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The Sovereignty of God

13 March, 2007 (5:45pm) | Blog | No comments

(Note: I did not actually write this article, I used several different sources and combined different parts of them to form a separate idea. Hopefully you find it interesting and helpful. If you notice anything that is theologically incorrect I would love to hear what you have to say.)

What does the term “Sovereignty of God” mean?
This simply refers to the fact that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens in this Universe without His direction or permission. He is a God Who works, not just some things, but all things after the counsel of His own will.

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,”
Ephesians 1:11

God’s purpose is all-inclusive and is never thwarted.

“From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.”
Isaiah 46:11

Nothing Takes Him by Surprise

“It is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things but that He does so always and without exception.” – John Piper

God can either bestow salvation on any of the children of men, or refuse it. God was not obliged to promise that he would save all who believe in Christ.

“But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me…”
Galations 1:15-16b

But I thought God gave us a free will, to choose Him or not.
Yes, Man has a will and that will has a certain freedom. Our Lord clearly teaches that man has a power of choice. Every man has the ability to choose his own words, to decide what his actions will be. We have a faculty of self-determination in the sense that we select our own thoughts, words, and deeds. Man is free to choose what he prefers, what he desires.

God never forces men to act against their wills. By workings of outward providence or of inward grace, the Lord may change men’s minds, but He will not coerce a human being into thoughts, words or actions.

However, because of man’s fall in Adam, given the choice, the will of man is constrained or in bondage to his sin nature. In other words, by his fallen nature he is willfully inclined to choose evil. So there really is no, either/or. Man is answerable for his acts and decisions because he was created in the image of God, and God’s sovereignty in no way negates that responsibility.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Jeremiah 17:9

What hope have we, then, if it is impossible to choose good?
According to the Bible, human existence is fundamentally flawed. We have profoundly self-destructive tendencies. We are so incurably foolish that, left to ourselves, we would ultimately destroy ourselves and everything around us. That is the tragic consequence of human sinfulness. So what does the future hold? Will I ever escape my own self-destruction? Can I ever be rescued from myself? Is there any hope? Or is despair all that remains?

Yes, we have hope. Because of humanity’s total depravity, God of necessity, in eternity past, chose certain people to be saved. There was nothing inherently better or different about the chosen people which caused God to choose them. God was totally free in His decision to show grace and mercy to some sinners who deserved nothing but His wrath. This is, in essence, the doctrine of Unconditional Election.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
John 15:16

When you realize that your salvation is all of God, your perspective begins to change. No longer will you chalk up your Christian faith to the fact that you had the sense to exercise your free will and believe in Christ when so many others around you went on persistently in their sins. You realize now, that if God had left you to your free will it would have taken you straight to hell. No, the fact that you are a Christian today has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with Him. God’s sovereign grace laid hold of you when you had no love for Him.

So how should we respond?
As the apostle Paul considered God’s sovereign grace in election it caused him to burst forth in praise,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved”
Ephesians 1:3-6

And again at the conclusion of Paul’s discussion of God’s sovereign plan for Israel in Romans chapters nine, ten and eleven, he bursts out in spontaneous praise,

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?’ For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen”
Romans 11:33-36

The truth of God’s sovereign grace should leave us overwhelmed. All we can do is bow in the dust and give all the glory to our awe-inspiring God.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ”
Romans 5:8

“Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.”
Psalm 150

This article was mostly edited, abridged, and otherwise copied and pasted together — with a few interjections of my own — from the following sources:
*The Bible
*http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Reformed-Theology/Sovereignty-of-God/
*http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/whyevangelize.shtml
*http://www.ccel.org/e/edwards/sermons/gssm.html
*http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/freewill_chantry.html
*http://www.solidr ock.net/library/anderson/books/overwhelmed/chapter_8.php
*http://www.gospeloutreach.net/unconditional_election.html

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