From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Theologians have debated for centuries about God’s absolute control over everything versus mankind’s freedom to act on its own.
The question people long to have answered is whether everything that happens to us is already determined by God. Or do we have the ability to carry out plans on our own, regardless of what God hoped would happen?
The Bible teaches both God’s sovereignty and our human responsibility. To us, this sounds like a contradiction—and one I don’t believe we’ll fully understand until we get to Heaven. Until that day, we need to hold firmly to both truths: God is in control of everything, but we also are responsible for our actions.
Why is this important? The Apostle Paul stresses that God is working behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes. “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV).
We draw comfort from the fact that God is at work—even if we can’t fully understand it now. We must also realize that we are responsible for decisions we make. There are consequences we will experience when we go against God’s will. This is the importance of asking the Lord for His wisdom and guidance, and thanking Him that He indeed knows all things, is sovereign over all things, and is at work concerning His creation.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)