Sep 15, 2022

God’s Sovereignty Is Not Limited by Human Freedom

4 Min Read

Either you and I are sovereign over our lives—or God is sovereign. There is no other option.

Scripture and the great thinkers of church history teach us this truth, as Dr. R.C. Sproul has explained in books such as Willing to Believe. We’ll send you a special limited 25th anniversary edition of this important work by Dr. Sproul this month when you give a gift of any amount to Ligonier Ministries. More on that below.

The sovereignty of God is foundational to Reformed theology, and I learned it from Dr. Sproul. The truth hit home for me during my college years, shaping the trajectory of my life and of my family’s life. Like many Christians, I had misunderstood what it means that God is sovereign, so my faith was easily shaken.

New vistas were opened for me as R.C. taught the Scriptures. I saw more clearly the message of the Word of God and the God of the Word. I realized that what we believe here is no insignificant matter. As R.C. so often said, “If God is not sovereign, then God is not God.”

Ligonier Ministries seeks to boldly proclaim the sovereignty of God, in all of history and in our personal lives, to as many people as possible around the world. We do this because there is nothing more important and life-giving than to know God as He is. We can know who we are only when we know who God is. When we see the look of fear that engulfs billions of souls today, it becomes clear that the false view that we’re in control, rather than God, is catastrophic.

Today, men and women do not know who they are. Our corrupted humanity invents empty ideas of reality, and we often see those ideas in the arguments surrounding the sanctity of human life and the basic biological facts of boys and girls. Even 2+2=4 is being questioned.

Ignorance of who the one true God is in all His fullness lies at the root of this. R.C. made that point again and again in his teaching ministry. Human beings are made in the image of God, (Gen. 1:26–27), and if we don’t know the One in whose image we are made, we’ll be confused about who we are. When people don’t know the truth of God, they are forced to make up the answers to the fundamental questions of human identity. The results, as we can see all around us, are disastrous.

The answers to the questions of human identity provided by the world are twisted, and sadly, the answers provided in many churches also fall short. Here is where the doctrine of God’s sovereignty matters. If God does not sovereignly define and control human identity, then we must turn within ourselves. Though the mantra of “find yourself,” sounds liberating, it leads to enslavement—enslavement to our desires, to worldly philosophies, to anything but that which grants us full humanity.

Some people mistakenly reason that if God chooses according to His good pleasure who will be saved, then men and women cannot be truly free, and therefore we cannot be truly human. However, Scripture reveals the opposite to be true—God’s absolute sovereignty actually establishes human freedom:

Understanding the sovereignty of God frees us to receive our identity from Him in and through Christ; we’re no longer crushed under the never-ending pressure of having to reinvent our identity according to passing whims.

Understanding the sovereignty of God frees us to rest the salvation of our loved ones in His hands and find comfort that He’ll save His elect in His time.

Understanding the sovereignty of God frees us to proclaim the gospel boldly, knowing that He can use even our imperfect words to redeem His people.

Understanding the sovereignty of God frees us to be confident that He’ll complete His work of salvation in us and that we’ll not finally fall away.

Understanding the sovereignty of God frees us to give Him all the glory.

By God’s grace, Ligonier Ministries is committed to never shying away from boldly teaching the sovereignty of God in all things. We declare this truth unashamedly every year in hundreds of articles published online and in print; in thousands of books, radio programs, and podcasts distributed here and abroad; in streamed videos; in a growing slate of conferences across the globe; and so much more. Your support is used by God to carry this message worldwide.

To thank you for your gift this month, we’ll send you a special limited 25th anniversary edition of Dr. Sproul’s classic book Willing to Believe. This milestone publication has helped many people understand God’s sovereignty and human freedom, giving an exalted vision of the Lord and a higher respect for our God-given human dignity. We’ll hurry a copy to you when you respond with a donation to our global gospel outreach.

R.C. reminded us that “God is free and man is free. But God is more free.” That truth brings real freedom and dignity. You make it possible to teach that truth in many places. Thank you for standing together with Ligonier for the truth.