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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Marco Gonzalez

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  • « Election and Reprobation | Main | The Doctrine of God and Creation by Louis Berkhof »

    God’s Sovereignty Part 1 by Marco Gonzalez

    god-is-totally-sovereign.jpg

    Over the past few months, I have been studying God’s absolute, complete, authoritative sovereignty. This is a glorious truth that we don’t want to miss in our lives. A truth like this, sustains our devotion, faith, and affections toward God. I know of no greater truth that withstands the tragedies of life, than the precious truth of God’s sovereignty. In creation, fall, and redemption God is in complete control.


    William Cowper, author of “God Moves in Mysterious Ways,” was upheld and gravitated to this truth. Cowper struggled severely with depression, anxiety, and fears his whole life. He had attempted suicide several times. One night, in the midst of severe depression, he planned to drown himself in a river. On that particular evening, fog covered the city and the cab driver was unable to see. He believed that he had driven Cowper to his destination, the river. But when Cowper stepped out, he was at the front door of his home. There is no doubt in my mind, and hopefully in Cowper’s as well, that God caused the fog. The fog engulfed the night sky and left the cab driver unaware of his direction.

    You see, God’s omnipotence and omniscience controls everything. His power and knowledge are infallible. Who can say to him, “What have you done?” God is the creator, we are the creature. Job, like all of us, realized that no purpose of God can be thwarted. The sovereignty of God is not always an easy doctrine to accept; however, it is a firm foundation which we place our faith on. God does not merely foreknow events that will take place based on human volition; he ordains them.

    If God simply foreknows every event, according to human volition, then his power is limited by events, people, and actions. How can God who is above all, transcends above all, and surpasses above all be subject to human determination? Yet, this can’t logically and biblically be a coherent case for God’s sovereignty. When an event or action comes to pass, including human decisions, God must provide the means. This is, both meticulous and enormous. For example, if God knows that Peter will betray and deny him three times, it must come to pass. Even if God foreknows Peter’s future choice, he must still bring to pass all small and large events leading into Peter’s denial. Once Peter is created his denial is inevitable. In fact, before Peter was even born, his betrayal was determined. If God could prevent sin and chooses not to, then did he not ordain it to happen? I do not see how anyone, including my readers who disagree can object to this argument. God must orchestrate his will upon individuals, interactions with people, and small details. In other words, by limiting Peter’s choice, God accomplishes his will. If God did not ordain these things, then there is the possibility Peter would not deny him and God will be fallible.


    Consider redemption history throughout scripture. How many events, leaders, nations, and prophecies did God have to bring to pass, which would ultimately lead to Christ? My purpose, however, is not to explain divine sovereignty and human responsibility, which I will at a later time. Of first importance, is to observe God’s control of all things.


    1. Control over Nature

    From natural calamities to the falling of a sparrow God exercises his complete authority.

    Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (Matt 10:29)

    The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. (Prov 16:33)

    Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? (Amos 3:6)

    These are just a few texts that point to God’s absolute control of nature. Or consider Jesus, who stopped a storm by three words (Mark 4:39). There are no storms, earthquakes, massive destruction, or even death, which is outside of God’s command.



    2. Human Actions


    God’s sovereignty even extends to the affairs of men. Cyrus, who allowed the temple to be rebuilt, was under the complete control and will of God. Joseph’s preservation of Israel, along with his rise in power, was all determined by God. All ordained by God, in spite of, human affairs. This also includes the sinful actions of men. Again, if God’s foreknowledge is based on human volition, and yet he still permits sinful actions to occur, how can we not say he has ordained them? Simply put, human volition does not answer the question of God’s sovereignty, but raises more questions.

    For example:

    I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

    In all of redemptive history, the most heinous, monstrous, scandalous sinful act of man was the death of Christ. Yet, the scriptures attest, God’s authoritative, sovereign right, and efficacious purposes.


    For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. (Acts 4:27-28)


    Every OT and NT writer affirmed the sovereign hand of God and exhorted believers to do the same. In all things God is preeminent.

    Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-15)

    There are many more passages, vindicating God’s sovereign hand, but for our purposes I believe these suffice. It is undeniable, considering scripture as authoritative, to avoid God’s absolute control of history and nature. God ordains the whole course of history and nature is grounded in his wise immutable will. His knowledge, naturally, is grounded in his omniscience, which presupposes universal knowledge. Consider, for example, God as the author of a story. As author, he determines all chapters, knows the beginning to end, and dictates the progression of the story line.

    As his collective people-- the church, we take part in this story. God has written the narrative of our lives, which come to fruition through obedience and faith. We have a God whose knowledge is exhaustive. What a wonderful truth! Of course, there are many more issues that arise from what has been stated. I will address these apparent inconsistencies or concerns in subsequent posts. For now, let us praise God, as controller, as sustainer, as Lord!

    Posted by Marco on April 15, 2014 02:05 PM

    Comments

    thanks for that, a really refreshing biblicaly accurate reminder, really needed that today.

    IS THE BIBLE THE FINAL AUTHORITY?

    Is the Bible the final authority in the faith and practice of the church of Christ?

    The Bible is not only the final authority, it is the only authority for faith and practice in the Lord's church.

    Contrary to God's word, many would contend that the Bible is superseded and or has been added to by other books. In example:
    1. The Roman Catechism.
    2. The Book of Mormon.
    3. The Watch Tower Bible.
    4. Various creed books of other denominations.
    5. Books that state that the Bible has been mistranslated, however, they have corrected the Scriptures for your consumption.

    THE BIBLE ALONE IS SCRIPTURE.

    2 Peter 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

    Prophecy of Scripture is not found in catechisms, creed books, books about the Bible or so-called books of new revelations from God. The Bible and the Bible alone is Scripture.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God......

    The apostle Paul did not say all catechisms, all creed books and all extra-Biblical writings are inspired by God.

    Matthew 22:29-32 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.....31 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God.

    Jesus told the Sadducees the Scriptures were spoken by God. Jesus never told anyone that creed books, catechisms, and other extra-Biblical writings were spoken by God. Jesus said, they did not understand the Scriptures.

    John 2:22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripturesand the word which Jesus and spoken.

    The disciples believed the Scriptures. They did not believe the man-made traditions of the elders or any other extra-Biblical writings.

    John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'

    Note; Jesus quotes the Scriptures as truth. Jesus never quoted man-made creed books, catechisms and other extra-Biblical writings as being from God.


    Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

    The Scripture has concluded that all are under SIN. The man-made traditions of the Pharisees, Sadducess, the elders, and the scribes did not conclude anything. The Scriptures are the only source for absolute truth.

    James 2:8 If, however, you are fulling the royal law according tothe Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself,"you are doing well.

    There is no place in the Bible that states you are doing well by keeping any law according to man-made catechisms, creed books, extra-Biblical revelation or any other laws outside of Scripture.

    John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, it is these that testify about Me.

    The Jews searched the Scriptures looking for eternal life. Jesus said that the Scriptures testified about Him. Jesus did not say man-made catechisms, creed books and other extra-Biblical books testified about Him.

    Acts 17:2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, and giving evidence that Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."

    The apostle Paul used the Scriptures to give evidence of the gospel of Christ. The apostle Paul did not teach from the Roman catechism, the Book of Mormon, the Watch Tower, or any denominational creed book. Paul did not reason from man-made books.

    Acts 17:10-12.....they received the word with great eagerness,examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

    The Bereans did not consult one single book of man-made traditions. The man-made traditions written by the elders and scribes were not searched in order to confirm the truth spoken by Paul and Silas. They searched the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone.

    2 Peter 3:15-16...our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters,speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    The apostles words and letters were Scriptures. The words of the prophets were Scriptures. The words of Jesus were Scriptures. The words of God were Scriptures. The words of extra-Biblical catechisms, creed books, and so-called new revelations are not SCRIPTURES.

    The apostles and prophets of God are all dead. They not giving any new Scriptures.

    God was silent 400 years between the Old and New Covenant. God has been silent since the apostles died.
    THERE ARE NO NEW SCRIPTURES.


    THE SCRIPTURES ARE FOUND IN THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE.

    (All Scripture quoted from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)


    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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