Is God sovereign or do we have free will
Written by Robert Groover on May 2, 2018
When people think about free will, thoughts go to salvation. Not so much the everyday actions and movements in our lives. Many are more concerned with “who” is in control of their eternal destiny.
When we have a discussion or try to understand free will, we have to understand the nature of man. And acknowledge and admit the limitations of man. We are bound by that nature and limitations that surround our lives. People say we are 100 percent free but, I can will to jump 20 feet in the air. I can desire this, pursue this but the truth is I am nothing more than a man and cannot jump 20 feet in the air.
Similar to a prisoner in a cell. He may desire and will to walk mile after mile in the fresh clean free air. But his cell has limits through the walls and bars. We are in the same position because of the fall of man. The corruption of sin has us prisoners in a cell. We are limited in our choices because our heart is deceitful, evil and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Some would argue that we are not responsible because of the fall of man was not our choice. However, we are responsible for our actions. The sin may have us as a prisoner but it is the choices that we made (Romans 6:23; Romans 9:19-21).
It is similar to being born into a single parent home, poor with little education and all the bad breaks. It is the choices made afterward that matter. We can choose to study, work hard and change the position that we are in. These are worldly choices and daily living, but we are still spiritually dead. Romans 8:6-7 says we are at war with God because we do not submit to God or His laws. Scripture is clear that we are not able in choosing to be good or Holy. By our nature, it is impossible for us to make this choice. We are constrained to the cell of sin.
How then can we be saved? Ephesians 2:1 explains the process, we were dead (a prisoner) in trespasses and sin; but He made us alive. Through Christ, we are made us alive and free from the bondage. A dead man cannot make himself alive. He lacks the ability and power, he is bound by nature and his own limitations. No one (except One, Jesus) has ever resurrected himself. Scripture is very clear that Jesus called them out of their graves.
We lack that ability to rise out of sin, so Jesus acts (Rom 5:8). Jesus holds the keys to death (Rev 1:18) Jesus will set the prisoners free and carry them on high (Ps 68:18; Eph 4:8).
He sovereignly chose to send His Son to the cross to redeem us from sin. This was not due to any action we have done or our love for Him but His love for us (1 John 4:10) This act created grace and mercy and is a free gift to whom God has chosen. All of this was decided before the “foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). Why this way? Eph 1:5-6 scripture shows this is for the Glory of God. We cannot know who God has chosen to release from the prison of sin, but we can only trust that God is in control. We are to present the gospel to everyone and leave the rest to God.