God Is Kind

Paolo Veronese (Caliari), Christ and the Woman with the Issue of Blood, 1565-70 AD

The freedom God gives us to receive Him in our lives raises another classic problem, the apparent conflict between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. This problem of freedom has confounded theologians and skeptics alike throughout human history. However, the problem ultimately stems from flawed human logic and ignorance of God’s Word.

The problem of freedom asks the question, doesn’t God’s sovereignty violate human choice? In a word, no. One of the great wonders of our is how He sovereignly carries out His plan of salvation for the whole world and still allows us to choose our reject His presence in our lives. And yet, the Bible is clear that God does allow us that freedom.

Concerning human will, the Bible is clear that every person is a slave to sin. Spiritually, everyone serves someone. On the surface, we have five options: God, Satan, another person, a world system, or self. But behind the scenes, there are really only two options: God or not-God. And everything not of God is sin. Further, our natural condition is to serve our own selfish interests. As Romans 3:10-12 explains,

There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.

The inherent selfishness of humanity is easily observed in babies. Babies cry to have their needs met—eating, changing, sleeping, and so forth—without regard for the needs of interests of their parents or caretakers. Of course, as infants, this is entirely acceptable. But as babies grow into toddlers, walking and talking, do they naturally begin sharing their toys and obeying their parents? Of course not! These things have to be taught. Humans are naturally selfish, imposing our will on others in pursuit of our own self interests. Kindness and selfless generosity go against human nature.

But if we sin because God made us this way, doesn’t that mean it’s His fault, not ours? Of course not! God made us with the inherent need for His presence so that we would seek Him. But, as previously noted, Adam and Eve, representing all humanity, chose to rebel against God and pursue a life apart from Him. But make note, their rebellion wasn’t an isolated incident. History has shown time and time again that, instead of seeking God, we deny our need for Him. As Romans 1:20-21 explains,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

But God does not give up on us. He never stops inviting us to be reconciled with Him by believing in Jesus. As Jesus explains in John 6:44,

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.

This verse says that everyone who comes to Jesus comes because God draws them.[1] How? As Jesus explains later to the disciples, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. As John 16:8-11 says,

When He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of fallen humanity about sin. This conviction illuminates our hearts to our sinful condition and our need for a savior. This is the kindness of God drawing us to Himself, leading us to repentance. As Romans 2:4 says,

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (NLT)

As the Holy Spirit illuminates our hearts, God empowers us to freely choose to believe in, or reject, Jesus Christ. And it is when we choose to believe in Jesus that we become children of God (John 1:12), who frees us from the power of sin (John 8:34-36) and gives us new life in His Son (2 Corinthians 5:16-17).

[1] Some Christians misinterpret John 6:44, teaching that God only invites some people to believe in Jesus and receive salvation. But that’s reading a meaning into the verse that it doesn’t say. John 6:44 doesn’t say that everyone whom the Father draws will come to Jesus. The verse only says that that everyone who comes to Jesus is first drawn by the Father.

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