Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Glorious Sovereignty of our God

On Monday I will conduct a short orientation for the teachers of our school, Westminster Christian Academy. I will spend time explaining how the sovereignty of God is a key consideration for Reformed Christians- a biblical truth we cherish. I have found A.W. Pink's book, "The Sovereignty of God", to be very helpful when explaining this doctrine. Here's a synopsis of Pink's opening remarks:

1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

“The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in religious literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God’s sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas! that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology, should be so sadly neglected and so little understood.” -A.W. Pink

The sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression?

- We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God.

- To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God.

- To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou?

Daniel 4:35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

- To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will .

Psalm 115: 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

- To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is "The Governor among the nations", setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best.

Psalm 22:28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

- To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the "Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords"

1 Timothy 6:14-15 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

Such is the God of the Bible...or none could be saved.


William Perry Guilkey said...

"The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. . . But, today, to make mention of God’s sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue."

I see those words and realize that they were written nearly a century ago and I wonder what Reverend Pink would say today! I come from a very Arminian background and this doctrine is new and challenging to me but I do absolutely believe it. To finally understand (to a small degree)the truth of "radical (total) depravity" makes me know that this doctrine is true. I am completely incapable of taking one step towards Christ in my state of "spiritual death." God's sovereignty is my only hope. Once I have had the "salvation issue" settled, (or have "closed with Christ" as the Puritans said), the doctrine takes on new meaning. Every breath I take and every step I walk is total under the control of God. This should give me peace of mind in the worst of circumstances. Of course, as an imperfect and still sinful human it doesn't always work out that way but that is my heart's aim and desire. I, like Peter, too often look at the waves around me and "get in the flesh" and thus start sinking. To really capture this doctrine in both my intellect and practice would be a sweet treasure of great assurance. Finally, to all the brothers on the blog, I could use your prayers as Friday was a day of great temptation with my old struggles. I was tempted with old behaviors and started to "nibble" but God kept me from a full fall. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in my life and sanctification is happening. However, the past behaviors were ingrained patterns of twenty plus years and are not dying an easy death. However, like Paul, "I am confident of this very thing that HE WHO HATH BEGUN this good work in me WILL BE FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE IT until the day of Jesus Christ." God began it and God will finish it. That's Sovereignty in action!

Kampfgruppe Hoppa said...

A great read and one I reference from time to time. I am thankful that our God is sovereign overall. And now for my soap box...One would have a hard time finding books such as this even in our 'Christian' bookstores. Maybe somewhere between "Your Best Life Now" and "The Gospel of Judas." Pastor, have you included some of these great novels in your summer reading list?

AJF said...

I have a test for whether I would read an American evangelical self-help book like the two you site...

I imagine handing it to a persecuted brother in N.Korea. What would they say to "Your best life Now"?

Such books are a shame.

Shanaclan said...

I still remember the day a kid slipped me that book to read while I was in college. For my school, this was somewhat of a contraband transaction at the time :-) WOW, quite a read. My first read of anything remotely reformed. Looking back, it seems this book was a tool used to impact my life in a major way.

Frontier Forest said...

I believe with all of my heart to become effective in our roles or callings within the church, whether it is being a pastor, a lay leader, or a youth leader, it is our responsibility to know beyond any doubts----what the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD really means!

Pastor Tony made mention of the dialog between old King Neb and Daniel, but I believe the key verse in understanding “The Glorious Sovereignty of our God” begins to unfold for us in verse 25.
HERE IT IS! In verse 25 of Daniel 4: “Until YOU RECOGNIZE” OH KING ---and then in verse 26—“AFTER YOU RECOGNIZE.”
Let me say this again, “Until YOU RECOGNIZE” ---- and then “AFTER YOU RECOGNIZE.”
The word “recognize” means a lot more than they seem to say at first glance. The deeper meaning here is much more that to just observe. God was saying to the king through Daniel, “Until YOU WILL ACKNOWLEDGE who GOD REALLY IS!”
To Acknowledge is a much stronger word than just to recognize. Acknowledge means “until you can and will embrace” ---“until you can submit to”---- “until you can resign to the fact!” ---- “Until you can truly understand”
Recognize what? ---- Embrace what? ---- Acknowledge what? --- Submit to what? Understand What?---
Look at the last of verse 25, “That the Most High is the ruler over the all mankind, and HE bestows authority and sovereignty on whomever HE wishes.”
You see, we are not in charge of our lives! ----- God is----and God is always in total control of everything. It’s God’s plan for all of us to honor HIS authority and to yield to HIS Sovereign Lordship.
Living under such Sovereign Lordship, means facing life or death, in absolute, grace controlled peace. Living in His Sovereign peace means, not having to have answer for why a little baby dies, or why 9/11 occurred. I don’t know why God allows so much evil to exist in our world today? But I can confidently state this---I have come to understand when something terrible happens----it is not BAD NEWS-----IT IS GOD’S NEWS! ------ He is in control!
The turning of events that happen each day may seem disturbing to me but they are not out of God’s hands. God is not sitting up in Heaven wrenching His hands and saying, “OH my goodness!!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW? He is never out of control. For He is Lord!