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Sovereign Grace (Part 1)

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For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.

Sovereign Grace

Sovereign - n. 1. One who has supremacy or rank above, or authority over, others; a superior; a ruler, governor, lord, or master (of persons, etc.). Freq. applied to the Deity in relation to created things.
adj. 1. Of persons: Standing out above others or excelling in some respect.
2. Of things, qualities, etc.: Supreme, paramount; principal, greatest, or most notable.
Grace - n. Favour, favourable or benignant regard or its manifestation (now only on the part of a superior); favour or goodwill, in contradistinction to right or obligation, as the ground of a concession.

I. What is meant by "Sovereign Grace"?
1. God's sovereignty.
A. God is a sovereign: He is a great, powerful, glorious, victorious, majestic, king which reigns over all (1Ch 29:11-12).
i. God is sovereign over his natural creation (Pro 8:29; Job 38:4-11; Psa 104:5-9; Jer 5:22).
ii. In the same way, God is also sovereign over the hearts of men (Pro 21:1 c/w 2Ch 10:15; Pro 16:9).
iii. He is also sovereign over the hearts and the works of the wicked (Psa 76:10; Rev 17:17).
B. God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants to, for whatsoever reason He wants (Dan 4:35).
i. God does what He wants for His own pleasure (Isa 46:9-10; Psa 115:3; Psa 135:6).
ii. No man has any right to question God (Dan 4:35; Job 9:12).
iii. God has no counselors, none to instruct Him (Rom 11:33-36 c/w Isa 40:12-14).
iv. Therefore God answers, nor explains Himself, to no man (Job 33:12-14).
C. Jesus Christ is this sovereign God of the universe (1Ti 6:15-16).
D. Potentate - 1. A person endowed with independent power; a prince, monarch, ruler.
2. God's grace.
A. Grace is the act of God whereby he saves men who are dead in sins (Eph 2:4-5).
B. It is by the grace of God that He justifies men and makes them heirs of eternal life (Tit 3:7).
C. Grace is a free act of God: like the old hymn says, "Grace is free" (Rom 3:24).
3. God's sovereignty in grace.
A. God's sovereignty is not limited to controlling the motions of the seas and the machinations of men; He is also sovereign in the salvation of men's souls.
B. He is also sovereign when it comes to:
i. Whom He chooses to love and hate (Rom 9:11-13).
ii. Whom He chooses to have mercy and compassion upon (Rom 9:15).
iii. Whom He chooses to harden (Rom 9:17-18).
C. It is according to His will, not ours, that He chose to predestinate some men to be his children by adoption (Eph 1:5,11).
D. It is according to His sovereign mercy that He chose to elect men unto eternal salvation, not man's will or resolve (Rom 9:16).
E. Just as the potter has power over the clay to make with it what he wants, so God has power over fallen man to form them into what He wants, and we have no right to question Him (Rom 9:19-23)

II. The necessity of sovereign grace.
1. If men in their natural state were not dead in trespasses and in sins, could hear and understand the gospel, seek God, fear God, and please God, then it could be conceivable that God could have somehow made eternal salvation possible and left it up to men to choose to accept it by believing the gospel.
2. The problem with this hypothetical scenario is that none these conditions are true of the natural man.
3. The Bible teaches that mankind is dead (not sick, or weak) in sins (Eph 2:1).
4. Dead - 1. That has ceased to live; deprived of life; in that state in which the vital functions and powers have come to an end, and are incapable of being restored:
5. This spiritual death was the result of Adam's sin (Gen 2:17 c/w Gen 3:6 c/w Rom 5:12).
6. The result of this spiritual death is that man in his natural state is incapable of:
A. Being righteous (Rom 3:9-10); in fact they are free from it (Rom 6:20).
B. Hearing God's words (Joh 8:43,47).
C. Understanding the gospel / spiritual things (Rom 3:11 c/w 1Co 1:18; 1Co 2:14)
D. Believing in Jesus (Joh 10:26 c/w John 10:28).
E. Seeking God (Rom 3:11).
F. Doing good (Rom 3:12).
G. Fearing God (Rom 3:18).
H. Being subject to the law of God (Rom 8:7).
I. Pleasing God (Rom 8:8), which includes believing in Jesus (1Jo 3:22-23).
7. How many men in their natural state of spiritual death in sins who cannot hear, understand, or believe the gospel, nor seek, fear, or please God, would choose to accept a conditional eternal salvation from God by hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel? Answer: None (Rom 3:9-12).
8. It should be obvious that if any man in his natural state of death in sins was going to be saved from it unto eternal life, it would have to be by a free act of grace from God whereby He gave, not offered, him eternal life; hence the necessity of sovereign grace.

III. The means of sovereign grace.
1. Since the entire human race is totally depraved and incapable of seeking, believing in, or obeying God; if any of them are going to be saved from their sins, it has to be by God saving them by His own will and power.
2. God, in His omniscience, knew that Adam would sin and plunge all of his posterity into sin and death (Rom 5:12).
A. When Adam sinned, he fitted us to destruction (Rom 9:22).
B. He passed down his sinful nature to all of his descendants which is why we are "by nature the children of wrath" (Eph 2:3) and "vessels of wrath" (Rom 9:22).
3. God, knowing that men would fall into sin through Adam, made a choice before the world was even created that he would choose out a portion of the human race to make them holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph 1:4).
A. God predestinated some of those children of wrath to be His own children by adopting them by Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5).
B. Predestinate - 1. Theol. Of God: To foreordain by a divine decree or purpose: a. to salvation or eternal life; to elect.
C. Adoption - 1. The action of voluntarily taking into any relation; esp. of taking into sonship.
D. Those who were predestinated were those whom God foreknew (Rom 8:29; 1Pe 1:2).
i. Foreknow - a. trans. To know beforehand, have previous knowledge of.
ii. This foreknowledge was knowledge of the identity of the people (2Ti 2:19; Joh 10:14).
iii. God doesn't know all men in this way (Mat 7:23).
iv. It was not knowledge of their good works or of the fact that they would seek Him in time if they had the chance, and therefore He elected them for that reason (Psa 14:2-3 c/w Rom 3:9-12).
E. God's predestination and election of some men was not based one wit on their will or works (Rom 9:11-13), but rather on God's mercy (Rom 9:15-16).
F. Electing men out of the lump of mankind to show mercy to them in saving them from their sins when they deserved eternal hell is called grace; hence election is called "the election of grace" (Rom 11:5).

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