And we chose those subjects because they’re the ones people ask questions about. So I – I think Christian people need to get to the point where instead of seeing the sovereignty of God as some kind of intrusion or – or some kind of impossible thing to explain, they need to see the sovereignty of God as the most encouraging, hopeful, blessed of all realities that you’re never – you’re never able to drift from His control, which is driving you to the purpose. In fact, they would go so far as to say no one knows what’s going to happen in the future because nothing has happened in the future and therefore God can’t know what hasn’t happened because it hasn’t happened. This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine. And yet, it says, “How shall they hear without a preacher?”. And what’s the conversation going to be about? The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. So I think, for me, no one understood the sovereignty of God better than the Lord Jesus did. PHIL: So, is the human will bound, or is it free? PHIL: Yeah. On the contrary, prayer is multidimensional. Who were the audience of the captivity narrative? Because if you say, “No, He’s not in control of everything,” then you’ve got a God who lacks power over something and if you say, “Yes, He is in control of everything,” you run right up against the problem of evil. Then the whole universe is a threat.”. Soli Deo gloria. JOHN: In other words, there’s not any competition for who’s in charge. There was no metaphysical “necessity” to create; it was a free action of God. From generation to generation, men have found shelter for their souls in the shadow of the Almighty - the one, true God, who in reigning over all provides comfort and confidence for His people (Ps. Dr. Sproul considers these questions in this message as he teaches us about the relationship between human freedom and "God's Sovereignty." We desire to be led of the Lord, and teaching that nothing happens but what God wills fits that nicely. Since His written revelation teaches concepts that appear to be mutually exclusive, we must realize that with God both truths are friends, not enemies. Traditional theism insists that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent—all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present. The authority of the Creator is not altered by changes in any factor, and, similarly, the principles by which His authority is exerted do not alter for any reason. That’s simply saying that government as a reality, as a social reality is ordained by God for the wellbeing of man. PHIL: — on that issue they were saying the same thing. JOHN: I really see You as sovereign and I repent in dust and ashes. An “attribute” is a quality or characteristic of someone or something. PHIL: Even though He was dragged – He Himself personally was dragged around by the Roman government. All rights reserved. Proverbs 16:9 says the very same truth really applies to all of us. And I think the definitive statement there is, “I am God and there is no other.”. JOHN: Well, Phil, thank you very much for all of your input and your insights and we can – we can do the best we can to understand these things and leave the rest to that time when we shall know as we are known. JOHN: Well the answer to that, of course, is well because we don’t know who they are. Look, Luther – speaking of Luther – wrote about the freedom of the will. People can take one of two extremes in regard to this question. Hyper-Calvinism would be the view that we shouldn’t even preach the gospel to everybody, we shouldn’t give an open universal call. Humans are able to make genuine choices that have real consequences. JOHN: By the way, that verb “falls” is probably the verb for “hops.” So He not only knows when they die, He knows when they hop. PHIL: Yeah. He may make predictions like some cosmic poker player, but He cannot know absolutely. People say, “What kind of a God kills this person and kills that person and what kind of a God drowns, you know, the Egyptian army, and what kind of a God sends, you know, bears out of the woods to tear up a bunch of young men yelling “bald head” at a prophet? It says, “The heart of man plans his way –. God's will is the final cause of all things. The attributes of God are things we can know about God. Sproul, along with Richard Phillips and Steven Lawson, unfolds the riches of God's rule over creation. owner and possessor of heaven and earth." It applies in any situation. JOHN: Yeah, and another way to express sovereignty in that sense is to say that Jesus is Lord. PHIL: So it is my responsibility, and that’s why it’s a command, to evangelize, to proclaim the gospel. And so when you look at the problem of evil, you don’t ask well this seems unfair to me because of how – of how it affect me, or how it affects people. And while we might not like what’s going on and if we give the – if given the opportunity, you know, we use legal means to vote and do whatever we can. He had resigned himself to the “sovereignty of God.” ... Deuteronomy, chapter 28, should forever settle this question for all who believe the Word of God. And then, how are they going to call on Him whom they have not heard? THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. Subject to none, influenced by none, He is absolutely independent. JOHN: We know why it happened because Satan came to God and God – and said, “Yeah, Job only serves You because You bless him.” And He said, “I’ll prove different.” God was proving a point to Satan, we know that, Job never knew that. Second, there is the question of ethics. Others emphasize free will to the point of God not having complete control and/or knowledge of all things. The relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility is not instantly obvious, and at first glance it seems paradoxical. You have to ask the question; how does it affect God? The best one, though, really, was when the fellow who was to present me didn’t appear and I introduced myself. 13:3; 1 Peter 2:14). JOHN: And all of life takes on a frightening character. And so that verse starts out “I am God,” and nobody else, or no other being is God, which means I don’t have any competition. PHIL: Yeah, James seems to be rebuking people in that context for careless speech. PHIL: Now we might still say that’s a horrible thing. It’s one of these Christian Living articles I wanted to share with you today. PHIL: Alright, the issue of salvation is where you usually hear that question. The sovereignty of God is one of those theological ideas that causes some significant challenges in the lives of believers. And that –that and those – those kinds of questions really aren’t nearly as important to me as what kind of a God saves people who don’t deserve salvation and can’t do anything to earn it? Well, it is an incomparable privilege to be here with you. Please respond to confirm your registration. God’s sovereignty is self-determined, and this fact is emphasized three times (v. 5, 9, 11). JOHN: Yeah, and I think that’s the right view of the Old Testament. This article is also available and sold as a booklet. That He is who He is. JOHN: Yeah, He works all things together for good. That’s the first thing. Because that’s not the agenda, that’s not the purpose, that’s not the plan. You are welcome Nick. So if you start at that point – you know, if somebody else brought the universe into existence, and God was trying to get control of it, that would be one thing. PHIL: And, you know, my first semester in Bible college, I remember very clearly my first theology class. And you mentioned that if we’re not careful, we can look at this doctrine in a way that makes us too passive or lacking in empathy. ANSWER: "Sovereignty is God's control over His creation, dealing with His governance over it: Sovereignty is God's rule over all reality." God’s foreknowledge or determinate counsel … There’s no equivocating on that. It speaks first of position (God is the chief Being in the universe), then of power (God is supreme in power in the universe). That’s a fine line of distinction. Rather, God’s sovereignty means that in the end, sin doesn’t have the last word. Your gift enables our worldwide outreach. Under the sovereignty of God’s authority, no man or thing is exempt from the exertion of His authority, nor can they alter the principles by which His authority is exerted. Those are easy to understand. (Acts 2:23–24, italics added) God the Father sent His Son into the world to die on a cross. JOHN: It is, it is. JOHN: Trying to get a handle on it, yeah. PHIL: So God had a plan in it. There are no, “Oops, how did that happen?” to God. PHIL: Yeah, the other thing that underlines then is that God’s purpose is ultimately good. I was looking for definitions on the sovereignty of God and the providence of God, and couldn’t really find one that would make me … Sometimes it is direct, sometimes it is. JOHN: So this was kind of a rift in the family. JOHN: Why wouldn’t it apply? PHIL: Yeah, you mentioned Joseph earlier. JOHN: Well, it’s according to your definition of “fair.” I would have to say that fallen people probably have a fallen view of fair, and it would be a – it would be a view that assumes what is fair. Jun 26, 2020 The assertion of divine sovereignty is not without further questions that should be addressed. This week Allen and Jeff discuss how their answers to these questions have changed for them over the years and what that has meant for their lives and spirituality. In the end of the day, it’s wonderful to be able to live in perfect confidence that this is all within the larger purpose of God who hasn’t lost control of anything. I have a difficult time comprehending that. JOHN: (They used to draw lots to try to quote/unquote randomly determine something. In fact, there were so many of them in one group that I was asked if I would go to the choir room at our church, at Grace Church, and meet a choir loft full of these people who had just come over from this other Charismatic Church. We talk about the providence of God. Category: Articles. JOHN: Because there is a hell, and, in fact, most people aren’t going to be saved. “Behold, all that he hath is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand.” In God’s sovereign position, He states the limitations to Satan; in this moment, Job is not to be touched. None can thwart Him–none can hinder Him. God’s Sovereignty provides us with comfort. It – it –you know, just to give you an illustration. He – He never calls down judgment on the system, never. That’s back to Romans 8:28. Are we but pawns in God’s Cosmic Game? Deborah Fagan Schultz. So the question really is, why did God allow evil? PHIL: Let me kind of shift gears here. JOHN: Phil, I think this is really an important thing because that question is raised all the time and rarely answered. PHIL: Hmm. 09-29-96 Sunday School That’s about the best introduction I ever had in my life. God still uses the means of those who believe in Him to be the agents by which He brings His elective purpose to pass. But as to the truthfulness of it, it is crystal clear in Scripture. I mean, he’s not – he’s not driven by God toward some sin. And doulos means slave and kurios means Lord. You know, invitations are all through the Scripture and given by our Lord Himself and given by the apostles and – and given by Isaiah. Dr. Sproul considers these questions in this message as he teaches us about the relationship between human freedom and "God's Sovereignty." The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is sometimes abused by well-meaning believers who affirm the doctrine but abuse it in different ways. Clearly, if there’s nothing in existence and He makes the world and the universe and plans for this redemption to take place, then He had to plan sin into it while not being responsible for sin itself. The sovereignty of God is not a secondary doctrine that is relegated to an obscure corner in the Bible. But God makes that promise, and millions throughout history have testified to its truth because God has proven His ability to back it up time and time again. He basically healed people. 15:11). God’s sovereignty has nothing to do with causing violence, pain, and suffering in the world. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”. A God who doesn’t know the future can’t do that. JOHN: — it shuts down every argument. I – I just think that man is always made responsible for his rejection. I mean, you don’t escape –. The Ligonier Ministries site requires Javascript, but you’ve got Javascript disabled. PHIL: Basically declares His own sovereignty. PHIL: Yeah, in recent years there’s been this, I would call it a heresy, known as open heresy, open theism. You go back to the fact that you rejected. Yes, He did. John, we’ve done a number of these studio interviews over the years, going back, I think – I think the first one we ever did was on September 11, 2001. God isn’t causing me to sin just because He’s sovereign? We’re offering something to people that they can’t accept, so it’s a false offer, it’s presumptive. They carried the commission in that first generation, twelve very unlikely guys. And give by Jesus at the end of the book of Revelation, come. That is correct and that’s a very important thing to say. In fact, I would argue that denying calvinism takes away sovereignty from God and instead makes him dependent upon man’s actions. In God’s design, human responsibility is clearly not eliminated by God’s sovereign control over His creation. PHIL: So the really, the really hard question, if you – if you get beyond the superficial aspect of this, the really hard question – and I think you said it at the beginning – it’s not why does God not save everybody, but why does He save anybody, anyone? Where were you when I made the world?” The interesting thing about it is Job never got the information that we get. The will to create was entirely God’s. Characteristics such as truthfulness, goodness, faithfulness, righteousness, and love define God’s every action. And He demonstrated this – this relentless compassion toward all these hurting suffering people, so much so that Paul refers to Him as being marked by compassion. JOHN: Well that’s a pretty – pretty limited view of God to think that and that sort of maybe overestimates your own importance? Some non-Christian religions try to solve this problem by positing that evil is imaginary (Christian Science) or an illusion (Hinduism). We – we would have a little difficulty in America understanding the word “sovereignty” since we’ve never lived under a sovereign. PHIL: His plan, in that case, might involve my discipline. The freedom of the will as exercised, man has freedom in which he can pick his poison, he can choose his sin. And He allowed it so He could put His grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and redemption on display. She’s 33 years old and she’s virtually dead of cancer at 33. How do we set our minds and hearts at peace? They are true about Him all the time. You know, we talked about that in the series on The Twelve Ordinary Men. Put this way, it seems to say something that is expressly Reformed in doctrine. And yet, the humanistic view of the world and the universe is that the entire universe exists as a product of chance. In the year since then, we’ve done close to a dozen other Q&A sessions and we’ve dealt with issues like The Gospel, the seeker-friendly church movement, the issue of how far the church should go in adapting methodology in our message to the culture we’re trying to reach. God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. He – and I always say He banished illness from Israel for the duration of His ministry, and He delivered people from demon possession. Fatalism would be the assumption that things are going to be whatever they’re going to be, just because they’re going to be that way. We got in the studio that afternoon right after those attacks and spent some time. Rather, this truth is the very bedrock doctrine of all Scripture. There are dangers, aren’t there with this doctrine? It deals with future things from our day even. And there was no Plan B and there was not second string. Did He weep over the grave of Lazarus? And all that time I’m certain he faced questions of whether or not the Lord was trustworthy, if He would deliver on this crazy promise that only got crazier as the years passed. The first lesson of day one, we had to learn the definition of the decree of God, that the decree of God is His eternal purpose according to the counsel of His own will whereby for His own glory He has unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. JOHN: Well yeah, that’s the other side of the question. Or He could have – He could have done a myriad of things. Thank you for meeting with me a week ago last Monday. Whatever happens, it accords with the counsel of God’s will. PHIL: Now, those of us who are saved also when we come to understand these truths are forced to acknowledge that if it were not for the grace of God, we also would have rejected Him. Others have taken the view that if God were to grant us what we deserve, we would all be damned. Nothing is a surprise to Him. God is displaying Himself to the holy angels, God is displaying Himself to – to the saints in His full glory. Language of God changing His mind in Scripture is an accommodation to us and our way of speaking, not a description of a true change in God’s mind. PHIL: Kind of hard to get around that one. JOHN: There’s no way around that. JOHN: Yeah, I think there’s two sides to it. The idea that “God is in control” seems like it honors God because many mistakenly think that absolute control over everything at every moment is a fundamental requirement for God to be God. Her confident faith was God has a purpose in this and I rejoice in His purpose. PHIL: That’s a good note on which to end this conversation. PHIL: Yeah, that verse that you just quoted, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” comes in Romans 10 which is in – set in three chapters where the focus is on the sovereignty of God in salvation, Romans 9, 10 and 11. The first thing out of her mouth – she’s got tubes and wires and it’s horrendous – she says, “Oh, John, how’s your knee?” She’s asking me how my knee – and we began to talk, and there’s literally joy in her heart because as horrible as it is, young wife, young mother, four children about to be motherless and she’s going through the ravages of this cancer.