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Understanding our Great Salvation: (Part 2) God Decides to Save Some

July 15, 2015

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WCF 2:2 God is independent from and sovereign over all creatures.

 

 

"God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, and unto, and upon them.  He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleaseth.  In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain.  He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands.  To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require to them.”

 

WHAT DOES THIS ARTICLE TEACH?

 

  1. God, as the creator of all things, is separate or independent from all the work of his hands.  The creator is distinct from his creation.  It is true that God has in an artistic sense placed himself into his creation.  Still, God is not his creation.  He is neither bound by nor dependent upon anything that He has created.  (John 5:26; Isaiah 40:18-31; Romans 11:33-36; Daniel 4:35; Psalm 115:3; Psalm 33:11; 1 Timothy 6:16; Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8; Job 41:11; Psalm 50:10-12; Psalm 90:2)

  2. God has life in himself.  He is self-existent.  He has the power to sustain himself in life eternally.  (John 5:26)

  3. God has all glory in himself.  We do not add to the glory of God; we reflect the glory of God.  We do not add to the goodness or the blessedness of God.  As we grow in grace and the knowledge of God we come to know him as He really is and to reflect and enjoy more of His glory and goodness.  Yet, because we grow into the grace, glory and goodness of God experientially, it does not follow that God grows in glory and goodness.  We do not yield God an ever-increasing amount of glory, but we come to apprehend and appreciate more of the glory that God already has.  God makes his glory known in and upon His creatures.  That is our purpose; to reflect the glory of God.  We glorify God by stepping into His glory. (Job 22:2; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 1:11-12; Revelation 4:11)

  4. God is the source of all being.  Everything that has life or existence has it from God.  God has given everything life and all life depends on God for continued life.  (Acts 17:25; Job 38-41; Colossians 1:16; Psalm 145:15-16; Hebrews 1:3; Nehemiah 9:6)

  5. God exercises sovereign dominion over all his creation.  There are three reasons for his sovereign right over us.  One, God is infinitely superior in His being to all that He has created.  We could call this the right of superiority.  (Isaiah 40:18, 25-26; 46:5; Exodus 8:10; 15:11; 1 Samuel 2:2) Two, God owns all things because He has made all things.  What God has made he owns.  We could call this the right of creation.  (Revelation 4:11; Isaiah 45:9-10)  Three, all that has life derives it from and is dependent upon God for it to continue.  We could call this the right of life.  (Acts 17:24-25; Job 34:14-15; Psalm 104:29)

  6. God knows all things perfectly and comprehensively.  If you want to know what makes a car run pull it all apart and put it all back together again.  When we create something, we understand it.  We ask the artist what the painting intends to communicate, because only he knows.  So too, God has made all things and therefore knows them inside and out.  (Psalm 33:11; Job 38-41; Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 147:5)

  7. Nothing is uncertain with God.  There is no subjective tense with God.  Nothing depends with God.  There are no ‘if-then’s’ with God.  God is not waiting for our input.  Everything is decreed and determined.  It could be no other way if God is God. (Hebrews 4:13; Ephesians 1:11; Psalm 139:16; Job 14:5; Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 46:10; Psalm 115:3; 135:6) How this works out in everyday life and with the commands, invitations, and promises of His word is a different topic. Briefly answered, the free choices of men and all the means that achieve God’s purpose are also decreed.  (Acts 2:23; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:2)

  8. God is not arbitrary (determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle:) or wicked in anything that He does.  He is bound by His holy nature to be holy in all that He does.  God has a plan and a character that He is bound to.  The children’s catechism says that God can do all his Holy will.  (Psalm 145:17; Numbers 23:19; Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 44:7)

  9. God, because He is sovereign, directs and controls all things.  What God commands us in worship, service or obedience we must do.  What God has decreed our destiny or end to be, that it shall be.  He is the potter and we are the clay.  The angels are also under the sovereign control and determination of God. (Isaiah 45:9-10; Romans 9:19-21)

 

Objections to the Sovereign determination of God

 

  1. I question the wisdom of God in doing/ permitting…Isa 45:9-12.

  2. God is wrong to judge us for doing what He has willed us to do.           Romans 9:19-21.

  3. All the suffering in life is God’s fault, he is to blame. Job 40:1-5.

  4. It is inconsistent with the moral freedom of man.  God’s sovereign decree is not inconsistent with man’s moral freedom.  Scripture reveals that God has determined all things, and that a man is free to choose and will be held accountable for his choices in life. (Genesis 50:19-20; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28)

  5. It takes away all motives for human action.  Our code of conduct, or law directing our actions is found in the word commands of the word not in the decree of God.  The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever. (Deuteronomy 29:29)  

  6. It makes God the author of sin.  God is the father of free moral being, and the free moral beings are the father of sin.

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