God's Sovereignty versus Man's Free Will

By Mary Kroeger

As Christians, we are happy to proclaim the sovereignty of God, and then, unknowingly also disclaim it. Have you ever thought of what God's sovereignty consists of? It consists of His ability to keep His promises and to do whatever he wills to do. If the devil or humanity or any other creature or power can stop Him from keeping His promises or from accomplishing His will, then God is no longer sovereign. Unbelievers often ask, "If God is sovereign can He make a rock so big that He is unable to lift it?" Those who know their God, know that He does not indulge in such foolishness. He only does what is right!

So let's look at some of the things that God has revealed in regard to His will for humanity.

Before God fashioned Adam out of the dust of the ground, He said, "Let us make man in our image." God is spirit, so an image of Him has to be a spiritual image. Adam was not a spiritual image of God; he was only an earthy image of God for he was formed of dust. The fulfillment of that purpose came in Jesus Christ!

Did God say that in the process of making that image, there would be a lot of failures, and that all the failures would have to be scrapped and be thrown alive into an eternal fire where they would burn forever? Should God not have warned Adam and told him that the horrible consequence of disobedience was an eternal existence in the fire of hell? If that were the case, should God not have explained it to him? God did warn Adam and told him that disobedience would result in death. Does God have failures? If He does, He is not a sovereign God! If the devil can stop God from keeping His promises and from doing His will, then the devil is stronger than God. It's so sad that many think he is!

To Adam God said, "If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will die." He did not say that Adam would be cast into an eternal fire if he disobeyed God. If that were the case, God should have warned him of that. God said Adam would die if he ate of the forbidden fruit. This came to pass as God said it would! Adam died spiritually the day he ate of it, and many years later he died physically.

Adam's spiritual death consisted of a separation from the life of God. Separation from life is called death. Before Adam sinned, he had a good relationship with God. His disobedience brought him into the death realm. Since there is no death in God, a separation had to take place. God continued to love him and care for him, but Adam's understanding of God had changed. He now considered God to be his enemy, and therefore he hid from God. The glory of God that had surrounded him disappeared, and he suddenly recognized his nakedness, and tried to cover it with the work of his own hands (self-effort for righteousness), and religion came into being. Did God fail? No, for this is not the end of the story!

In the New Testament we read that death is the last enemy that will be destroyed. If there is no more death, can death still exist in some kind of form? Everyone enters this world dead in his trespasses and sins, so death exists in all humanity. The only way we can get out of death is by receiving the life of Christ. Being raised out of death into life is called resurrection. Jesus is the resurrection and the life! Our new birth by the Spirit of God brings us into life and resurrection. Since death exists in unbelievers (the carnal mind is death - Rom. 8:6), is it possible that there are still unbelievers in the lake of fire (hell is cast into the lake of fire) or in the universe when death is destroyed, and death no longer exists? In other words, can death (i.e. the carnal mind), still exist somewhere in the universe, under the earth or in heaven, when God says it will be destroyed? Can the lake of fire (God's spiritual consuming fire that does away with all carnality) actually do away with all the carnality of all unbelievers?

The scriptures declare that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world! Is God's power great enough to fulfill His desire to produce repentance in everyone and save everyone? Is Christ able to subject all things to Him self and then hand it all over to the Father as we read in 1 Cor. 15? Is He able to do what He has declared He will do? Or is Adam's disobedience greater than Christ's obedience? In Romans 5 we read that Christ's obedience is greater!

Yet the organized church teaches that Adam's disobedience is greater, and that only a fraction of humanity will be saved and "go to heaven after they die."

What is the answer that the organized church gives? It says that of course God is strong enough, but He has given man a free will, and because He is such a gentleman, He will not override man's free will. Therefore, man's free will overrides God's sovereignty and prohibits Him from saving everyone! This puts man's free will in a realm so high that it obstructs God's ability to do His will. If this were true, God would no longer be sovereign.

Do you think God is so foolish that He would give humanity a power that could override His power? What nonsense! We have an all-wise God! So we ask, "Did God give man a free will?" Is there a scripture verse that substantiates this? We read that the Israelites were to offer some free will offerings, but nowhere does it say that Adam was given a free will.

What does a free will consist of? A free will is a will that cannot be influenced. It is free to do whatever it wants to do. Nothing can influence it to do evil or to do good. In Rom. 7 Paul declares that he cannot do what he wants to do. We know that our very first parents, Adam and Eve, were influenced by the serpent while they were still living in the garden. Since they were not given a free will, why should we think we have one?

We recognize that we do have a will - a very strong self-will that wants to do its own will! But it is not free. It bows to the allurements that promise to fulfill the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life! Business companies realize this and are therefore willing to spend a lot of money on advertising.

Does God influence us?

When Christ appeared to Saul (Paul) on the way to Damascus, was he influenced by Christ? He surely was for he became a changed man! What about you and me? Were we not changed when the grace of God appeared to us and we became new creations in Christ? We are not save by our own works, for then we would have something to boast about! We are saved by God's grace! It is only through God's initiative that we can receive His grace! Read Ephesians chapter 2 and meditate on it, and let the truth bless you!

God is the initiator in binging us to Himself through Christ! In John 6:44 Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him..." Jn. 6:65 says, "... no one can come to Me unless the Father enables him." We can fully trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into the obedience of faith in Christ!

One error leads to more errors. Believing that we have a free will, and that we can make a right decision to follow Jesus without the work of the Holy Spirit, leads to self-righteousness, and a wrong understanding of who our wonderful Savior God is. On the one hand we say that God loves us unconditionally, and on the other hand we say that if we don't believe in Him when we take our last breath, His love becomes conditional. His love turns to wrath, and He becomes a monster who is obligated to punish and torture the unbelieving. Since God never changes, that thinking does not come from God. It is a lie straight from the devil's mouth!

We need to remember that all of God's disciplines are redemptive! We have received a message of an eternal hell because of faulty translations, and because people interpret the scriptures with their carnal minds - and the natural mind CANNOT receive the things of the Spirit of God! (1 Cor. 2:14) We need to grow in the true revelation of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus! As we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us, we will see how God works out His plan for the of creation of a new humanity in Christ! This new humanity has the life of God - a life that has been birthed out of an incorruptible seed, and therefore has no corruption in it - nor can it receive any corruption!

It is a life that has the same qualities that God has. Actually it is birthed out of the very essence of His love and righteousness! This is the new man, the corporate man that the Man Christ Jesus is! He is the spiritual image of God, and we have been placed in Him and He in us! God is sovereign, and He is able to do what He has said He will do!

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