Grace Bible Church

Preaching the Living Word through the Written Word











7.     Sovereignty


a)    Definitions

(1)   God’s sovereignty means that He is the absolute and sole ruler who is independent of all other rule. Keathley

(2)   God’s sovereignty can be defined as God’s established plan of all things from the beginning, which He carries out according to all that He purposed and desired.

(3)   Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things after the counsel of His own will. Pink

(4)   The sovereignty of God … may be considered from two different points of view… His sovereign will and His sovereign power. The will of God is represented in Scripture as the final cause of all things…. [The power of God means] that God can, by the mere exercise of His will, bring to pass whatsoever He has decided to accomplish. Berkhof

b)    The Sovereignty of God is the preordained plan and purpose which He sovereignly performs (Eph 1:11).

(1)   “Predestined” (from proorízō - a boundary set beforehand) means that God has preset a course for certain things to take place in order to accomplish His will.

(2)   “Purpose” (próthesis - to set forth ) is the course or plan of God, which is independent of all other factors, and ultimately results in His glory.

(3)   “Counsel” (boulê - plan or deliberation) is the deliberation and determination of a plan within the Godhead which coincides with His eternal omniscience.

(4)   “Will” (thélếma - bring about by action) is that which God actively performs, accomplishing all that He predestined according to His plan.

(5)   We might understand this whole process as God’s omniscient counsel, having deliberated His ultimate purposes, and predestining them to be accomplished by His will.

c)     The Sovereignty of God does whatever He desires (Is 46:10; Da 4:35).

(1)   God carries out whatever His soul desires (Jb 23:13) in all the universe (Ps 135:6). But since God is perfect, good, and righteous, we need not ever fear His will.

(2)   Since God is absolute ruler, His sovereignty and His plans cannot be questioned (Da 4:35).

d)    The Sovereignty of God establishes His purposes (Is 14:24; Is 40:8).

(1)   God sovereignly established what He has planned (Is 14:24), so it therefore stands eternally (Is 40:8).

(2)   God accomplishes His purposes in all generations (Ps 33:11).

e)     The Sovereignty of God is impossible to thwart (Pr 21:30; Is 14:27).

(1)   Since God is all wise, His sovereign plans cannot be restrained or confounded by the wisdom of man (Jb 11:10; Pr 21:30).

(2)   Since God is all powerful, His sovereign plans cannot be frustrated (Is 14:27), reversed (Is 43:13; Jb 42:2), or overturned (Pr 19:21 cf. Ps 33:10).

f)     The Sovereignty of God declares the end from the beginning (Is 46:10).

(1)   Since God is sovereign, He is able to predict the future (Is 44:7) and declare the end from the beginning (Is 46:10; Is 41:22-23).

(2)   God commands events to come to pass and they do (La 3:37), thereby showing that He alone is God and there is none beside Him (Is 45:21).

g)     The Sovereignty of God is over all things

(1)   God is sovereign over the creation (De 10:14; Ne 9:6; Je 27:5 )

(2)   God is sovereign over the nations (Jos 11:20; Ps 22:28; 33:10; 66:7; Jb 12:23; 2Ch 20:6)

(3)   God is sovereign over the angels (Ps 103:20; He 1:14)

(4)   God is sovereign over man (Da 4:35; Ps 33:11; Pr 16:9; 19:21; 20:24; Ecc 7:13-14)

(5)   God is sovereign over all things (1Ch 29:11-12; Ps 103:19; 145:13)

h)    The Sovereignty of God does not violate the responsibility of man.

(1)   God is sovereign but can never be accused of evil or making anyone do evil (Jam 1:13).

(2)   All creatures are responsible for their own sin (Satan - Eze 28:15; man - Rom 5:12).

(3)   God is sovereign and at the same time man is responsible for his own sin (Acts 2:23).

(4)   At times, God sovereignly removes the restraints from evil in order to accomplish His will (Ex 7:3 cf. Ex 8:15; Pro 16:4; Rom 9:22; Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).

(5)   God has a plan (Act 15:18), which is all inclusive (Eph 1:11), which He controls (Psa 135:6), which includes but does not involve Him in evil (Pro 16:4), and which ultimately is for the praise of His glory (Eph 1:14). (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 49)

(6)   They say that to press the sovereignty of God excludes human responsibility; whereas human responsibility is based upon Divine sovereignty, and is the product of it. Pink

i)      The Sovereignty of God includes the salvation of man.

(1)   God is sovereign in salvation since God is ultimately sovereign over everything. To be a sovereign God, God must be sovereign over everything. If God is sovereign over everything then is stands to reason that God is going to be sovereign in salvation. The major issue then is not God’s sovereignty in salvation, but God’s sovereignty.

(2)   God must be sovereign in salvation because man is unable in and of himself to respond to God’s salvation (Rom 3:11; 1Co 2:14).

(3)   God sovereignly chooses and appoints whom He will for salvation (Eph 1:4-5; Act 13:48; Rom 9:11, 19-23).

(4)   God sovereignly draws those whom He sovereignly chose (Joh 6:37, 44, 64-65; Jon 2:9; Psa 3:8; 37:39).

(5)   God sovereignly chose believers to be part of His ministry of reconciliation (2Ti 2:10; 2Co 5:20).

j)     Practical Considerations

(1)   God’s sovereignty is one of the most important attributes to understand but sadly is one of the most neglected.

(2)   God’s sovereignty is the comfort of comforts to believers.

(a)   There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God's sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation--the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands--the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne...for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust. (Spurgeon).

(3)   In some cases, God sovereignly chooses to accomplish His will through the prayers of His people (Jam 4:2-3; 2Ch 7:14; Luk 11:8).

(4)   God’s sovereignty demands that believers submit to His will and not their own (Luk 22:42), and to His Lordship and not their own (Luk 6:46; 1Ti 6:15).

(5)   Sanctification is the believer’s responsibility in cooperation with the sovereignty of God (Phil 2:12-13).

(6)   We are to have dominion and leadership but are to do it in the same wise, righteous, and merciful way that our sovereign Lord does it (Gen 1:26, 28; Col 4:1).




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