The Sovereign God Gives Us Choice
October 31, 2010
God is sovereign. This means He is the supreme and ultimate Ruler over the entire universe and beyond. He reigns over all the affairs of men, over the beasts, over weather, over circumstances, and over all the good and evil principalities of the spiritual realm. Knowing all things past, present, and future, He retains the right to wield this sovereign power of His whenever He chooses. However, He also retains the right to allow men to reap what they sow. (Gal. 6:7) In other words, God can intervene and changes situations, outcomes, and hearts, or He can allow the gift He’s given of freedom of choice to trump His will.
Not convinced? Then let’s go to God’s Word for doctrine:
Isa. 45:7 — “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”
Lam. 3:37,38 — “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?”
Amos 3:6 — “When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?”
Ex. 4:11 — “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who give him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”
Dan. 4:32 — “… the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes.”
Dan. 4:26 — “[You must] acknowledge that Heaven rules.”
Dan. 2:21 — “He [God] sets up kings and deposes them.”
Prov. 21:1 — “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.”
Prov. 21:30 — “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.”
Ps. 99:1 — “The LORD reigns…”
Okay, I could go on. But the point is made: The LORD God is the Supreme Ruler over His universe and all that goes on in it. So now we ask, “Does this mean the teachers of Calvinism are correct? Does this mean that God has predestined some people to go to Hell and others to be saved? Does this mean that God preordains (decrees ahead of time) everything that happens? Are all events (and choices) orchestrated at His command? Are all hearts and minds, words and actions, subject to His predestined decisions? If God is The Sovereign over the universe and every minute detail, then are we merely robots?”
Let’s look at some more of God’s Word –and just on the subject of salvation:
1 Tim. 2:5,6 — “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men.”
1 John 2:2 — “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
2 Cor. 5:15 — “He died for all…”
John 12:32 — “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that upon dying on the cross, He enacted an automatic drawing (wooing) of all people to Himself. Therefore, not only is the ransom paid, but there is a supernatural draw from the Spirit –an invitation and a wooing– for all men. And why does God offer this? –Because He wants ALL to be saved.)
1 Tim. 2:3,4 — “[Holiness] pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
2 Peter 3:9 — “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
I could go on again, but let’s now ask the obvious: “If Jesus paid everyone’s ransom and God wants no one to perish, and God is sovereign, then why are many not coming to Christ, following Him, or obeying Him? And why do so many go on in their willful, rebellious ways, with Hell as their eternal destination?”
The answer is much more simple than Calvinists want to make it. Indeed, they cannot come to the Truth because they cannot submit their high-mindedness to The Counselor, nor toss out their worldly wisdom. Jesus says very clearly in Matt. 18:3, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” These “philosophers” and “theologians” will never enter into Truth until they change –change their minds to accept what God’s Spirit through God’s Word is saying!
But, for the rest of us who listen to God as a trusting child does, let’s reconcile the above verses. First, has God given mankind the gift of free choice? The answer is very clear throughout Scripture as it gives commands to obey, choose, follow, turn, listen, etc. God does not command us to choose to do these things or not do these things if He is really not giving us the choice. We can go all the way back to Gen. 2 & 3 and see this simple truth –that even a small child can see. For example in Gen. 1:16 where God says, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” This is not a hard thing to understand. It’s a simple warning, but it is also the obvious gift of choice –being given to mankind by the Sovereign God.
Unfortunately, the choice to rebel was the choice made, and ever since, every single one of us have the same two choices: Turn to God, or rebel against God. And it continues to be our daily choice.
So, if God is sovereign, yet God has chosen to restrict Himself in order to allow men freedom of choice, what is it that causes Him to often intervene and change situations, kingdoms, and hearts? Answer (besides His own sovereign choice): Asking Him to do so. Simple. Because, besides the gift of choice, and among many wonderful gifts the Lord has given us, we have been given the gift of intercession –His Spirit in us helping us intercede for others, as well as for ourselves. We can ask. We can reason with Him. We can petition, praise, fast, and cry out. We can obey, we can serve, we can worship, we can kneel, we can clap, shout, sing, weep… and quote His Word’s promises back to Him. We’ve been given His power within us, His Spirit, and we can fight off, with spiritual weapons, the enemy who also wants to intervene.
God’s Spirit in us, and God’s Word and promises in us, can absolutely defeat the enemy –whether it be human or of the invisible realm. But what main thing enables us to put all our weapons to use? It’s our faith. For it’s our faith that extinguishes “all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16), and which overcomes the world (1 John 5:4) –both worlds. (Eph. 6:12 & 1 John 4:3,4 & 2 Cor. 10:4,5) “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6), for without faith it is impossible to choose the way of strength, righteousness, truth, and life. Because faith is about behavior –actions, thoughts, and words. (James 1:8,22,23,26 & 2:17-24)
Why does so much depend on our faith? Why is the moving of mountains contingent upon our faith? Why are we (and others) healed and delivered and saved based upon our faith? Why are circumstances and hearts changed “according to His power that is at work within us”? (Eph. 3:20) –That power which is enacted by our faith? Why does God act on behalf of those who seek Him, petition Him, hope in Him, and wait for His intervention? –Why?
Answer: Because the Sovereign God has decreed that His sovereignty work together with our faith –the choices we make based upon that faith (–or lack thereof.)
It’s really a very simple answer. An answer even a child can understand.