The sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man is one of the most controversial topics in the church.  Many verses in the scriptures indicate that people are responsible to accept Christ as their savior.  We read of the responsibility of man to choose the Lord in verses like 1 Timothy 2:4 which says that the Lord, “…will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  We read in 2 Peter 3:9 that, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  We see the Lord Jesus lamenting over His rejection in Luke 13:34, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and YE WOULD NOT!”  We see the wrath of God being poured out “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8)  Those who refuse to accept the Lord as their savior will perish.

Yet, we read of the sovereignty of God in Ephesians 1:4 that, “…he hath CHOSEN US IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”  After Paul preached the Gospel in Acts 13:48, we read that, “…as many as were ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE believed.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13 tells us, “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”  For one more example, let’s read Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did PREDESTINATE TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON…”

There are many other verses that speak of these things in scripture.  How are we to understand these things?  Most people tend to accept one of these thoughts above the other.  May we strive not to be guilty of that!  May we learn to accept that the Lord is so much greater than we are, that we simply cannot understand all there is to know about Him.  In Isaiah 55:9 we read, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  In some things, we just do not possess the capacity to understand all the Lord’s ways.  We must simply believe His Word and trust Him.

The truth of the sovereignty of God is really ‘family business.’  It belongs to those who are saved.  When we present the Gospel, we do not talk about this; we talk about man’s responsibility to accept Christ as their savior.  To the unsaved man, we assure him that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”  (1 Corinthians 15:3)  We remind the lost soul of John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  We encourage him to put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, we know that man, left to himself, would NEVER believe on the Lord Jesus.  It takes the supernatural work of God to draw a man to Himself.  The Lord Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…”  Without the sovereignty of God working in a sinner’s heart, there is no desire AT ALL for him to come to the Lord.  Romans 3:11 says plainly, “There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God.”  So, it is proper that after one has put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that we expose him to that wonderful ‘family truth’ that tells us that it was not mere happenstance that we came to accept the Lord.  It was not because we are smarter than some others that we came to the Lord.  Before coming to Christ, there was NO GOOD in us.  NONE at all.  We come to the Lord because of His incredible love and mercy that DRAWS us to repent and put our faith in the Lord Jesus.

To the one who has put his faith in the Lord Jesus, we rejoice in the truth that “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me…” (John 6:37a).  To the one that we are sharing the Gospel with, we assure him that “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37b)

How do I reconcile these two points?  I don’t!  I believe both because the Bible teaches both.  I believe that one day the Lord will explain the complexity of these truths to us and we will fall on our knees in worship to the One who turned us from being dead in sin, to being alive in Christ.  Read Ephesians 2:4-10.  (217.10)