Study 2 – All Christians Believe In The Sovereignty Of God?

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Daniel 4:34-35 – His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing [compared to Him]. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (NIV 1984)

If there is there is anything (as small as one maverick molecule) that happens outside the foreordination of God, it therefore happens outside the sovereignty of God. Nothing can happen apart from the sovereignty of God. This includes the efficacious (having the power to produce a desired effect) and permissive (having the power to prevent an undesirable effect) will of God. Permitting something to happen does not necessarily mean He approves of or sanctions it. If anything were to happen outside that sovereignty of God, then God would not be sovereign and thus would not be God.

The question is: if God is sovereign, and if man is fallen, how can He allow people to perish? Does this mean that God is not sovereign (cannot prevent people from perishing) or He is not good (chooses to allow people to perish)? This “dilemma” ignores that fact that God is also totally righteous and just.

No Opportunity For Anyone – God could decide to not give anyone who has fallen an opportunity for salvation. The only objection would be that God is just. God is not obligated to be merciful, because mercy is not an obligation. Justice can be owed but mercy is not obligatory. But God did not choose this.

Just An Opportunity For Some or All – God could provide an opportunity for some or everyone to be saved. But there would be no guarantee anyone would be saved.

Ensures Some or All – God could exercise His sovereignty and ensure the salvation of some or everybody. God did not choose to ensure the salvation of everyone (universalism). This is not Biblical, because we know many will indeed perish. Some will be lost (particularism).

So, we are left with either God provides the opportunity for some or all the fallen to be saved (Arminianism) or He intervenes to ensure the salvation of some of the fallen (Calvinism).

The question is: Does God provide an opportunity for some or all, or does He ensure the salvation of only some?

The primary objection to Calvinism is that it would not be fair for God to ensure the salvation of some but not all. But this is also a problem for Arminianism, because all God does is provide an opportunity (when it is within His power to ensure). Thus, the argument goes there is more of God’s mercy being demonstrated in Calvinism than there is in Arminianism, because there is no assurance that any will take the opportunity.

Arminianism – The opportunity for salvation is given to all, but not all will take it.

  • Calvinism – The salvation of some (but not all) are ensured.

The questions are: Is it an injustice if God ensures the salvation of some but not all the fallen? Or, is God being more merciful by ensuring the salvation of some rather than just an opportunity?

ll are fallen and in rebellion against God. Some are saved, and some are lost. The saved get mercy, the lost get justice. No one gets injustice. Mercy is not justice and it is not injustice. It is non-justice.

Getting back to the so-called dilemma. If God gave some mercy and some injustice, His goodness could be called into question. But God gives some mercy and He gives others justice. So, His goodness cannot be called into question. No one has been or ever will be the object of injustice at the hands of God.

Notes from: Chosen by God, R.C. Sproul

God’s Foolishness

1 Corinthians 1:25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – This is the age of science and knowledge. But if it contradicts God’s Word, then it is foolishness.

My Advice – Don’t become too impressed with the wisdom of philosopher’s, educators and scientists. Their greatest wisdom is foolishness to God.

A Refuge in Times of Trouble

Nahum 1:7 – The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We should be thankful that we are able to take refuge in God. We can trust in His goodness. We can believe that He will take care of us. No trouble is bigger than His ability to take care of it.

My Advice – When you are in trouble, trust God and take refuge in Him. He is good and will care for you.


A God Who Relents

Jonah 4:3 – “I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Many times we feel that God is just waiting to come down hard on us. He would rather not have to do that. His grace and compassion is greater than anything we could do, and if we confess our sin and return to Him, He will relent from bringing harsh discipline into our lives.

My Advice – Thank God often for the grace, love and compassion He shows you. Be especially thankful following times of rebellion, after you’ve returned to Him. You can never know how much calamity He may have spared you from because you’ve retuned to Him.

Rend, Return & Relent

Joel 2:13Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Grace, compassion, long-suffering, overflowing in love, reluctant to punish. Just the opposite image that most have of how God is stereotypically viewed in the Old Testament. But there is no old and new to God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

My Advice – Live your life in such a manner that God can show you grace, compassion and love. When you do fall into sin, be quick to repent and ask for His forgiveness. If you are quick, and because God is slow to anger and does not want to have to discipline you more than necessary, you will receive grace, love and compassion anew.

Who Indeed?

Jeremiah 49:19 – “Who is like Me and who can challenge Me?” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – No one is like God. No one can thwart His plans. He has a plan for us. A plan to make us like His Son. Who can challenge our inheritance or our eternal destiny? No one, because it is God that secures it.

My Advice – It may seem at times, that the whole world is against you. At those times, look up. You are the child of the King. No one is like Him and no one can challenge Him. He also takes care of His children.

Near & Far Away

Jeremiah 23:23, 24 – “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – This should give us both fear and comfort. Fear that our thoughts and actions, whether or not done in secret, are laid bare before a Holy God. But comfort too, that He is never too far away that He cannot give us aid in time of need.

My Advice – Make it your goal, and so live your life, that this is a verse that comforts you and does not cause you to fear.