him if he wanted to be included or not but whether he said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ he was going to be signed up?” “Yes”, she said in a rather solemn tone. “So let me make sure I have this correct. If he said ‘no’ he was signed up and if he said ‘yes’ he was signed up but you have to ask in order for him to think he has the freedom to choose?” “Why are you so interested in this?“ she asked rather defensively. “Well as a Lutheran preacher I’m thinkin’ this might be the best living example of the bondage of the will and the falsely claimed free will of the sinner that I have ever experienced!” She nodded, though a bit confused. “So it is the law and the fulfillment of the law that you ask but the answer doesn’t matter, his name is in the book regardless, right?” “Correct”, then she smiled long passed the irritation and defensiveness and shared my enjoyment, savoring the absurdity of the moment.

The “Reformation” some 500 years ago took up this forever debate of the so called “free will” head-on. Luther determined,more accurately, that we should refer to our will as “bound”... the bondage of the will. We are prisoners of the self and its ‘ishness’(as I would call it). Luther emphatically pronounced the bondage of the will and the fallacy of the free will based on the Word of God alone. He faithfully proclaimed the free will of the Father to save a sinner like you by giving over His only begotten Son so we could see just how bound we are to sin. Luther dismissed every attempt to allow the sinner in us all to think that we are free to choose God, Jesus, good, faith or anything else of eternal significance. We are bound to choose against God, Jesus, good, and faith if left to our own devices. The “cross” is all we need as the proverbial ‘pudding of proof.’

According to the Word and resoundingly repeated by Luther and the reformers: Freedom isn’t the lack of bondage it is being bound to the One. Thinking that your freedom is being able to make your own choices, do your own thing and be free of restrictions and limits is bondage. It is slavery. . . to the self. When one extends this definition of so called freedom onto eternity and matters of salvation then you are engaged in the one, the only, primary sin, the sin of all sins. Declaring oneself god over life now and forever. The final authority. The decider, the chooser, the elector, the selector. Pretending to be god, desiring to be god knowing all things even the knowledge of good and evil is nothing new. It is as old as the apple, the tree, the garden, a man, a woman and the serpent. There is nothing new about your self-declaration of free will. It is as old as sin itself. It is “sin” impure and simple.

Thank God for His own brand of “selective service” for you have been ‘selected to serve’ and bound to the One who chose you, not the other way around. So ‘go and do,’ doing it freely with no strings attached, cross in hand, as you are dragged along by Your Savior to do His work. His choice. He is bound to have you His Way . . . which is the only Way.

So do you want to sign up for His ‘selective service’? What a joke! Like there is a choice to be made! You’ve been drafted, you’ve been selected, you’ve been chosen, you’ve been enlisted to serve now and dwell with Him forever. Your name is on the ‘selected’ list. It was bound to happen. . . so to speak.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear good fruit—fruit that will last” _John 15:16