What is the Gospel? : Track #8

A Series of Studies on the foundational Doctrines of the Gospel

Part II He Chose Us (Ephesians 1:4)

II.5. The Will of God and Human Responsibility

1. God’s Right to Choose

a) Men argue that it is unjust for God to show mercy to some and reject others


  • God claims the right (Romans 9:15,16)
  • God exercises the right (Romans 9:17,18)

b) Men argue the doctrine is inconsistent with man’s freedom and responsibility


  • God is free as Creator and Sovereign
  • All men alike are exposed to wrath as willing sinners

2. Man’s Responsibility to Obey

a) The demand for balance

When asked to reconcile the two truths of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility, C.H.Spurgeon replied: “I wouldn’t try; I never reconcile friends!”

b) The dangers of imbalance

  • Ignore sovereignty: evangelistic manipulation
  • Ignore responsibility: evangelistic inactivity

“Election does not secure salvation without faith or holiness; rather through faith and holiness. But the means are decreed as much as the end.”

3. A Full Gospel

a) Man’s responsibility for rejection

  • If I reject God, that’s my fault

b) God’s responsibility for regeneration

  • If I come to God, that’s His doing

“Two facts show that you already believe God is sovereign in salvation. In the first place, you give God thanks for your conversion. Why do you do that? Because you know in your heart that God was entirely responsible for it. Secondly, you pray for the conversion of others. Do you limit yourselves to asking that God will bring them to a point where they can save themselves? No! you pray in categorical terms that God will, quite simply and decisively, save them. J.I.Packer: “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God”

Brian Watts is Pastor of The King's Community Church and lives in Langley with his wife Rosalind.
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