Free Will And His Sovereignty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hi D____,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to that posting concerning God’s sovereignty over our choices.
You are exactly right when you assume that I too, struggled to come to see and accept the plain Biblical teaching that “it is God who works within us both to” give us our will, and to cause us to do everything we do “after the counsel of His own will”.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

To the natural man it is nothing less than a complete and total contradiction to be told “work out your own salvation because it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”.
It it the same apparent contradiction that Joseph presents to us in explaining to his brothers that their conspiracy to sell him into Egypt, which he twice acknowledges was their doing, was not really their idea, nor their doing at all, but was really God’s working of “His own will”.

Gen 45:4  And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6  For these two years hath the famine [ been] in the land: and yet [ there are] five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7  And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8  So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

What an incredible revelation for all who are given to receive it! “You sold me into Egypt… you sold me here… So now it was not you that sent me here, but God.” The only way to explain such a statement is with, Php 2:12-13, “work out your own salvation because it is God who works in you both to will [ to sell Joseph into Egypt] and to do of His good pleasure [ to sell Joseph into Egypt]”.
King David was inspired to tell us the very same Truth in another way:

Psa 139:16  Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
Psa 139:17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Every day in the life of every man who has ever lived is symbolically “written in God’s book, when as yet there was not one of them”. Yes indeed, ‘How vast is the sum of God’s hard drive’!
I fought against this concept for two long trying years before I was dragged by God’s fiery words to see the depth of the sovereignty of God. To quote a very well known minister who believes that it is God’s sovereignty which has predestined most men to burn in hell for all eternity, “If there is one maverick molecule in the entire universe, then God is not sovereign”. But “the vast sum of God Words” declare that there is not even one maverick molecule in the universe but rather it is “God who is working in us both our will and our doing… and is working all things after the counsel of His own will” (Php 2:12-13 and Eph 1:11).
The whole purpose for all these incredible, incomprehensible declarations of God’s Word is to let us know that while we appear to be free to decide to sell our brother into Egypt and we appear to be free to work out our own salvation, the reality is that it is not of our will, and we have no free will at all, and it is in reality God who is making even the wicked for His purpose, and is creating evil for His own purpose, and working all things after the counsel of His own will.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

So God did not make Adam a perfected man. He made him “wicked for the day of evil” which He had written in Adam’s book before any of Adam’s days were, and Adam appeared to be freely choosing to sin against His creator when the Truth of the matter was that Adam could no more have resisted eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, than a child can resist lying when he is the only person caught in the room with the empty cookie jar.
Adam was not made perfect. He was a made a “very good” natural man, just as the serpent was a “very good” serpent, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a “very good” tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Here is the Biblical truth of How Christ formed Adam and how He has formed all the clay vessels which we all are in Adam:

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Did God tell Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Of course He did, but He did so just so He could have “an occasion against the Philistine” He had created Adam to be.

Jdg 14:3  Then his [ Samson’s] father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
Jdg 14:4  But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the LORD, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

That is what God is doing with all flesh and He plainly tells us it is so in Pro 16:4 quoted above and in this verse of Ecclesiastes:

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens:it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.

God did not ask Adam, “Adam do you choose to be marred in my hand and live a life of evil?” Adam had absolutely no say whatsoever in the matter, and you and I had no say in being placed here in this life either. This life of “an experience of evil” is for the very purpose of demonstrating that we have no free will whatsoever, and to humble us to admit that we are what we are by the grace of God alone.

1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

There it is again, “I labored… yet not I, but… God…”
In conclusion, I think you know that it is not my intention to in any way offend you, but here is how you summarize your understanding of God’s sovereignty”

Then you ask me:

So here you have my thoughts which you have requested, and in summary, I will say that you admit that our free will is “an illusion”, and yet you ask “Does this explain how we have free will and at the same time have no free will at all?” To which I answer, that if you had said ‘Does this explain how we appear to have free will when in reality we have no free will at all”, or if you had said ‘Pharaoh appears to have free will and will ” give an accounting” of the choices he made, just as Joseph’s brothers did”, then I could agree with you. But I cannot agree that Pharaoh had free will, and I cannot agree that he will be “held accountable” for his choices. There is a world of difference between being “held accountable” which words never once appear in scripture, and “giving an accounting” which words do appear repeatedly in scripture. I admit and confess that I taught that very doctrine just a few years ago, until my late brother Steve Morris, demonstrated for me that the English words ‘accountable’ and ‘responsible’ are synonyms, and the Bible nowhere says that any man is either ‘accountable’ or ‘responsible’ for anything he does. What the scriptures do teach is that we, like Joseph’s brothers, will be made to given an accounting of what God had done in our bodies of sinful flesh and blood.
I will close with God’s own explanation of how He is operating the evil He is working in us. He is doing so by a law which He has placed in motion and which He is sustaining, so as to “work all things after the counsel of His own will”. Here is how God causes us to sin and then causes us to give an accounting of what He caused us to do: Again, just as Joseph twice confessed that His brothers had sold him into Egypt, here Paul twice confesses that “It is not I that do it, but sin that dwells within me”.

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [ how] to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

It is “a law that… in me (that is, in my flesh) there is no good thing”, [ and] when I would do good, evil is present with me”. Who made and sustains that ‘law’ which dictates that we will all, by nature, do evil? Here is the Biblical answer:

Jas 4:12  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

So the destruction of our first Adam and the salvation of our second Adam is all accomplished by God’s inexorable law, and through that law of sin and death, He is in the process of destroying our old Adam. Through “Christ in us” He is in the process of saving “all [ who are] in Adam”:

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 4:10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially [ not exclusively, but first] of those that believe.
2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us- ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
1Jn 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

In short, since you did ask for my thoughts, I will tell you that you have a very good grasp on everything except what I too, came to see just in the past few years concerning the difference between giving an account of one’s actions and being held accountable for them. Here is the URL for the exchange between the late Steve Morris and me which God granted me to come to see and to now to share with you and many others.
http:// www. iswasandwillbe. com/ The_ Difference_ Between_ Responsibility_ And_ Giving_ An_ Account. php
Your brother in Christ,
Mike

Other related posts