The Sovereignty of God

The Sovereignty of
My Will be done
Thy Will be done?
Does God Control All Things?
God :
 knows everything about everyone
 is never taken by surprise
 is in control of all that happens (?)
 plans / planned all that happens
 Did not send Jesus as “Plan B” after Adam sinned
 is the Author of our salvation. (Not us!)
Can we do anything to save ourselves?
 at times acts in ways we cannot understand
 knows who will be saved
Did Jesus die for all, whether believe on Him or not?
A bit of History
 Early church – very simple doctrinal views
 Errors  doctrinal statements
 Pelagius, (5th C. Briton) : obligation implies
ability – God doesn’t command impossible
 Augustine recognised heresy
 Pelagius condemned by Council of
Carthage : A.D. 412, confirmed A.D. 418
 A.D. 431 Eastern Church also censured
Pelagians in General Synod at Ephesus
The Problem
 Does God cause events or just foreknow
 What’s the difference?
 What do we mean by predestination?
 Are some people destined to be saved / lost?
 How much free will does man really have?
Calvin & Arminius
 John Calvin (1509-1564) – French theologian,
worked in Geneva to reform Church
 Influenced by Augustinian doctrine – famous
for teaching on predestination
 Jacobus Arminius (Jakob Hermanzoon),
1560-1609; professor at University of Leyden
 Arminius: "the grace sufficient for salvation is
conferred on the Elect, and on the Non-elect;
that, if they will, they may believe or not
believe, may be saved or not be saved."
Calvinism & Arminianism
Sinner, can do good
& respond to God
God elects on basis
of foreseen faith
Christ died for all
Man can resist God
Believer may lose
Man unable of self to
respond to God
God elects according
to His good pleasure
Christ died for Elect
Irresistible election
Elect can never lose
TULIP – 5 points
1. Total Depravity - Original sin means all
human beings are incapable of being good.
2. Unconditional Election - God chooses people
on His own grounds. (Predestination)
3. Limited Atonement - Jesus died to redeem
only those God chose to save
4. Irresistible Grace - God causes those whom
He chooses to accept His grace
5. Perseverance - Once someone has been saved
by God, he cannot lose his salvation.
Roses & Lilacs
R=Radical Depravity
L=Limited Depravity
O=Overcoming Grace
I=I Choose Christ
S=Sovereign Election
L=Limitless Atonement
E=Eternal Life
A=Arrestible Grace
S=Singular Redemption C=Carnal Security
The Good, Bad & Ugly
 Good: Salvation not up to us – God’s doing
 Bad: Confused with fatalism & excuse for
 Ugly: Often leads to name-calling & fights
 God doesn’t play with scales!
 God sees no-one as righteous apart from
Jesus – all fallen short; all deserve hell!
 What about free will & “making a decision”?
 God can accomplish whatever He desires
 Foreknowledge better than predestination?
 If God knows, it’s as certain to happen anyway
 Human Responsibility versus Election
 Cf. both ideas in same chapter – John 6.
 “It’s not fair!”
 Paul’s response in Rom 9:19 -21 – see also Isa.
45:9; Jer. 18:1-12
Additional Thoughts
 2 truths of this mystery often side by side
 Believe because elected / elected because
 John 6 shows divine sovereignty in verses
37, 44, and 65
 Human responsibility is emphasised in
verses 29, 35, 40, & 47