R .C. Sproul: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Will

How do we reconcile the fact that God is sovereign with the fact that he has given us free will as persons?

I don’t see any problem in reconciling the sovereignty of God with man’s free will as long as we understand the biblical concept of freedom. With respect to mankind, human beings are given the ability to make free choices, but our freedom is a limited freedom. We are not absolutely free. Remember, God said to Adam and Eve, “You may eat of all of the trees in the Garden.” But then he added a restriction: “Of this tree you may not eat. If you do, you will surely die.” Now, God is a being who has the ability to make free choices, and I am a being who has the ability to make free choices. The difference, however, is that I am not sovereign. God is sovereign. God has more authority than I do. God has the right and the power and the authority to do whatsoever he pleases. I have the power and the ability and the freedom to do those things that I can do, but my freedom can never override the power or the authority of God. My freedom is always limited by the higher freedom of God. What is a contradiction is God’s sovereignty and human autonomy. Autonomy means that man can do whatever he wants without being worried about judgment from on high. Obviously those two are incompatible, and we do not believe that man is autonomous. We say that he is free, but his freedom is within limits, and those limits are defined by the sovereignty of God. This is a simple analogy: In my house I have more freedom than my son. We both have freedom, but mine is greater.

How do we reconcile the fact that God is sovereign with the fact that he has given us free will as persons? , Copyright 2009 by R .C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries


John MacArthur: Twin Truths, God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

Great sermon on God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of us humans. Great illustration and explanation of the Word of God. Putting these two parallel lines into place.

John 3:11-21
11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you[a] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[b] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in himmay have eternal life.[c]

16 “For God so loved the world,[d] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

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R. C. Sproul: When Towers Fall

by  (Ligonier.org)

When a catastrophe happens in our world, it is virtually certain that a question will come up: “Where was God?” People always seem to question how a good God could allow a terrible thing to happen.

The same question came up in Jesus’ time, as we see from an incident recorded in Luke’s Gospel:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (13:1–5)

Some people asked Jesus a question about an atrocity that had occurred at the hands of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. It seems that some people who were in the midst of worship were massacred by Pilate’s soldiers. The people who came to Jesus were troubled about this and asked Him how God could have allowed it to happen to His chosen people.

Jesus answered their question with a question: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?” This response shows us that those who brought the original question to Jesus were assuming that all the suffering that people endure in this world is proportionately related to their degree of sinfulness, an idea that remains pervasive today.

Of course, suffering and death came into this world in the first place because of sin. So, Jesus’ questioners were correct in assuming that there is a connection between moral evil and physical suffering. But Jesus took that opportunity to remind them that we cannot leap to the conclusion that all people suffer in direct proportion to their degree of sin.

The Bible makes this point very clearly. It shows that the wicked sometimes prosper and the righteous sometimes suffer deeply. The book of Job especially belies the idea of a proportionate relationship between sin and suffering by showing that even though Job was the most upright man in the world, he was visited with untold misery, and then had to endure the questioning of his “friends,” who assumed he must have fallen into terrible sin.

Thus, when Jesus asked His disciples: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?” the answer was obvious. No, they were not worse sinners than anyone else. Jesus wanted to get the idea of a proportionate connection between sin and suffering out of the disciples’ minds lest they think that they were better people in God’s sight because they had not suffered and died. So, He warned them: “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

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R.C. Sproul: Free Will and Divine Sovereignty

Lecture 2, Free Will and Divine Sovereignty :

Some well-meaning pastors have tried to explain that within God’s sovereignty, there is a place where He chooses not to exercise His power. That place, according to some, is man’s free will. That explanation simply won’t do. So how do we understand the relationship between free will and divine sovereignty? Considering this in this message, Dr. Sproul warns us of some of the errors created when people try to explain the mysterious relationship of “Free Will and Divine Sovereignty.”