(Article for publication week of 9-22-2010 AD)
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and unto our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Charles Spurgeon was once asked, “how do you reconcile the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of man?” Mr. Spurgeon replied, “I don’t have to reconcile friends!” This was a wise and scriptural reply for the sovereignty of God and human responsibility are not opposed to one another. Our little puny brains may not be able to fully comprehend how God has foreordained everything that comes to pass, and yet holds us responsible for all our actions, yet we believe both truths for they are clearly laid down side by side in scripture.
This is easily proven in nature. God has promised that as long as the earth shall stand there shall be seed time and harvest (Genesis 8:22). God has foreordained that there shall be planting and reaping. Yet there will be no harvest except we plant and cultivate. God has ordained that His people shall be fed and clothed (Luke 12:22-30). The means by which He accomplishes this is by our productive labour. It is clearly revealed in God’s word that if any will not work, “neither should he eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10).
It is also true in the spiritual realm that God is sovereign and that you are absolutely responsible. God has ordained who would be saved and elected them in His Son from all eternity and predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29-30). This is among the “secret things of God.” God has not shown us the contents of the Lamb’s Book of life wherein was recorded from all eternity the names of all God’s elect. But He has commanded all men everywhere to repent. My friend you are responsible for your sins and God commands you to repent. You will not obtain salvation except you repent (Luke 13:5). On the Day of Judgment no one will be able to protest their damnation on the basis of God’s sovereignty. Your refusal to repent is laid to your own charge. Your sins are laid to your charge. God’s law is clearly revealed to you and you cannot claim that it is a secret thing of God. God has clearly revealed that all who repent of their sins and come to His Son shall be saved. That is the revealed will of God. Election and predestination are among the secret things of God, and the only way you will rejoice in those things is by believing in Christ, for all who believe in Christ are the elect of God (Acts 13:48).
Frequently in scripture the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man are laid side by side in the same passage. For example John 6:37, “all that the father giveth me shall come to me (God’s sovereignty), and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (man’s responsibility). Again, Matthew 11:25 “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (God’s sovereignty). Then in verse 28 Christ sweetly says, “come unto me” (man’s responsibility). I could multiply texts, but these are two notable examples. God is absolutely sovereign, and we are absolutely responsible.
I want to thank my many readers who encourage us in this little work and pray for us. I appreciate it so much when I go to town and one of you mentions that the Narrow Way has been a blessing, or when I get an email or phone call from you. I also want to invite you all to the Fall Meeting of Particular Baptist Fellowship September 24-26. Elder Jimmy Barber from Oak Ridge, Tennessee will be preaching for us (DV). If you will call me at 601-927-5070, I will give you all the details. God bless you all.