Friday, December 7, 2012

Divine sovereignty and human responsibility

One of the most difficult doctrines the Bible teaches is that both divine sovereignty and human responsibility are true.

God knows his children and predestined them - for salvation into his family.
And unless God draws men, they cannot come to God. (John 6:44). That is they are incapable of coming to God in an out of themselves. Therefore, he ordains whom he saves and whom he does not (Romans 9:13: "Jacob I loved Esau I have hated").

In our postmodern culture, even evangelicals struggle with this, because how can humans be made responsible when God ordains whom he saves or not? Does he even condemn people to hell? This concept is called double predestination and his taught nowhere in the Bible, although some conclude it is the logical conclusion of God's providence.
What we do know however is that God's grace encompasses those whom he predestined according to his how will and glory. J.I. Packer says that an antinomy holds true since God created humans as moral agents - that is: they are capable of making moral decisions. 
Therefore the natural man is culpable because he chooses to sin freely, to hate God according to his own free will and degree and to freely reject the Gospel. Telling a totally depraved sinner about God is crying out a warning that this person is running in pit of fire. But it is the sinner who keeps on going. And it is him that finally ignores the warning by refusing to listen! A sinner is not foreced into the pit by some other third party. We should never forget that as fallen sinners we deserve death as God is holy, righteous and good. So even if he chooses no one, he is just.

We need to keep in mind that God is sovereign, Man is not. If Man were, and God was not, God would not be almighty but just a spectator watching humans decisions and actully submitting to them. Even if we follow the Arminian argument that he grants to those the necessary saving grace who will choose him, having foreseen this, we still have to ask the question: If God is omniscient - that is: he is not subject to time, he would know who will choose him or not. Therefore, giving birth to those who would not choose him is the same as ordaining everything. Also, by foreseeing the future back in eternity time, by seeing the future is the same as allowing it, which equals to God's providence.

Let us not discount the grace of God, who saves and redeems men who genuinely believe in the atonement of Christ (Christ alone) and the benefits of justification. And that is by faith alone, by grace alone given to us by scripture alone so that we may glorify him alone (Soli deo gloria). 

And that free gift (Ephesians 2.8) is that saved and redeemed men are choosing God freely after they have been regenerated, but cannot choose God prior to being generated. Their will is in bondage unless God draws them. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is given at the moment of regeneration - or rebirth in Christ. Our job as christians is to go out and preach the Gospel as faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17)

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