What a Sovereign God Will Do and Will Achieve!

A Scriptural refutation of the belief
that mankind has been endowed with a free will.

by Peter Feddema

Just a couple of days ago, when surfing the net, I came across an article with the title, "What a Sovereign God Cannot Do."

How I wish the author had, instead, written an article under the title, "What a Sovereign God Will Do and Will Achieve!" But, that is not the main thrust of his theology. In brief, his theology centers around the basic assumption that God created man with an absolute free will! This popular theology, makes God, and the perfect sacrifice of Christ, dependent on man exercising his will in such a manner that it will be possible for God to save a relative few! The Internet article makes a strong plea for such a proposition! But is it in accord with Scripture in which God has revealed His plan and purpose, especially through the Apostle Paul?

It is my intention to show, from Scripture, that God does not, in the least, depend on any of His wayward creatures in order to save everyone!

We have been admonished to obey the injunction to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim.2:15)! Neglecting to do so, will leave us feeling ashamed with respect to God's ways and ultimate objective.

Through the apostle Paul, God revealed that He "will have all mankind to be saved and to come to the knowledge [realization] of the truth" (1 Tim.2:4). As can be easily verified, the Greek word here used is thelo, which really means "will," and not the weaker word "desires," although, who can thwart what God really desires? But to be sure, it is God's expressed will to save all mankind and to have each individual come to the deep realization of His truth! The Greek word, here translated as [mere] knowledge, is epignosis, and signifies "having a precise and thorough realization, or recognition, of divine truth."

In 1 Timothy 4:9-11, it is, empathically and reliably, stated that God is the Saviour of All mankind. Paul, under inspiration, wanting to make sure that we understand that all mankind is in view, added, "especially of those who believe." Indeed, believers‚€”the elect‚€”have a prior and special salvation, but not an only and exclusive salvation, because Paul did not write, "exclusively of those who believe." He considered this to be so important, that in verse 11, he added, "These things command and teach!"

We also learn from Romans 5:18 and 19, that, as condemnation came upon all mankind through Adam's disobedience, so justification will come upon all mankind through Christ's obedient sacrifice!

Then, in 1 Corinthians 15:22 we read, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." We know that this refers to life beyond the reach of death. The next verse makes that clear.

Furthermore, in Colossians 1:20, it is made known that all in heaven and all in earth will become reconciled to God through the blood of the cross!

Romans 11:32 tells us, "For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all." In this verse, God does not hesitate to state that disobedience and stubbornness is upon all of humanity from His hand, for the purpose that He may, eventually, be showering His mercy upon all.

Moreover, in 1 John 2:2, it unequivocally states, "And he [Christ] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Since the sacrifice of Christ (His suffering and death on the cross) was made for the sins of the whole world (the whole human race), is it conceivable that it will not have its positive effect on all mankind? Are we to accept that the perfect and supreme sacrifice, will leave the great majority of humanity unaffected, and to fall into the possession of Satan, for all time? This does not harmonize with Scripture, nor with basic common sense! Intuitively, we know that there is something seriously amiss, if such will be true. It makes one think of a scenario, where a wealthy, strong, rich aristocrat pays in full for a hundred acre farm, but has to settle for receiving, to possess, only five acres, because of a nasty neighbor, who, craftily and crookedly, manages to take possession of 95 acres. Even among wayward humanity, such would be recognized as a great injustice, since the nasty neighbor did not pay even a penny for anything!

Yes, I know that the article on the Internet, made much about God having given humanity a free will! This is most regrettable, because the words "free will" are not a Scriptural expression. Of course, God created us with a will, and thankfully so, but our will is merely a human will, that is dependent upon receiving the special gift of God's Spirit (Rom.5:5) in order to utilize God's special gift of faith (Rom.12:3; Eph.2:8,9; Phil.1:29) These special gifts enable us to exercise our will in response to God's love! Once they are graciously given, the human-will will respond, positively, to the Giver of all (1 Cor.4:7; John 3:27), just as readily as our physical eyes and ears do see and hear, and we respond!

It is emphatically declared, that not a single, solitary thing that we have, whether it be physical or spiritual, is anything other than a gift from God! When we ask, where in Scripture is it stated that God gave us a free will, we see that there is no such revelation. If anything, Scripture and history, unmistakably, show that carnal, willful humanity is incapable of seeking after God; in fact, it is at enmity with God!

Do we consider it meaningful to protest, and to complain, that we have not had any say in the matter as to how our physical body has been created to function? Why, then, should we protest and complain about being dependent upon the special gift of God's Spirit and the special gift of faith, in order to respond positively to our Creator God? Only after we have received these special gifts from God, will there be a positive response! And Scripture reveals, that as long as we are still in the "School of God," we have these gifts only in measure and not in full. This, evidently, is for our benefit in order to learn essential lessons, while still in this body of humiliation! But these special gifts are not given to enable us to show what we are capable of, so that we can qualify for entrance into God's family (Eph.2:19). Anything physical or spiritual, that would place into the hands of the individual the power to determine his eternal well or woe, is unscriptural, and robs God of His glory and honor, and would, effectively, make it so that God cannot become ALL even in one person, leave alone, in everybody such as is the Father's expressed objective (1Cor.5:28).

In Isaiah 42:8 and Isaiah 48:11, God said that He would not give His glory and praise to another! Why, then, should we assume that He gave to humanity a so-called free will in order to show Him, whether or not to save this or that person? Again, such would, most effectively rob God of His honor, glory and praise, and place it within the heart of each saved individual to feel, eternally, good about himself for having had the savvy to, wisely and ingeniously, make the right decisions, in contrast to the billions, who stupidly, ended up in hell to regret, forever, their folly and shortsightedness!

When we enjoy having good eye sight, we do not feel that we have been reduced to robots because God did not leave it up to us to have functional eyes and to enjoy what we see! So it is when we receive the special gifts of God's Spirit and faith! We, then, irresistibly and thankfully respond to God in love, in faith, and in expectation!

Permit me for a moment to focus on what Scripture really reveals about the fruits of the will of humanity, as it stems from Adam! It is totally at loggerheads with God's will! This is made undeniably clear in Romans 3:10-20, where we are summarily told that, Not one is just, no, not even one, not one is understanding, not one seeks after God, all avoid Him, not one is doing good, no not one, etc.

Romans 3:10-20, conclusively, shows us what humanity is all about, when it is not blessed with the gift of God's Spirit and the gift of faith! Yes, these horrifying and humbling negatives are the product of man's innate will. Since no one is inclined to seek after God, or do any good (worth mentioning), it is evident that humanity, left to itself, is hopelessly lost.

But we know that all which Paul penned from Romans 1:18 to Romans 3:20, is an introduction to the marvelous revelation found in Romans 3:21-28! This introduction could not more bleakly paint humanity's insurmountable problem than it does. It is the foil for the revelation of God's complete and glorious solution to humanity problem!

Immediately following the spelling out of mankind's desperate, dreadful and death-doomed problem, we read: "But now, apart from law, a righteousness of God is revealed through the faith of Jesus Christ!" (emphasis added). And in verse 22, it clearly says that this righteousness is for all mankind, but is, presently and especially, only on the believers, who were chosen before any humans were on earth (Eph.1:4). But the rest will also be receiving the full benefit of Christ's sacrifice, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father (1Cor.15:24-28). Our Lord and Saviour, will most gloriously succeed in presenting a spotless and flawless universe to His God and Father. The context of 1Corinthians 15:20-28 (plus many other Scriptures) leave us no other conclusion.

As all-inclusive as were the painful revelations, concerning humanity, in Romans 3:10-20, so all-inclusive is the solution for all of humanity, as it is revealed in the following verses (21-28) of this same chapter!

Since the Good News of God's solution to man's insuperable problem is announced under the heading, 'apart from law,' why should we make the effect of the great and perfect sacrifice of Christ dependent on a law of mankind's, so-called, free will? The work and sacrifice of Christ, and the gift of God's Spirit, as well as the gift of faith, are not provided in order that each individual may have another chance to show how good and worthy he can present himself to God, and qualify to receive the benefits of the sacrifice of Christ! No, if anything, all this is to show each individual his complete and total dependence on God for everything‚€”everything physical and spiritual, everything temporal or eternal! Through Christ's sacrifice, the heart of God‚€”the love of God‚€”is revealed! It is not provided as an opportunity whereby each may show his own ability and, thereby, qualify to be a recipient of salvation. Our 'competence' is solely of God (Col.1:12).

Yes, we have a will, but left to itself, this will of ours demonstrated to will the terrible things mentioned in Romans 3:10-20.

It may also be said that on the level of humanity's consciousness, it feels as if we have a free will. But that is on our level of awareness, and according to our feelings, which are not the yardstick for truth! On the contrary, they are the yardstick of our waywardness and wrong conclusions.

In Romans 9:16 we are plainly told that it is not of him who wills or runs, but of God the Merciful! And, as I have shown from Romans 11:32, God will have mercy on all, and for that purpose He has blinded them first! Paul, on realizing all that, broke forth into one of Scripture's most eloquent, heart-touching doxologies, ending it with the jubilant shout that All is FOR God (Rom.11:33-36).

In fact, if salvation and abiding condemnation, for any individual, depends on the individual exercising his will properly, or not exercising his will properly, then, those who will not be saved, have themselves to blame, and those who will be saved have themselves to pat on the back and to give sole credit to, for having escaped hell!

According to popular theology, they (the saved ones) cannot, but help, for all eternity, remembering and being conscious of the fact that the difference between them and the massive bulk of humanity (those in hell) is that they have exercised their so-called free and independent will, wisely, whereas the great majority has exercised their so-called free and independent will, stupidly!

Since, ever so thankfully, it completely depends on God and on the Son of his Love (and not on humanity), all will, indeed, be saved. This will be so, because God in His infinite love and mercy will overcome evil with good! Will He not do, Himself, what He has instructed us to do (Rom.12:21)? Of course He will, now that the righteousness of God has been fully satisfied in the sacrifice of Christ! ( Rom.2:21-22) (See, also, Rom. 1:17; Rom. 5:19; Rom. 5:21; Rom. 10:3-4; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9)

There is much more that could be said to support the fact that God will save all, but in closing, it is necessary to resort to Scripture, once more, so we can see that God is not squeamish to acknowledge (for the purpose to save all and to thoroughly educate all (1 Tim. 2:4)) that He creates evil as well as good (Isa. 45:7). It is inconceivable and contrary to Scripture that God is to be perceived as trying to salvage a universal accident that got out of control, with the results that most of His intelligent creatures will end up in hell for the sole reason to be tortured and tormented without end! And, all this, while at the same time, those who did get saved, have to be on guard, so as not to be exceedingly pleased with themselves, but to be humble and thankful to God, whereas, within their heart of hearts, they can barely stop from congratulating themselves, everyday, for having been so wise and so good, to have made sure that they live in wonderful bliss in heaven, and not in the wretchedness of hell.

Yes, I know that many fine people, even dear fellow-believers, are convinced that if they have no free will, that such will reduce them to being nothing more than mere automatons and robots!

However, let me stress that this idea is nothing but a deceitful red herring, presented to have us divert our attention from where it should be, namely, on the plan and purpose of God, to become ALL in all (1 Cor.15:28).

Never can we overestimate the deep significance of mankind having been created in God's image and in His likeness, designated to become mature sons and 'daughters' of our heavenly Father. The fear of being nothing more than automatons and robots, would only have a basis of truth, if we had been created without a will, at all! Then, we would not be human, anymore! Then, we would not be creatures that were made in God's image and in His likeness! Please, consider that there is a universe of difference between having a free will and having a will. If it is a fact that mankind has a free will (with all that it means in popular theology), then God has reduced Himself to a third rate Deity, Who would, very much, love to save everybody, but Who has made Himself unable to do so, even though He has provided, in the sacrifice of Christ, everything necessary and needful for all to be saved. It is impossible to accept that God has weakened Himself this way, by having given His creatures a free and independent will (the key to salvation) so that only those who decide to use this key wisely and astutely will be saved!

When we rightly divide God's word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), we will recognize God's reason for dealing with Israel according to their flesh‚€”to demonstrably show the futility of the flesh‚€”and we will recognize God's purpose in having called Paul to reveal His plan and purpose as to what He will do and will achieve, not because of any goodness in man, but in spite of any weakness or limitation in man! With respect to this, a pertinent passage to study is 1 Corinthians 1:26-30.

God is not giving man an opportunity (a chance) to show himself worthy to be saved. No, but He, purposefully, has created us so we can, most effectively and ideally, be educated! In due time, each will receive the crucial gift of God's Spirit and the gift of faith, with the result that each, with his whole being will respond to His love! Yes, indeed, in response, each will most willingly` and enthusiastically have God to be his ALL, without any imposed coercion and compulsion! God has created us response-able, and through His educational program and His gifts will arouse within each intelligent creature a whole hearted love-response to His unlimited love!

Certainly, it is exceedingly important that we have a will! In fact it is essential, in order that God can receive, from each of us, our wholehearted praise and adoration, without us having been forced to do so, but instead, having been given the wherewithal and the education, we will respond willingly, joyfully and reverently to His love! All that is needed for our limited, human will to respond to God's sovereign and only-free-will-in-God's-universe, is to receive His gifts and to have gone through His educational program!

Love, strongly desires a wholehearted love-response! Love also is a 'schemer!' God's creative work, and the flawless sacrifice of Christ, are the perfect expressions of His heartfelt love‚€”for God is love (1 John 4:8,16). This undeniable love of God will be crowned with complete success in that it will, eventually, draw forth from every intelligent creature a wholehearted, voluntary love response! For that purpose God has created all that He has made! It is the greatest love story, hardly known and believed!

Yes, how extraordinarily wonderful that we do not have to theorize about 'What a Sovereign God Cannot Do,' but that instead, we may revel and rejoice in 'What a Sovereign God Will Do and Will Achieve,' according to His own revelation of His plan and purpose!

©Concordant Publishing Concern

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