Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today in my Systematic Theology class with Dr. Finkbeiner, we discussed the issue of human freedom and God's sovereignty. This topic has always interested me, and so as I processed through all the information (definitely more than I normally do) I began to think about what some of my friends believe about God's sovereignty, and I raised questions of my own.

I know someone who believes that God absolutely and actively (read more for what I mean about "actively) ordains everything, even our sin. This person says that God does so in order that He might be ultimately glorified in the end because He is the only One who can do right, and we are totally depraved beings. However, this has always presented an issue with me. Why would God basically force us to sin, and then give us the responsibility for doing it? Wouldn't that actually be God doing the evil and then just pushing the blame onto us? I have had the most difficult time with this, because I do not believe that it is God's character to actively ordain sin. There has to be human freedom involved with this.

However... let me be clear in saying that on the other side of things I do not believe in absolute human freedom. I will be bold in saying that I believe in Calvin's teachings on pre-destination, and I do not believe that we have the choice in whether or not we are saved. Even though God desires for all men to be saved, this does not mean that all men WILL be saved. However, I digress. My argument is not on eternal salvation at the moment, but on whether or not God ordains our sin.

My position on this issue is more in the middle of each side, which is "soft determinism." I talked with Dr. Finkbeiner today and he put it in such a way that was so clear and made a lot of sense (this is where my use of "actively ordaining" comes in, in case you were wondering). While God does in fact ordain everything because He is ultimately sovereign, there is a difference between active and passive ordination. For example, God has actively ordained certain individuals to receive salvation, but he has passively ordained sin to occur in our lives. Basically, this means that God allows it to take place. He obviously knows what we are going to choose, but we are able to make the choice all the same. He does not force us to do anything that we do not want to do. We make the choice to sin out of our own volition, and therefore it is our responsibility to repent for that.

This is such an encouragement to me because it shows that I am NOT a slave to my sin. If I am a daughter of the King, then I have the full ability to stand up against my sin with Christ's strength and conquer it. God does not actively ordain me to sin, which takes away my ability to "blame" him for my actions and say that He made me do it for His own "mysterious" reasons.

God loves me and He wants me to choose Him. Again, He chose me initially to be saved, but it is my choice whether or not I will follow Him and obey His commands instead of my own fleshly desires. He strongly desires for me to be in a right relationship with Him, but that means following Him even in the most difficult of times.

But what an encouragement we have in 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says,
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it."

God will allow my sin to take place, but He provides a way out! I feel as though Romans 7 is one of my life chapters, because it consistently comes up as a theme in my life. I have written blogs and posts about this passage before, and I'm going to do so again. Romans 7:15-25 says,
"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For i know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

God is SO merciful, and this is something that I am learning more and more every single day. Thank God for His active and passive ordination in my life, that I may be able to see Him more clearly, follow Him more closely, and love Him more dearly as long as I live.


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