“Providence does not mean that we have no free will. God’s providence does not rule out human freedom. Providence is not opposed to cooperation with God. Providence does not mean we are off the hook or that we have no sense of responsibility when it comes to spiritual growth. Rather, we cooperate with God as we grow in our faith by practicing spiritual disciplines or the means of grace.”
If the Apostle Paul had perceived all his challenges as God closing a door, he wouldn’t have undertaken most of his missionary journeys.
In this particular letter, Jeremiah becomes the linkage between God’s promises for yet-to-be newness and the embittered exiles who are certain that they are unfairly suffering for the sins of previous generations. A creative proverb was gaining popularity among these disenfranchised refugees—everybody was sharing it on their Facebook wall: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
But that isn’t how it works. People come to Christ every day and every day people resist the grace of God. Not only that, but every day people make horrible choices against the will of God that limit the length or joy of their lives.
Our behavior matters. If I smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, it will affect the length and joy of my life. To persist in such behavior isn’t God’s will, and our behavior matters to God. As Moses said to the Israelites, we have two choices before us — blessings and curses, life and death. “Choose life, that you might live.”
The significance of this dynamic view of God’s grace, as present and active at every stage of the moral life, cannot be overestimated. Whether we are responding in love to our neighbor or whether we are responding in love to God, it is the power of God’s grace that enables the thought, word, or action itself.
John Paul points out a deeper solitude which is rooted in our very being. Man stands incomplete and alone in the universe. In a sense, Adam is “incomplete” unless he discovers the deeper communion into which God calls him and us.
God’s will is absolutely the best that can happen to us under any circumstance. Cooperating with God doesn’t produce hardship, but harmony. God’s will is not intended to cause problems but to produce power that cannot come to us outside of God’s will.
“Now some Calvinists clearly understand the logic of their position, and do not shrink from this implication. Classic Calvinist theologian Arthur W. Pink wrote: ‘when we say God is sovereign in the exercise of His love, we mean that He loves whom He chooses. God does not love everybody.’”
“Like divine sovereignty, predestination is not a Calvinist doctrine, it is a biblical doctrine. And indeed, as a theologian steeped in Scripture, Wesley not only affirmed the doctrine, he affirmed a very strong version of it…”
“Be assured that hell does not exist because God is stomping his feet like a little child saying, “do it my way or else!” God is the most loving, wonderful being in the cosmos. He has made us for a purpose: to relate to him and others lovingly. We are not accidents, we are not random mistakes.”