Just thinking about God’s sovereignty and our free will can make your head spin. There is a deep, unsolvable mystery here, the kind that split Christians right down the middle throughout church history. Happily, it is a far easier riddle to live with than to resolve. Basically, sovereignty and free will has two sides, or perspectives: the view from earth and the view of heaven.
1) The earthly view. When it comes to assigning blame you have to acknowledge free will. You have it. Others have it. So do the demons and Satan. God is NEVER the instigator or Author of anything evil. It bubbles up from us down here. We’re the ones making the wrong choices and creating all the unpleasant consequences.
2) The heavenly view. When it comes to being grateful, however, you need to cheerfully acknowledge God’s sovereignty. Every good thing is a gift from Him. And every bad thing is being made to work for your good, for the greater good and for His glory. There is never a moment when you can’t be insanely grateful! (“Insane” only in the sense that it makes no worldly sense, though it is true heavenly wisdom to thank God for all things and in all things.)
What’s Going On Down Here?
The devil and his dark kingdom are doing evil in thought, word and deed 24/7. Many earthlings are also ripping up the fabric of life like there’s no Tomorrow. Even those of us who are seriously trying to eliminate evil and do only good are, nevertheless, having to go to the Lord for mercy daily. All of us are contributing to the full measure of things that are not good.
Yet, His sovereign rule over all thoughts, all words and all deeds is thoroughly wise and wonderful. Amazingly, no one’s free will is enslaved to His own, yet His purposes will always triumph in every life committed to His loving care. Billions of angels and all the redeemed in heaven never cease to praise Him for the goodness and power of the One who “sits on the throne.”
It’s up to us to choose to step over into heaven’s greater Light and open our eyes by faith to see that our incomparable Sovereign never makes a mistake in what He allows free will to do. It matters not whether it’s our own twisted version of it (bent to favor our self centeredness) or the demons’ totally depraved use of it (in unbending opposition to God). God will have His way.
Sovereignty and Free Will Imperatives
Here are the two divine imperatives that surround our condition:
1) Free will has to be allowed, otherwise there is no possibility of genuine love and life.
2) The effects of free will have to be over-turned, otherwise evil would forever stain our joy.
It has taken me a very long time to “get” this. Even so, I still tend (all too easily) to step out of heaven’s Light into the shadows of doubt and fear, complaint and bitterness. Thank God, it is getting much easier to acknowledge His perfect love and unchanging goodness! Gratitude, like sunlight surrounding a shadow, is only a step away…
For more on God’s sovereignty and our free will please see “Truth or Consequences” at our website.