I’ve come to believe three things in regards to God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.
First, I believe salvation begins and ends with God. We talk a lot about “our” free will as if it were the central issue of life. It isn’t. God is the central issue of life. Had God not chosen us, we would never have chosen him.
The second thing I believe about God’s sovereignty and man’s free will is that God does exactly what God wants to do because he is God. Free will? Sure. God’s! He is the only one who truly has free will. Our will is tainted, broken, deficient.
The third thing I believe is that our only real security is found in God’s free will and sovereignty. Isn’t that what Philippians 1:6 teaches? “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Who began the work? Who will carry it on? Until when?
I read about a young man named Peter who, at age 28, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Less than a year the doctors had given him. After the diagnosis Peter went home, looked at his wife, looked at his small children, and raised his eyes to heaven thinking, “Oh God, why is this happening to me?” He fell into deep despair.
Peter had always enjoyed hiking in the wilderness with friends and, in an effort to lift his spirits, his wife arranged for a day trip that would not be too strenuous. Off they went, he and a close friend, through a cathedral forest and across a rocky ridge until they came to a beautiful lake.
Sitting by the lake, Peter’s friend could sense his despair. “What are you thinking Peter?” the friend asked. Peter looked around and said, “Everything is wrong about this place: The mountains, the lake, the forest. It’s all so permanent. It’s been here for thousands of years. It’s been here so long, and I, I won’t be here much longer. My wife’s already making plans for us to be here next year and I won’t even be here a year from now.”
His friend said nothing. What could he say? Peter never did make it back to that place. Not because he was gone but because the mountain, the lake and the forest is gone. All of it blew into oblivion when Mount St. Helens exploded. And, to the surprise of all, Peter is in full remission, healthy and happy.