William Henley wrote the poem “Invictus” in 1875. The last stanza goes like this: “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” Some quote the poem to express persistence during trials. Others quote it to express their belief that God does not exist to whom we must give account. The Bible makes it clear that while we humans do have freedom of choice, God reserves the right to overrule our choices to carry out His purposes. The Apostle Paul discussed this issue in his letter to the Romans. His critics questioned whether Jesus could be the promised Messiah since so few Jews accepted Him as such. Paul answered his critics this way: God is sovereign and retains the right to do as He pleases. He argues that even though we humans have free will and are indeed responsible for the choices we make, God can still overrule us and fulfill His purpose and plans. Unlike the attitude expressed by the poet, we do not have the last word concerning our fate, nor are we the captain of our souls. Paul asks a sobering question to those who complain about God’s absolute rule, “Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God?” The only correct response we should have toward God’s sovereign will is this: We should submit to Him and seek to do what pleases Him.
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