God's Counsels and Man's Responsibility

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The counsel and foreknowledge of God in no way lessen the responsibility of men, though superficial minds may be disposed to think so. For example: Long even before Isaac was born, God told Abraham that his seed should be strangers in a land that was not theirs, and be held down and oppressed four hundred years. Their stay in Egypt, therefore, was foreseen. Now God can, if He please, make the devices of evil men work out His ways. In saying this we do not mean that He originates them; for that would make Him the author of evil, which could never be. In process of time the brethren of Joseph conspired against him, and he was sold as a slave and carried down to Egypt, whither Jacob and the rest subsequently followed. Thus, by their hateful devices, they helped to fulfill that which had been foreseen and foretold. But did that excuse their evil deed? Not at all. God's hand was not in their wickedness, though He made it subserve His ends—a very different thing.
So with the putting to death of the Lord Jesus. He was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, but this did not make those who crucified Him less responsible. God certainly did not move their hearts to do this—the devil did—but He made Satan's malice and man's hatred to work out His counsel, thus showing His wisdom, and leaving them wholly responsible for their deeds.