I’ve had my share of theological discussions about the sovereignty of God and human responsibility, or the debate on whether one is a Calvinist or an Arminian. Everyone has their verses that they bring to the table and their perspective and opinion and experiences and those conversations can be really fun.
Well, this morning I was flipping through the pages of Russell D. Moore’s Adopted for Life since it has been awhile since I’ve read it and I think my wife and I are becoming increasingly pulled in that direction (to adopt! not give our kids up!). It’s a great book on the subject, if not the best.
C. J. Mahaney wrote the foreward to Moore’s book and I found a couple of his sentences on the sovereignty of God and his own response to God’s grace that I thought I’d share it. He writes,
“I didn’t even realize [my serious sin condition] until my friend Bob began to share with me the good news that Christ died for my sins. As I listened, God opened my heart to understand and believe the gospel. I turned from my sin and trusted in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for my sins. In that moment, I was adopted into a new family. God the righteous Judge became my merciful Father.” (p. 13).
I appreciated this brief statement because it highlights both the sovereign work of God (“God opened my heart to understand and believe the gospel”) and human responsibility (Bob shared the gospel with C. J., C. J. turned from his sin and trusted in Christ).
No matter what perspective we come from, I think we need to be careful not to ignore these two central concepts, especially since to elevate one and to ignore the other puts us on very dangerous ground.
What do you think? Have you struggled with these two tensions?
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.