There are many things in life that are either/or kinds of things. For example, either Jesus is the Son of God, or He isn’t. You either have money in the bank, or you don’t. You either like country music, or you are normal. There are also many things in life that are both/and kinds of things. They can be both/and because it can depend on the perspective from which you look at it. Truths that appear to be contradictory really aren’t, unless you take them to an extreme that excludes the possibility of the other.
This can be illustrated by a pendulum. If you aren’t sure what that is, just imagine a grandfather clock. That swingy thing is a pendulum. The pendulum has two extremes; all the way to the left, or all the way to the right. In politics we have the liberal left and the conservative right. People who seem to have a good grip on things are usually in the middle.
This picture works well in areas of theology as well. Some people focus heavily on the sovereignty of God. Others focus heavily on the sovereignty (or free will) of man. Yet the Bible clearly teaches both. Problems occur when one swings all the way to one extreme. When you take God’s sovereignty to the extreme, you have a God who causes people to sin, but that is contrary to scripture. When you take man’s sovereignty to the extreme, you have a God who is out of control and always having to compensate and adjust to what mankind does or chooses. That is also contrary to scripture. The truth of is seems to be in the middle. Some will operate to one side or the other of the middle, and that’s OK so long as it isn’t to the exclusion of Biblical truth. Is God sovereign, or man? Yes.
Sanctification; are we sanctified by what we do or by what Jesus has done? Yes.
The Gospel; is it about what Jesus has done or those who benefit from it? Yes.
The end times; do we need to be on the lookout for what is to come, or do we need to not worry about it and be about the Father’s business? Yes.
Do you need to do a pendulum check? Do you swing too far to one side or the other? Is it an either/or or an both/and issue? If you find yourself fighting a lot with other, or struggling with yourself on something, take a beat and do a pendulum check.