OK, I warned you this week might get deep. forgot to mention controversial! I’m going to be sharing what Father is teaching me as I study His word. You may exercise your free will to skip this post, but I’d love to hear your opinions!
It’s probably one of the most hotly contested issues among Christians and non-believers alike. Protesting a lack of free will is often sited as a reason not to believe in Jesus. No one wants to be told what to do, given a list of 10 commandments or told that disobedience spells eternal doom.
Christians argue about who chose who. Did God elect those whom He would save, or does each one have free will do chose or deny God.
Does God’s choosing eliminate free will?
Is God unfair by choosing some and not others?
Does God’s presumed unfairness make Him less loving and less good?
Sticky stuff. Until recently, I hummed quietly in the background when these conversa
Well, I can’t hang out on the sidelines anymore. It’s time to defend the sovereignty of the God I love and know and worship. Honestly, if He is not the sovereign God I believe Him to be, if He really handed fate’s reigns over to his own creatures, then I can’t devote myself to Him heart and soul. I might as well make my own way and be my own god.
HUMANS HAVE FREE WILL. The problem is that our will is only against God and against righteousness. Always, no exception.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Romans 3:10-12
That’s the long and the short of it. Sure, not everyone is as evil as he can possibly be. That’s not what total depravity means. Total depravity means that all of us, from our very core to our smallest appendage is bent toward evil. And if you don’t want to qualify yourself as evil, you can certainly understand that you are less that perfect. And perfect is what God requires. Short of absolute equivalency to God’s righteous standard, we are evil.
Consider: the Fahrenheit temperature required to freeze water is an indisputable 32 degrees. It doesn’t matter if your nose is frostbitten and you can’t move your lips. It doesn’t matter if schools are closed and everyone tells you, “It’s freezing outside.” Anything short of 32 degrees is not freezing. There is an absolute standard and anything, no matter how legitimately, unreasonably cold, just won’t cut it.
So, even if you choose a pro-life stance, you give generously to charities, you are kind to every stranger and never speed, and never raise your voice – you still fall short of the absolute standard of perfection set by an uncompromising God. You cannot will yourself to achieve that righteous standard. Given his own free will, every single man without exception will spend eternity in hell.
So here’s where I land. God created man in His image. He gave us free will and we proved that our free will would chose our own appetites over God’s commands. God’s justice demanded death for our insolence. God’s mercy sent Jesus to pay that debt. God did chose who would chose Him.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27
It’s a tough pill to swallow. God knowingly, willingly allows people to chose their own appetites even though He could change the rules? change their choices? change their behavior? It’s not unfair. God is fully merciful and fully just. Some receive His mercy for their sins, some receive His justice for their disobedience. Neither receives injustice.
Yes, God is Sovereign. One definition of Sovereignty is: Indisputable. We cannot argue with His truth anymore than we can argue with 32 degrees.
A very helpful resource for understanding this doctrine, an element of Reformed Theology, is R.C. Sproul’s teaching series, “What is Reformed Theology?”