GOD IS SOVEREIGN
To understand terms like predestination, the elect and salvation, it is very important to first understand and to always remember that God is sovereign.
If you were to look up the word “sovereign” in the dictionary, you would find words and phrases like “superior,” “greatest,” “supreme in power and authority,” “ruler,” and “independent of all others” in its definition. But the way I like to explain God’s sovereignty best is simply to say, “God is in control.”
There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. As King of kings and Lord of lords, God has no limitations. Consider just a few of the claims the Bible makes about God:
- God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is immortal, and He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him (Revelation 21:6).
- God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16).
- God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Romans 11:33).
- God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
- God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. Even Satan himself has to ask God’s permission before he can act (Psalm 103:19).
That’s what being sovereign means. It means being the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. Only God can make those claims; therefore, it’s God’s sovereignty that makes Him superior to all other gods and makes Him, and Him alone, worthy of worship.
No doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than the truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride loathes the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, and rules over everything. The carnal mind, burning with enmity against God, abhors the biblical teaching that nothing comes to pass except according to His eternal decrees. Most of all, flesh hates the notion that salvation is entirely God’s work. If God chose who would be saved, and if His choice was settled before the foundation of the world, then believers deserve no credit for any aspect of their salvation.
But that is, after all, precisely what Scripture teaches. Even faith is God’s gracious gift to His elect. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father” (John 6:65). “Nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). Therefore no one who is saved has anything to boast about (Eph. 2:8-9). “Salvation is from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).