Something I have been thinking about today is regrets. Do you have any? I do, but I also believe that all things are predestined to be just as they are, so then how do I reconcile the two, regrets and predestination? Why would I regret something if it happened just as God predestined it to happen? And I know that God always knows best.
The Apostle Paul went about killing christians before his eyes were opened to see the Lord Jesus. Surely he had regrets about that and the people he influenced. You could say maybe he reconciled his regrets by knowing that the christians just went home to be with the Lord (and they did, I believe), but what of the left behind family members? What about children that lost parents because of Paul's destruction and then grew up and never came to know Christ because they didn't have that parent around to instruct them. Maybe I'm reaching a little bit here, but that sounds like a reasonable regret for Paul to have to me, .....even though it was the Lord's will.
This is somewhat like the correlation of reconciling God's sovereignty with our responsibility. We are responsible, yet God is sovereign over all things. This has always puzzled me a bit, even though I believe both are true. It can seem to make sense that if we are responsible, we then must be free. Vincent Cheung, a man that I like to read sometimes, says we are responsible because God is sovereign, NOT because we are free.
This is an interesting quote from Vincent Cheung in his article 'The Author of Sin':
Moral responsibility (or accountability) has to do with whether God has decided to judge us; it has no direct relationship with whether we are free. In fact, if we were free from God but not judged by God, then we would still not be morally responsible (or accountable). In other words, moral responsibility does not presuppose human freedom, but it presupposes divine sovereignty. We are responsible not because we are free, but we are responsible precisely because we are not free.
I have to read that a few times to rap my brain around it, but it helps me to understand. We are responsible because God says we are, like it or not. God can do whatever he wants to do. He is the creator and we are his creatures.
Romans 9:17-21 says:
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Oh, may he be pleased to have mercy on me.