God’s Sovereignty

Does God control all aspect of our lives?  Verses like the ones quoted below would indicate that he does.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord  by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord  stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:  Ezra 1:1 ESV

And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord  had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra 6:22 ESV

However, we must base our theology on what the entire Bible has to say about the subject.  Recently, while reading 2 Chronicles, I came across the following verse.

And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.  2 Chronicles 32:31 ESV

Paul tells is in Philippians 2:12 to work out our “salvation with fear and trembling”.  How can we do anything about our salvation if we do not have free will?  Why would God command us to do something we cannot do?

Oswald Sanders quotes D. E. Hoste and Hudson Taylor as saying as they went further along in their walk with God, they found that God did not give them as much assistance in determining God’s will. God treats mature Christians as mature adults and leaves more and more to their own judgment [1]

The argument between God’s sovereignty and human free will is meaningless.  The Bible plainly teaches both are true.  There are times when God intervenes in human events to move people to accomplish his purposes.  However, there are also times where he leaves us to our own devices to develop us as persons and to teach us the lessons we need to learn.


[1]   J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, Chicago:  Moody Press, 1967, pp. 112-113.

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