God is good toward all who accept His goodness. And for those who reject His goodness, there’s nothing that even the Almighty God can do if He’s going to allow man his free will—and I believe in free will. Free will was given as a gift of God—He’s given us a little provisional sovereignty out of His absolute sovereignty. He has said, “I’ll allow you, within a little framework, to be your own boss and to choose to go to heaven or to hell.” If a man will not take God’s goodness, then he must have God’s severity toward all who continue in moral revolt against the throne of God and in rebellion against the virtuous laws of God.
A. W. Tozer and David E. Fessenden, The Attributes of God: A Jouney into the Father’s Heart, vol. 1 (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2003–), 48.
God’s sovereignty means that He is in control of everything, that He planned everything from the beginning. Man’s free will means that he can, anytime he wants, make most any choice he pleases (within his human limitations, of course). Man’s free will can apparently defy the purposes of God and will against the will of God. Now how do we resolve this seeming contradiction? (p. 149)
Calvinists teach that if man is free to make a choice, then God is not sovereign. What Tozer contends is that God can do anything He pleases. And one thing He pleases to do is to give us freedom of choice. When I exercise my freedom of choice, even if I make it against God, I am fulfilling the will of God, because I am acting the way God created me. Joshua 24:15 (“Choose you this day whom ye will serve”) proves it.
Tozer is probably too Calvinist for the Arminians, and too Arminian for the Calvinists. “But I’m happy in the middle,” he says. “I believe in the sovereignty of God and in the freedom of man” (p. 151).
His idea is that the small circle of man’s freedom is permitted within the vast circle of God’s sovereignty, and he explains it with an illustration of a transatlantic ocean liner going from New York to Liverpool, England. The passengers on the ship have a certain amount of freedom—they aren’t chained to the deck or anything. But the captain is going to make sure they arrive in Liverpool, and there’s nothing the passengers have to say about it. “In the same way, you and I have our little lives… . We’ve got a little freedom, all right, but remember, we can’t change God Almighty’s course” (p. 152).
When man fell, it looked like he was lost forever. But God brought the second Adam—Jesus Christ—and started over again. God always has His way.
God wanted to take His people to the Promised Land. Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go; God sent the plagues and got His people out. He always has His way.
When Jesus was born, He was one tiny baby against the whole Roman Empire. Before too long, the Roman Empire had collapsed, but that baby became the Man who died for all mankind and is worshiped by believers around the world.
Joseph Stalin, an early leader of the Soviet Union, once boasted, “We will pull that bearded god out of the sky.” But by the time Tozer was preaching this, Stalin was dead, and today the Soviet Union does not even exist.
Tozer concludes his examples of the unalterable progress of God’s will with Revelation 4:1–3. The rainbow that circles the throne, he says, represents immortality and endlessness. “No one can destroy God” (p. 156).
A. W. Tozer and David E. Fessenden, The Attributes of God: Study Guide, vol. 2 (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2003–), 79–82.