The sovereign God, part 2
Last week, I talked about how the sovereign God rightfully and justly does as He pleases with His creation. He is in control of all things; not one particle is outside His control. To some angels, He bestowed the honor of continually praising Him. To others, He gave the ability to follow their own desires and rebel against their creator. For man, there will be two outcomes: the lost and the saved. God must allow those who will be saved to hear the gospel, and He must soften their hearts to place their hope and trust in Him alone. Some will hear the gospel and others will not, but God must bring their dead souls to life. This brings us to a few more questions.
If God created angels and man knowing they would sin, did God author sin? God sovereignly ordains all things that come to pass, even bad things. This is not to say that God approves all things that happen. Clearly, God cannot approve of sin; otherwise, He would not be the holy god as shown in scripture. In His sovereignty, God allowed the angels and Adam to fall. He also held them responsible for their actions by allowing them to be in their sinful state, dead spiritually, and separating them from the intimacy they once knew with God.
How is the sinner reconciled? There are a few questions that can and have been asked for some time to help us with this. We will consider three different scenarios.
First, what if God did not reconcile one single lost person to Himself? He could have decided He would not save anyone and punish everyone for all eternity. Would God be right and just if He saved no one? Absolutely. He is God, and He does not owe salvation to anyone. Second, what if God provided an opportunity for some or all to be saved? There would be no guarantee that anyone would be saved, but there is at least an opportunity for salvation. Third, what if God forces His hand, providing an opportunity and ensuring some people’s salvation? God sovereignly saves some but not all. Does God have the power to do this? Sure.
I think we can eliminate the first option that God would not save anyone. What would be the point of Christ’s death? The second option that God gives the opportunity to some, or all, leaves us scratching our head. People will cry out, “That isn’t fair.” God should give everyone the opportunity, right? If He isn’t ensuring that they will be saved, then what does it matter if He gives some the opportunity but not others? We all know that even in this day of information at our fingertips, some people on this earth have never heard the name of Jesus. Therefore, without the gospel, they have no power of salvation. Just having heard the gospel isn’t enough to bring about salvation. If God is going to bring salvation, then He must do the work. The sinner must be born of the spirit, and that is a work of God. We see in Matthew 7 that not everyone is saved because eternal life is referenced as the narrow gate, and few people find it.
Therefore, God must have decided before the foundation of the world who He would work His spirit into for salvation, according to Ephesians 1:4. He would ensure that His sovereign will would be accomplished in the life of some, but not in the life of others. God isn’t a fortune teller that can see who will and who won’t place their faith in Him. That would be salvation based on works – if He saw Jane Doe searching for God, then placing her heart in humble submission to Him and trusting in Him for salvation. But God is in sovereign control of all things – even salvation.
Why should man be upset that God does as He pleases? Daniel 2:21 says that He controls all time and seasons, all rulers are placed by Him, and He gives knowledge to whom He pleases. So much more precious are those that are His children; He will make sure that His sovereign will to save them is carried out.
The Psalmists are wholly convinced of the sovereignty of God, and so should we be. In Psalm 115:3, the Psalmist sings, “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that he pleases,” (ESV). To God be the glory forever and ever.