Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Questions on the Sovereignty of God, Part 3

Last Sunday I preached another message focusing on God's Sovereignty and Human Freedom. I addressed the two questions below, and have included a brief answer here to provoke your thinking. For more, listen to the message.

When God gives us the gift of faith, is it possible to reject it? Because if we can't reject it once he offers it to us, then we never really had a choice, right?
Is it possible to reject God's gift of faith? Romans 8:29-30 makes it clear that if God predestines you to be saved and calls you to salvation (i.e. gives you the gift of faith), then you will not resist. So, no, it is not possible to reject God's gift of faith. But does this mean we do not have a legitimate choice? You see, in the act of regeneration (Titus 3:5, Eph. 2:4, John 3:3), when God gives us the gift of faith, He changes our hearts to want Him. God helps us to see that Jesus is worth it and that we need Him. So that a heart changed by God will always choose God. This is what God does to us - He changes our heart to want to choose Him. We do make a legitimate choice to trust Christ as our Savior, but it is because God has changed our heart and given us the ability to believe.

Why should I care about my choices if God ultimately decides?
You should care for three reasons. First, God holds us accountable for our choices. He always treats us as morally responsible for every action we make (2 Cor. 5:10). In addition, our family and the people around us also hold us accountable because our decisions affect them. I can't just sit at home every day, all day watching TV and eating Hot Pockets without serious repercussions to myself and my family!

Second, we must realize that God uses our choices to accomplish His will. Or to say it another way, God directs the means as well as the ends. He directs the outcome of all things, but also the way all things will happen. And our choices are a part of the way God makes things happen. Two perfect examples of this are prayer and evangelism. Prayer is the means God uses to accomplish His will on this earth. That is why Paul, the biggest proponent of the sovereignty of God so diligently prayed for all the churches he planted. He prayed that people would be saved. He prayed for God to grant wisdom. God uses your choice to pray to accomplish His good purposes. Evangelism, sharing your faith with others, is the means God uses to bring about salvation in those who hear (Rom. 10:14-17). We can't just say that God is sovereign, so if He wants people saved they will get saved regardless of our actions. No, He uses our choice to share the Gospel as the means of bringing them to faith in Jesus Christ. All this to say, we better care about our choices because they are the means God uses to accomplish His will.

Finally, choosing to follow God and obey Him is just a better way to live. We can think that as finite, limited humans we can figure life out on our own. We can do our own thing, live without accountability (for a time anyway), and act like our choices don't matter. Or, we can look to our Creator and seek to follow His direction for our life. And since He is the One who created life that's always the best way to go.

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