The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility
Adam and Eve in the garden.
Genesis 3:8–12 CSB
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:17–19 CSB
And he said to the man, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”
The story of Joseph
Genesis 50:15–21 CSB
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, “If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the suffering we caused him.” 16 So they sent this message to Joseph, “Before he died your father gave a command: 17 ‘Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers’ transgression and their sin—the suffering they caused you.’ Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when their message came to him. 18 His brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
The cross of Christ.
Isaiah 53:1–6 CSB
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. 6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:10 CSB
Yet the LORD was pleased to crush him severely. When you make him a guilt offering, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and by his hand, the LORD’s pleasure will be accomplished.
Acts 2:22–24 CSB
“Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. 24 God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death.
Acts 2:36 CSB
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
God’s sovereignty and prayer
God has commanded us to pray.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 4:2 CSB
Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
1 Timothy 2:1–4 CSB
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Prayer is a means through which God has chosen to accomplish His perfect will.
James 5:16 CSB
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
Matthew 21:22 ESV
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
We pray because God is sovereign.
“Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes, But while God’s sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of that trust.” ~ Jerry Bridges