About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

IS GOD SOVERIGN OVER OUR FREE WILL?


GOD IS SOVEREIGN, CAN MAN BE FREE
IF GOD IS SOVEREIGN, HOW CAN MAN BE FREE
?


Read from Genesis 50:15-19. Walked us through the story of Joseph's faithfulness in the midst of various trials whereby he was treated unjustly first by his brothers, then by Potipher's wife, then by a fellow prisoner.

MAN FREELY CHOOSES EVIL, GOD PURPOSELY USES IT FOR GOOD (deliberately, with intend, intentionally)

As his brothers beg for forgiveness (possibly motivated by a fear of punishment), they acknowledge that their actions toward Joseph were evil. Joseph asks them the question, "Am I in the place of God?"

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Gen 50:19-20

Joseph acknowledges that his brothers' intentions were evil. But he also recognizes that God was intimately (closely) involved in the evil that He experienced at the hands of his brothers. Joseph recognizes that even the treachery his brothers committed would be used by God for the good of those who love Him.

Nevertheless, the acts committed were themselves evil. Evil behavior. Evil intentionality. (deliberate, done with purpose) But over and above the human intentionality, God was purposefully at work to bring about good. Why do we call the day on which the most egregious, flagrant act of injustice was committed "good Friday"? Because of God's intentionality. i.e. done on purpose, not by accident. Notice that were it not for Joseph's coat of many colors--which pushed his brothers over the edge, prompting them to sell him into slavery--there would be no Potiphar, if no Potiphar, then no Potiphar's wife, and no going to jail, and no getting elevated to Pharoah's right hand man. But God is involved at every stage in this chain of events. Inevitably, without doubt, the question of God's sovereignty and man's freedom comes up. But it is not that hard if we remember:
What is the difference between human beings and a Supreme being? One is Supreme. God is a volitional Being. (the ability to make conscious choices or decisions) He has a divine faculty or power, whereby He makes decisions, undergoes choices. We humans are also volitional beings; our Creator has endowed us with a faculty, mental power of choosing. We have the ability to make choices. There was a leading philosopher named Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). There was a big question in his day on the issue of "personalism". What is it that makes we humans "persons"? The answer Husserl submitted is that we have the ability to make choices. One of his disciples became a leading atheistic thinker: John Paul Sarte.

HUMAN FREEDOM OR HUMAN AUTONOMY?

Sarte argued that human freedom meant God could not be real. But Sarte's conception of freedom was autonomy. And unless you were free in the sense of autonomy, you could not be free. What does autonomy mean? Well, "auto" means self. And "mobile" is something that moves. So "auto" means self and "nomos" means law. So "autonomy" means, literally, "self law" or "self rule". So Sarte's idea was this: To be truly free we must have autonomy. We must have no accountability to anyone outside of us. A true antimony (impossibility) would be reconciling God's sovereignty and man's autonomy. Those two are truly mutually contradictory. Human autonomy (self rule) is the illegitimate,(not carried out in accordance with the law) illicit (illegal) reach of dependent creatures who want to elevate themselves to the level of God.

In reality, God is free, His creatures are free - but in the Scriptures we see that God is freer than humans. If we say "God's freedom is limited by human freedom," we're actually making humans sovereign.

THE DOCTRINE OF CONCURRENCE

We talk about the doctrine of concurrence at this point. Joseph's brothers, in selling Joseph into slavery, did exactly what they wanted to do. Nobody forced them to do it. That said, we never limit God's freedom. God can always thwart human designs. Though we choose according to our desires, our very actions are made under God (with the enabling that God grants us). God's freedom is always larger. We are never autonomous. Self-directed, self-sufficient, self government, self ruling, or sovereign

On a moral plane, we are born into this world as slaves of sin. We are not morally able to do that which is truly good. We will act according with our desires, and in the manner that is according to our strongest *inclination.
  • Leaning, proclivity, preference, liking, partiality, fondness, and tendency

And even when our desires are evil, God will work through them to bring about good.
You may have heard: "God saves everyone that He possibly can. He does the best He can, but He will never violate your will."


The problem is that before God invaded our hearts, we were slaves of sin. In regeneration, God elevates our wills.

  • philosophy personal independence and the capacity to make moral decisions and act on them’’

  • Taking place, existing, or running parallel at the same time
    Harmony consensus


    Charles E. Whisnant, Pastor/Teacher
    September 28, 2008
    Research Notes, gleamed from study notes.
    Dr. R.C. Sproul

Used Sunday Morning in the Adult Bible Fellowship Class at Rivers of Joy Baptist Church