Sovereign Will of God and the Human Will

In the world of theology, one of the most intriguing and debated topics is the relationship between the Sovereign Will of God and the Human Will. This complex subject touches upon the very essence of our faith and raises numerous questions.

What is the connection between God’s will and our will? How do these two wills interact? Is God’s will always the first in everything? This article delves into these questions and provides a comprehensive understanding of the biblical perspective on the Sovereign Will of God and the Human Will.

God’s Will is Sovereign

The Bible unequivocally establishes that there are two distinct wills at play: the divine will of God and the human will. God’s will is, without a doubt, sovereign. It goes before all other wills, directing and orchestrating every aspect of the universe.

As we explore the Scriptures, we encounter the resounding “I will” of God, the divine spring that initiated the creation of angels and continues to sustain them.

This same “I will” formed the foundation of salvation for a lost world, providing a Redeemer and accomplishing redemption. Every individual’s conversion, every instance of divine intervention, stems from this supreme “I will.” When Jesus healed the leper, He declared, “I will, be thou clean,” highlighting the distinct and pivotal role of God’s will in every act of grace and goodness.

How Does Man Become Willing?

It is essential to acknowledge that in the process of conversion and spiritual growth, the human will plays a role. Man wills to believe, to repent, and to turn from sinful ways. However, beneath this active human will lies a more profound truth—man’s willingness is a result of the divine will of God. Man becomes willing because a superior will, God’s will, encounters and transforms his will.

This transformation is the consequence of God’s initiating work upon the human will, altering its inclination and direction. For man’s will to align with God’s purposes, it must undergo a change initiated by the Creator Himself.

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Does This Make God the Author of Sin?

A natural question arises: Does God’s initiating role in man’s willingness make Him the author of sin?

The answer is a resounding no. God’s will, while originating what is good in man, does not generate evil.

The existence of both a holy and an unholy world attests that God allows evil but is not its author.

Even Christ’s crucifixion, a pivotal event ordained by God, does not implicate Him in the sins of Judas, Herod, or Pilate. Scripture itself underscores this truth, affirming that those who opposed Christ’s mission were “gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done” (Acts 4:28). God’s sovereign will does not compel evil but allows it to fulfill His greater purposes.

How Is Man Made Willing?

Some argue that God works through means and instruments to transform the human will. While these means, such as the Gospel, have their place, they alone cannot alter the unresponsive will of a sinner. The resistance of the human will to the Gospel cannot be overcome solely through persuasive arguments or moral suasion.

The real transformation occurs when God’s divine will directly interacts with man’s will, instigating a change at the core of human nature. The resistant will is set right only when God’s mighty hand intervenes and reorients it towards holiness. The human will, in its fallen state, cannot change itself; it requires the touch of the Divine to become willing.

The Extent of Man’s Enmity To The Truth

It might be tempting to believe that man’s rejection of the Gospel arises from a simple misunderstanding. However, this notion is too simplistic. The unregenerate heart is not merely indifferent to the truth but actively opposed to it. Even when the truth is presented clearly, the unconverted heart resists it, despising its message.

The inherent enmity within the human will makes it hostile to God and His truth. The presentation of the Gospel, no matter how compelling, often intensifies this enmity. Thus, the suggestion that a clear presentation of truth can alone change the human will oversimplifies the complex nature of spiritual transformation.

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How Is Man’s Will To Be Changed?

Man’s enmity toward God, particularly in the context of the Gospel’s message, underscores the need for divine intervention in changing the human will. The mere presentation of truth, even if correctly understood, does not automatically result in a willing embrace of that truth.

The fallen will is inherently set against God’s truth and goodness. To overcome this resistance, God’s sovereign will must directly interact with the human will, effecting a transformation from enmity to love. This transformation is not self-initiated but is a result of God’s divine influence on the will.

Does This Offend Us?

The concept that God’s will precedes and governs all aspects of our lives might be challenging to accept. It humbles us by acknowledging our complete dependence on God’s sovereignty. Yet, this humility aligns with the biblical portrayal of humanity’s relationship with God. Accepting God’s sovereignty does not diminish His love; rather, it reveals the depth of His grace and mercy.

The resistance to this truth often arises from a desire for partial autonomy, a wish to control aspects of our lives independently. Embracing God’s sovereignty means acknowledging that our every movement toward good originates in His divine will.

Is God Sovereign Or Not?

If we accept God’s sovereign control over the significant events in the universe, we must also recognize His sovereignty over the minutest details of our lives. Every decision, every inclination of our will, is subject to God’s governance. In doing so, we find assurance, not restriction.

We realize that God’s will is not a hindrance but a guide, leading us toward His perfect plan. Our wish to have control over the smaller aspects of our lives should not outweigh the comfort of being under the care and guidance of our sovereign Creator.

God Orders The Course Of Our Lives

Consider this: God determined the day of your birth and the day of your death. In the same way, He predetermined your conversion—the moment when you would encounter His saving grace.

God’s sovereign will dictates every significant event in our lives. It is not a mere coincidence that you heard the Gospel and responded to it. God ordained it from the beginning.

Self-will And The Will of God

In the present age, a spirit of self-will is prevalent. The desire for autonomy, for control over our destinies, mirrors the initial rebellion of humanity. This self-will often manifests in theological debates over the concept of free will. We must recognize that this struggle for autonomy is contrary to the essence of our faith. It is essential to understand that our salvation, our transformation, and our journey of faith depend on God’s sovereign will, not our self-determined course.

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Conclusion

In the intricate interplay between the Sovereign Will of God and the Human Will, we find profound theological truths that shape our understanding of faith and salvation. While human will plays a role, it does so under the overarching sovereignty of God’s divine will.

Embracing God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility but highlights our complete dependence on His grace and guidance. As we navigate this theological terrain, let us rest in the assurance that God’s will, far from limiting us, leads us into His perfect plan.

FAQs

1. Is God’s will always sovereign over human will? Yes, according to the biblical perspective presented here, God’s will is sovereign over human will in all aspects of life, including matters of faith and salvation.

2. Does accepting God’s sovereignty diminish human responsibility? No, accepting God’s sovereignty does not diminish human responsibility. It emphasizes our need to align our will with God’s and submit to His guidance.

3. Can humans resist God’s sovereign will? While humans may initially resist God’s sovereign will, His divine influence can ultimately transform human resistance into willingness.

4. Does God’s sovereignty mean that humans have no choice or free will? God’s sovereignty does not negate human choice or free will. Instead, it operates in harmony with human choices, guiding them toward His purposes and plans.

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