Sovereignty and Will

God is sovereign.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” God is sovereign–He is in control. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Yet even in this description of God’s sovereignty, mankind’s responsibility is affirmed as the Psalmist wrote: “O Israel, trust in the LORD” (Psalm 115:9, 10, 11). How is God sovereign and mankind free?

Mankind has the opportunity to choose and often we often feel the weight of that responsibility.God created mankind in his own image (Genesis 1:27) with some ability to choose. Adam and Eve were told not to choose the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  In Acts 15:22 the Christians chose men to send with Paul and Barnabas.

How do we reconcile the sovereignty of God and the freedom of mankind? Mankind, like God, has a will. This does not mean that mankind is totally free.  There are things we cannot do. We cannot fly. We cannot turn our heads completely around. We cannot do several things we would like to do.

Genesis 50:20 presents a helpful situation for our understanding this situation. Joseph tells his brothers who had sold him into slavery, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” God was working through the decisions of mankind. God’s sovereignty is affirmed. Mankind’s freedom is affirmed. Yet God in his omniscience and omnipotence works to achieve his purposes.

Will we choose to say, “not my will, but Thine be done?” Freedom of the will is no longer something I desire. Instead, I pray my will to be lost in my Father’s will–Matthew 6:10.

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