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Tuesday
Apr272010

Theological Term of the Week

 

sovereignty (of God)
God’s dominion over the whole universe that he has created; his rule over all things so as to “secure the accomplishment of the divine purposes.”1

  • From scripture:

    Our God is in the heavens;
    he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3 ESV)
    …[H]is dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
     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?” (Daniel 4:34b-35 ESV)
    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…. (Ephesians 1:11 ESV)
  • From The Belgic Confession, Article 13:

    We believe that this good God, after he created all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to his holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.

    …This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures under his control, so that not one of the hairs on our heads (for they are all numbered) nor even a little bird can fall to the ground without the will of our Father.

    In this thought we rest, knowing that he holds in check the devils and all our enemies, who cannot hurt us without his permission and will.

    For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God involves himself in nothing and leaves everything to chance.

  • From The Absolute Sovereignty of God by Rev. D. H. Kuiper:

    We tread on holy ground when we take up the tremendous truth of divine sovereignty, and we ought to be reminded that there are aspects to this truth that we cannot understand.  Nevertheless, Scripture clearly and carefully sets this truth forth!  The sovereignty of God is the exercise of His supremacy.  God is the high and lofty One; no one is greater than He, equal to him, or any where near to Him.  And when this great God acts, when He goes about His divine business, then he does so in perfect freedom!  Sovereignty implies authority, and authority is the right to rule.  It is the right to do what one wishes, to decide what is good and evil, to impose one’s will on others and demand conformance;  authority is the right to reward obedience and to punish disobedience!  In close connection with this, soveriegnty is the freedom to do what one pleases without being answerable to anyone.  No one may question God as to what He is doing! The Scripture drives this lesson home hard in such passages as Daniel 4:35, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doest according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say to Him, What doest Thou?”;  Job 9:12, “Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him?  Who will say unto Him, What doest Thou?’;  Romans 9:20, “Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?  shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?”. (See also the parable of our Lord in Matt. 20:1-16)

    Only one can be sovereign.  You can never have two sovereign beings.  How could that ever be? Two that had all power and authority?  Two that were the highest?  Two that are perfectly free to do as they pleased?  Impossible.  there is One that is eternal, independent, sovereignly free, and that is GOD!  Nor can any limits be placed upon God’s sovereignty.  There are many who would make restrictions or exceptions to divine sovereignty.  They are willing to admit to sovereignty in respect to weather and climate, sickness and health, wars and other disasters.  But they want to draw the line when it comes to man!  They try to exclude human thoughts, words, deeds, and destinies from the sovereignty of God!  But this would destroy God’s sovereignty.  We will show that there cannot be a single exception of any kind!

  • From Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware:

    …God rules the world he has made … by guiding and directing it to accomplish or bring about everything that he has planned for it. … Paul writes, “In him [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him [the Father] who works all things according to the counsel of his will” Ephesians 1:11).  God has a plan for the world he has made. He didn’t create the world and then leave it alone to run by itself. Rather, God created the world with a very complete plan for how the world would develop and what would be accomplished through it …. We can be sure that all of God’s purposes and plans will be brought to pass since the God who made the world also rules the world he has made.

Learn more:

  1. Don Stewart: In What Sense Is God In Control of Things?
  2. Sam Storms: The Sovereignty of God
  3. Charles Woodruff: What Jesus Said About God’s Sovereignty
  4. John Murray: The Sovereignty of God
  5. S. Lewis Johnson: Providence (God’s Hand Over Nature, Individuals and Nations of the World)(mp3 with transcript)
  6. John Reisenger: Five sermons on the Sovereignty of God

1From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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Reader Comments (2)

I need to get Big Truths for Young Hearts. I love his explanations!

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkim from hiraeth

It'd be really helpful when you teach kids, I think.

April 28, 2010 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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