Article 19

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What we Believe







"God’s Sovereignty; Man’s Responsibility"

The relationship of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility has been debated for hundreds of years. Theologians of various persuasions have proposed a plethora of various ideas. There are those who have put forth a sincere and able defense of the truth of God. Some have put forth sincere efforts, but yet their teaching lacks consistency with the truth of God’s revelation of Himself in scripture. Others have put forth nothing more than a sincere effort to assault the truth of God’s person in the exaltation of man.

Be it far from me to even think I could so write an article which would settle all debate and disagreement henceforth. God Himself by His holy scriptures has settled any debate and disagreement among us worms of the dust. Man is well admonished by the prophet Isaiah that the potsherds may well strive with the potsherds of the earth, but: "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!" Also, be it far from me to engage in a tit for tat attempt to answer all of the questions rebellious man brings against God’s revelation of Himself and man.

So then, my intent is not to better what others called of God have previously done. My intent is to honor God in the Son by truth in hopes of encouraging Christ’s sheep to press forward as His ambassadors seeking His honor. Each generation of Christ’s people should sound forth God’s truth even though our fellow citizens of Christ’s kingdom have previously done so in the ages past.

Simply put as a question to be answered. Is God sovereign? He is absolutely sovereign in all things! Is man responsible? He is unquestionably responsible for and in all that he is and does!

While men desire to knead these two truths together as one well-leavened loaf and then try to expound each part so as to be able to distinguish each component separately while looking at the one single loaf, I will not suggest even the ability to do so. To attempt such a confluence of truths is to attempt to make man equal with God. THIS IS HERESY! Mankind’s fall in the garden, by one man God named Adam, so separated man from that which God had created him to be (God breathed life in God’s likeness, but never as a god himself) that any confluence of the two is to reject God’s testimony of man even before and especially after the fall.

So again I ask. Is God sovereign? The sovereignty of God is so absolute that there is nothing which can be counted outside the realm of His rule. By this I mean that His sovereignty is not He purposes many things which shall come to pass but some of what He did not determine beforehand to come to pass can be overruled by Him or used by Him to somehow fit His end desire even if it does come to pass. This is double talk. Scripture testifies that nothing occurs which falls outside the realm of His sovereign will. One case in point which clearly shows this is the crucifixion of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. The holy work of our Lord in suffering on the tree as the Substitute of sinners, and the very unholy deeds of ungodly men who hung Him there, these were both that which God had before determined to be done (Heb. 10:5-10; I Pet. 1:18-20; Acts 2:22-23; 4:23-28).

Were men responsible in these evil deeds? They were unquestionably responsible for they did exactly as they desired and acknowledged their responsibility beforehand (Matt. 27:19-25). While the unregenerate heart begins to question this truth with an assault against the wisdom, justice, and righteousness of God therein, the regenerate heart bows in submission fearing even the suggestion of such an accusation against God. What of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers? What of those nations God used to chasten Israel and then judged those nations for those deeds? What of Satan’s evil toward Job? To those who cry out: "BUT . . . !" Let them try and answer by their standards of human wisdom, justice, and righteousness the truth clearly spoken in Revelation 17:17 about the ten kings giving their power and strength to the beast who is God’s enemy -- God putting in their hearts to fulfill His will! Herein, and throughout scripture, is God’s sovereignty and men and demons’ responsibility taught. God is clearly sovereign, but these are clearly responsible for God judges them. This is proof enough.

Will one question God? To what magistrate will they bring their case and what officer of that court will serve the God of heaven and earth with a subpoena? Before what judge does one dare to even think to summon God? Before what law do they judge Him? The law of Sinai which came from God? Such as: "Thou shalt not kill." But since all are guilty and deserve death who can question God as to passing that sentence? Since God’s holy and righteous person, by reason of being who He is eternally, determined from the beginning what sin would be (everything contrary to that) who is to question that God would put in men’s hearts to do that which is by the fall and their sinful nature to do, and thus even so fulfill His will?

Rebellious men think they can cuff and shackle the eternal God by their own standard, but in so thinking they reveal the bondage of their own soul to rebellion against God. Scripture is clear: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . (Ecc. 3:1-9). But note that it is God who determines and rules over it all with nothing being added to or taken away from His design (3:10-15).

But what about salvation? What does scripture teach concerning God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in this subject? This we will consider in the next article. Nevertheless, some teach that free will is the magical answer to this, as well as the subject of the present article. So then God went ahead and created even though He knew man would fall and because of free will many will perish even though God most desperately would do and has done all He could to prevent it! He did not have to try but He did. This is the teaching of most who talk about God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, but it is nothing more than man’s sovereignty and God’s responsibility. Heresy at its utmost!

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