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Intersection of Life and Faith

How Does God's Sovereignty Work with Our Free Will?

David Murray

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

Well, I don't believe we have free will, so that would be the first thing I would say. I think Adam and Eve had free will until they sinned. Once they sinned, their wills, their ability to choose, was no longer free. It was in bondage, it was enslaved. That whole nature failed, that the whole of their humanity fail. The ability to think and feel and choose... it all just disintegrated. Now, we are not free to choose what is right and proper. Any choice we make of what is right and good and true is only because of God's grace.

When a person's unconverted, they're not a Christian, can they choose to do what's good? They can, but not for good motives. Not for good reasons. For an act to be truly good, you have to have a good action, a good motive, and a good end. We are no longer to do that. That's why Jesus comes along and says to these religious people, "You're in bondage, you're slaves, and you need to be freed." He says that the Son shall set you free then you shall be free indeed.

That's what I need as an unbeliever. I know very well looking back I did have free will. The freedom I had was to choose what I wanted but what did I want? It wasn't what was good. You put in front of me ... If I hate spinach, and you put in front of me a plate of spinach and tell me to eat it, I don't have the freedom to do that. I hate it. It will make me sick. I'll just be unable to do it.

I need to change inside of me. I need something, I'm altered, I need something transformed. That's what I believe salvation does. It saves us, it frees us from our bondage and enables us then to choose the right things for the right motives and for the right ends.

I need God to come into my life. I need the sovereignty of God to free me to choose what is right for the right reasons and the right ends. To me, the sovereignty of God is not an enemy, it's what I desperately need. I need that sovereign part, I need that sovereign intervention in my life to come and free me to choose what's right for the right reasons and the right ends. When I look at the sovereignty of God and in my own responsibility I see at last I've got a friend. At last, I've got some power greater than myself that can come along and help me to choose what is right for the right reasons and the right ends.

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