December 14

So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. Romans 9:16

For ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. Romans 10:13

The Bible assures us, in these verses, both of our free will and of the sovereignty of God. How is this possible? The answer is that our free will is real, but it is a gift from God. It does not put us in the driving seat. It is our free will to co-operate with the driver of the car, not to take control of it! When we understand the grace of God in granting us freedom to choose our destiny, we should be humbled, and fear Him. People today easily imagine God as a being like a rather old-fashioned, unpopular teacher who should be grateful that we are his friends, given his reputation. In the eyes of many people today, it is God who should do the pleading, and we who should offer Him grace! But once stated like this, it is clear how awful this attitude is. The fact is, God can say ‘No’ to us at any time, because we have not merited His grace. He has no reason to answer our cries for help, other than that He is kind, loving and gracious. It is not that God wants us to grovel, but He hates arrogance and will not respond to those who talk down to Him. The amazing fact of Calvary is that God has gone into the very dust of death to obtain our forgiveness. His mercy has gone lower than we ever will. God is not reluctant – Calvary proves that beyond all doubt. But God will not pander to our pride. You have freedom of will; thank God for it, and make sure you are not trying to be in the driving seat!