God has given us the ability to make choices, but our freedom is not unlimited. Today, R.C. Sproul explains why this is actually good news for us.
When God put Adam and Eve in the garden, what did He say? “You live in this garden, and you’re not allowed to do anything. I have all these trees with all these beautiful foods there in the garden I’ve made, but you can’t avail yourself of any of them. Don’t you touch any of those trees because if you touch a single tree in that garden, you’ll die.” Is that what God said? That’s what the devil said that God said, but that’s not what God said.
Here’s the first introduction of the concept of freedom: “Of all of the trees in the garden, you may freely eat. Except this one over here. You may not eat of that. If you do, you die.” What God gave human beings in creation was the ability to make choices. But that ability was not unlimited. It was limited: “Of all the trees,” God said, “over here, you may freely eat. But you can’t just do anything you want to do. There are limits to your freedom. There are restrictions to your freedom.”
And the thing is this: God is free, and His creatures are free, but God is more free than His creatures. Now that’s simple—you would think it would be simple. But here’s the kind of stuff I hear, all the time in the church: “God saves as many people as He possibly can. You know, He’d like to save everybody. He does the best He can, but if He would work in your heart to change your heart without your permission, He’d be violating your freedom. And so, God can’t save you unless you want to be saved.”
And the sinner in hell would give everything he had and do anything he could to get rid of that freedom that kept God from saving him. On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus did not ask Christ to save him. When God intruded into my life through His sovereign good pleasure and changed the disposition of my heart, I wasn’t seeking Him. I didn’t ask Him to come in; He came.