Romans 11:32 (NIV)
For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
One of the most stubborn questions men ask about God is how can a good God allow evil and suffering. The implication is that God could have made everything good and made all men to go to heaven. My answer to this question has always been that God gave man a free will so that man would have a choice to love Him or not. This necessarily creates the potential for evil. Although this is true, after contemplating this verse, I think such a description gives man too much credit in making the right choice. I want to reexamine the question of why God allows evil.
A sovereign God can do whatever he pleases but lets examine what he actually did. First, we find that evil and sin is present within every man. Some might argue that man is basically good, but every man looking deep into his heart will know that there resides within him wrong desires and motivations. Secondly we find that all men do not desire to trust God. So, we can assume that not all men are saved. But God offers the free gift of salvation to all men and the fact that some do not accept this gift makes the offer no less universal. We conclude then that the purpose of God in making all men bound to sin was that he might set them free. This way, He gets the glory. But how does God justify mercy for all? No judge would ever be just if he let every guilty person go free. It cannot be on the basis of man's choice to accept mercy. There is no merit in that. A gift, although free for the recipient, must be purchased by the giver.
You know the answer. Jesus paid the price of justice on the cross dying in our stead. This is such wonderfully good news that it is shouting time! That is what Paul does in the very next verses.
Romans 11:33-36 (NIV)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.