Over the years I attended "church," the "preachers" or "pastors" would talk of the great love and grace of God. At the same time, they would preach of our responsibility in order to receive this love and grace, or our need to choose Jesus and then be holy, or without sin, if we truly wanted to be "saved from "hell" ("eternal damnation") and not be separated from God's Love forever. The preachers would quote from the scriptures pertaining to the Love and grace of God (sovereign love), and then turn right around, in the next breath, and deny God's Love and Grace by preaching a works doctrine (legalism), which denies Jesus' sacrifice and is contrary to what the bible teaches.
I always left these once-a-week functions confused about God's forgiveness, love and grace, as well as my own salvation, and why wouldn't I have? I was receiving a religiously inspired and confused version of the truth about God, His sovereignty and what my responsibility really was, when it came to my righteous-standing in God's eyes.
The first issue, in my estimation, is, do we truly believe that God is sovereign and in charge of all that happens (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent), or is God dependent on His creation to carry out His will? If we believe, as most church doctrine preaches, that God's will can only be accomplished through man's religious beliefs ("doctrine") and actions ("free-will"), then we are lacking in the truth of God! God, is sovereign, which literally means, "One who exercises supreme, permanent authority..." Supreme, permanent authority! Does this sound like someone (God) who is in need of help from those (humanity) who, for all intents and purposes, are at the mercy of almost everything that exits around them, including nature? God, is sovereign in all ways, or we have no basis for believing in Him! Jesus, never said to his disciples, "Now I need you, and all others, to believe in me and what I told you, or the Father will not be able to carry out His will!" Nor did Jesus say, "If you choose me, then my Father will set you and all of creation free from bondage, and-together-we can then defeat Satan!" Instead, Jesus, said,
"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain..." John 15: 16
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end..." God, thought and spoke us and the whole universe into existence, through His son. Can any believer, in a rational way, truly believe that the Creator of all things has any need, whatsoever, for His created beings to carry out His will? I know I may be overemphasizing here, but if we can't comprehend this, then I'm not sure we can comprehend anything else about God, including the Christ and his sacrifice for us!
God's will and sovereignty will always trump our "free will," or choice, which will be the next subject in this series. In other words, our choices, bad or good, right or wrong, can never adversely effect or change the sovereign will of God! As with everything else about God, we must seek to know and understand Him through His word and Spirit that indwells us: "As many as our led by the spirit of God these are the sons of God." Romans 8: 14. To understand our righteousness (justification), security (salvation) and life (calling) in Christ, as well as God's forgiveness, love and grace, we must come to understand and believe that God is sovereign, and that His will shall be accomplished with or without us and our religious beliefs about Him!
We're justified by faith (forgiven), righteous in the eyes of God (through Jesus) and can never lose our salvation. This is what the word of God tells us, and this is by the sovereign will of God, which can't be altered or negated by man's religious doctrines!