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Divine Sovereignty in Perspective

Divine Sovereignty in Perspective

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Published by Christopher Skinner
A look at the character of God, Divine Sovereignty in perspective and human freedom.
A look at the character of God, Divine Sovereignty in perspective and human freedom.

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Published by: Christopher Skinner on Aug 23, 2009
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12/16/2012

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 Divine Sovereignty in Perspective
Balancing Calvinism and Arminianism
Christopher Skinner 
 
 Divine Sovereignty in Perspective
The Lord God Omnipotent ReignsThe LORD has established his throne in the heavens. His kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19). TheLORD Most High is awesome. He is a great King over all the earth (Psalm 47:2). God is on thethrone and nobody can thwart his purposes. Human beings were created for Gods good pleasureaccording to the song of the twenty four elders in the Apocalypse:The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship himthat liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou artworthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things,and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:10-11)God has a right to do with his creation as he pleases. History spells the words “his story”, referring toGod. All history is for Gods glory and the display of his character and he made all things for himself.
The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein
(Psalm 24:1)
.
The Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ was not just a way of salvation for lost sinners, although it is that.It is first and foremost a revelation of Gods character. It demonstrates Gods justice and wrath againsthuman sin and also a demonstration of Gods love and grace for a sinful guilty world. It is the gospel
of Christ 
(Romans 1:16). The book of Proverbs reminds us in many instances that God is sovereign inthe affairs of men for his own purposes:The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth itwhithersoever he will (Prov 21:1)A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD (16:33)There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, thatshall stand. (19:21)Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? (20:24)Both divine sovereignty and human freedom are necessary doctrines to prevent us going into extremesand madness. Both divine sovereignty and human freedom are affirmed by Scripture and byexperience. Absolute sovereignty with no free choice makes us helpless pawns in the hands of acapricious God which is near to fatalism. Absolute freedom with no reference to divine providenceleaves us in the impersonal hands of chance. A man's heart devises his way, indicating that he has anature and will of his own. Yet the Lord God oversees, forbids, permits or governs all that does cometo pass. God has ultimate control over the rise and fall of nations, as demonstrated by the rise and fallof Babylon when he deposed the Belshazzar King of Babylon and gave his empire to the Medes andthe Persians. He is in command of nature, as demonstrated when God sent lions to slay his people in judgment. He is command of the weather, as demonstrated by The Lord Jesus calming the stormwhen in the boat. He is in command of our health, as demonstrated by his affliction of King Nebudchudnezzar and King Saul. God rules over our technology, as demonstrated when he loosedthe wheels from Pharaoh's chariots. There is nothing omitted from God's providence and nothing isleft to chance. Nothing could be more comforting to a believer than this.Human freedom, dispensed by God, operates within specific boundaries and is subject to internal andexternal influences. Jonah was a man who devised his own plans and ran away from God's will and
Page 2 of 12. Document stored at http://chris-biblethoughts.blogspot.com
 
 Divine Sovereignty in Perspective
yet God arranged a storm to disrupt his journey and arranged a fish to take him to Nineveh to preach.Jonah devised his own way and the Lord directed his steps. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and yet it was in Gods plan all along. When Joseph was reunited with his brothers in thedays of famine he reassured them:And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near.And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore benot grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither:
 for God did send mebefore you to preserve life
. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: andyet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. AndGod sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God 
: and hehath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout allthe land of Egypt. (Gen 45:4-8)In Joseph's later words: “God meant it for good!”. God's sovereign purposes and decrees are inaccordance with his moral perfections and not merely capricious. Throughout human history manykings have been sovereign but morally corrupt. In contrast, God is perfect and absolutely holy.And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of thethrone, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beasthad a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beastshad each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they restnot day and night, saying,
Holy, holy, holy
, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is,and is to come. (Revelation 4:6-8)When the Hebrews wanted to emphasise a point they would often repeat it once. The Lord Jesusoften said “truly truly I say to you” to emphasise the veracity of his word. To say “Holy, holy, holy”is putting across as strong as one could. God cannot do anything that is contrary to his holiness. Godcannot be tempted by evil and he does tempt anyone. God will never violate his holiness in exercisinghis sovereignty. God's justice will also never be violated in exercising his sovereignty. He cannotsimply sweep sin under the carpet and say it does not matter. He has to execute justice. Thecrucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ was a manifestation of God's justice and anger against sin andrebellion and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. God can do anything he pleases, but not that which is displeasing to him. He cannot act contrary to his own nature.God's Love and SovereigntyGod is love (1 John 4:7). Love is intrinsic to his nature and not just something that God
does
. Loveseeks good for another and not harm (Romans 13:10). God commands us to love our enemies becausethat reflects Gods character (Matt 5:44). God so loved the world that hated him that he sent his onlySon to save it (John 3:16, 1 John 2:15). To condemn a guilty soul is in accordance with God's justice.To provide pardon and deliverance is in accordance with God's love and mercy. To decree a creatureto eternal punishment with no choice and no pardon is not in accordance with God's love. Rather, it ismakes God into a cruel monster. God's love also means that he desires his creatures to reciprocatethat love back to him. We see reflections of this in marriage and other human relationships – lovecannot be forced or programmed. That is why God graciously knocks at the heart of his creatures
Page 3 of 12. Document stored at http://chris-biblethoughts.blogspot.com

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