New Testing Phase

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Problem With Free Will vs Sovereignty

 

crown and scepterThe problem with the freewill vs sovereignty debate is that it is mistitled. You see, the bible presents both ideas, freewill (Gen 2:16-17) and sovereignty (Eph 1:11; Acts 4:24; 1Tim 6:15; Rev 6:10 et al.) are presented in scripture.

Then how should we understand the balance between the two, how do they work and how can conflict be resolved?

The problem as I see it, is that there has to be something sovereign in the universe. Some might say it is luck or chance, or even mother nature, which has ultimate control over what happens in the universe. Up there with that list is free will. I discovered this recently when talking through the issue with a couple of Arminian friends. Their perspective was that God was in control of everything, except over the free will of man.

This is a problem, because it puts God in a box that He doesn’t put Himself into, limiting His power and ability to save anyone. This is bad news for us because the bible says that:

  1. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), under God’s judgment (Acts 17:31) and deserving going to hell (Rev 20:15)
  2. We, as unbelievers, hate God (John 8:44), are at war with him (Rom 8:7), and neither can nor will seek to believe in Him (Rom 3:10-19)

So basically, if the choice was left up to us, we would all, and without exception be in hell, we wouldn’t choose God, why would we, He is the enemy.

But thanks be to God, who did not leave us in that state, but chose to rescue us from our plight. Romans 5:8  “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. How precious is that phrase “but God”

What I am going to say next may be painful for some of you, it may cut right to the heart of what you believe. But I believe it is a lie, and needs to be exposed: Ultimately what it boils down to is this, those who was to say free will trumps sovereignty are believing the Devil’s lie from the garden “you shall be like God” (Gen 3:5). This is because they are uncomfortable with the idea that God CAN actually override their will, yes I said it, God can take over and your will plays no part in what happens next, He has complete control over all things, including our salvation, the if, the how and the when.

What then of free will? How does it come into play? The question is important because in this day of decisional regeneration (a false teaching) it affects the gospel, and how it is presented. This is how free will fits in:

A person is going along, he or she is, as described above, willingly against God. Then, someone presents the Gospel to him or her is some why. God, having predestined this onthrone2e, causes the person to be regenerated, born again. This may happen immediately or many years down the line, but God always uses the means of the preaching of the Gospel to bring a person to regeneration. AFTER the person has been born again, he responds willingly to the Gospel commands, namely to repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ. At this point, his or her redeemed will is now bent to go all out for God, to obey Him, and to follow Him wherever He may lead.

Do you see that a person has free will, but it is completely bent either away from God, (when unregenerate) or towards God (when regenerated). But at the point of change, God usurps the person’s will in order to change its bent.

Philippians 2:12-13:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

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