Elder O. B. Mink
Now In Glory
“My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).
God’s sovereignty is not a relative sovereignty such as that of the king and monarchs of this earth. Earth’s sovereigns are temporal, and their power circumscribed by limitless contingencies, but not so with God. He is the absolute Sovereign of the universe. The God of the Bible cannot be denied, disappointed, defeated, and neither is He disturbed by the vehement diatribe of disgruntled man. “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast Thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20). The God of the Bible knows no limitations, and infallibly accomplishes all of His designs. His sovereignty is absolute, “Andwhat His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13).
Christendom so-called is permeated with false ideas about the God of the Bible. The great majority who call themselves Christian allow that God is wise and powerful, but in their theology and practice they deny that He is all powerful and all wise. In paying lip service to God they allow that the natural universe is the product of an Infinite Creator, but in spiritual regeneration their will is mightier than God’s, and by their stubborn will God’s redemptive purpose is made ineffective. Their false notion of God not only makes Him a Redeemer subject to risk and a Saviour Who is subservient to the will of man, but in the final analysis makes Him less than human. They consistently teach that their Savior is so puny He is going to lose the great majority of those for whom He died. Infinite inconsistency, God is sovereign in creation but powerless to redeem.
What is your thought dear Reader, did God slip-up in His creation of man? Was Adam’s sin an oversight on God’s part? Is there weakness in God, or is He worthy to be worshipped? The Bible affirms and reaffirms over and over that God is omniscient in wisdom and omnipotent in power, and that His will runs unrestrained through every atom and action in the whole universe. “The Lord hath made all things for Himself ...” (Proverbs 16:4) and He asks, “Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with mine own?” (Matthew 20:15). The heart humbled by infinite grace in adoration submissively replies, “Thou art the Potter, I am the clay” (Isaiah 64:8).
FROM THE SUN, TO THE SINNER, TO THE WORM, GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY RUNS
Behold that mightiest of stars, the sun, indisputable King of created lights, 109 times the diameter of the earth, and multiplied thousands of times greater in energy and power than all of earth’s dynamos, including every nuclear device. At the rising of the sun all other lights in the solar system hurry to their hiding places. Is it any wonder, with all the sun’s grandeur that it is the prime object of heathen worship? Yet, not once in its existence has the sun transgressed the laws which its infinite Creator has fixed to regulate it. God “... Commandeth the sun, and it riseth not” (Job 9:7). What might have seemed to be an uncontrolled digression to the astronomers in Joshua’s day was but the sun acting in perfect obedience to the command of its Creator spoken through the mouth of His servant Joshua. “Sun, stand thou still … and the sun stood still” (Joshua 10:12, 13). In this sovereign act, Joshua’s Jehovah is virtually proclaimed in the face of assembled heathendom, to be the God of their supposed god, the sun.
The infinite power that directs the course of the sun is the same power that marks out the path of the lowly earthworm in its subterranean journeys. And the sun with its vastness and glory is NOT LESS dependent on God than the earthworm. The Psalmist considered the stellar system with its billions of stars, and with an awe stricken heart, asks his Creator, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” (Psalms 8:4). All trivia, and triumphs are determined of God; and nothing is left to caprice or chance, and certainly not to the vagaries of depraved reasoning. All things are brought to pass by Him Who said, “I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:11).
The Psalmist speaks of the Divine Monopolist saying, “Powerbelongeth unto God” (Psalms 62:11). All existence has for its origin, the power of God. All that is now in existence, or that shall ever come into existence, cannot act in any way, be it ever so infinitesimal, contrary to God’s omniscient designs. While all events of time and eternity come to pass by the exercise of God’s sovereign power, and in perfect harmony with His will of purpose: He “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11), yet, there is no diminution of, or taxation of, His power.
INFINITE SOVEREIGNTY AND THE MIGHTY SEA
“... there arose a great tempest in the sea ...” (Matthew 8:24). To be in a storm at sea is one of the most fearful experiences a person can have. It is like being in a hurricane and an earthquake at the same time, the ocean floor is ever shifting, sinking and rising, and the fierce winds blowing as hurricane force brings shattering wave after wave against the helpless ship. This was very much the experience of Paul in his voyage from Myra to Rome, whereof he speaks saying, “And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest ... And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away” (Acts 27:18-20). But God is the sovereign of the seas, and He says to Paul, “Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo God hath given thee all them that sail with thee” (Acts 27:24).
Natural men, especially those who are seafaring men, acknowledge the sovereignty of the sea. They make their ships sea worthy, and reinforce their sea walls against the devastating power of the sea, but take no thought of the sovereignty of Him Who made the sea. “The sea is His, and He made it ...” (Psalms 95:5). The tidal wave that swept across East Pakistan in November of 1970, killing over 200,000 people was written in the human records as “one of the world’s worst natural disorders.” However, the subscriber to God’s unerring word knows that the tidal wave does not exceed by one inch the bounds which God’s sovereign power has fixed for it. “... He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment” (Proverbs 8:29). “Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?” (Jeremiah 5:22).
The unregenerate man with his satanically blinded mind (II Corinthians 4:4) refers to earth shaking cataclysms as “natural disasters,” but he who owns God’s all encompassing and all pervading providence knows they are supernaturally wrought and controlled. He not only knows that God created the universe, but he also knows God wrote the laws of nature to regulate His universe. He further knows there is a Divine and foreordained purpose, which precedes and activates the dormant powers of nature, and which brings to pass the so-called “natural disaster.” It was God Who sent the earth submerging flood in Noah’s day (Genesis 6:17), it was God Who brought the sea upon Pharaoh and his host (Exodus 14:27), and it is God Who causes the sea to extend its shorelines in our day, but the sea has never, nor shall ever overflow the decreed bounds which God has set for it. God says to the raging sea, “Peace, be still,” and there is invariably, “a great calm.” “He commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey Him” (Luke 8:25). “Thou rulest the raging of the sea: When the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them” (Psalms 89:9).
“The Lord works in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform,
He plants His footsteps in the deep,
and rides upon the storm” (Cowper)
Man loves to hear of God stilling the storm, but when the doctrine of God’s infinite sovereignty is proclaimed, in that God started the storm, man gnashes his teeth, and manifests his one sided and ignorant notion of God. It logically follows that first there must be the storm, before there is a calming of the storm. Thus we read, “For He (God) commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind which lifteth up the waves thereof …He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still” (Psalms 107:25 & 29). “The LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm” (Nahum 1:3). Surely He that calms the raging sea can calm the tempestuous soul, and neither is a problem for God. To show the absurdity of mans’ presumed veto power in negating God’s redemptive grace, He asks: “Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness” (Isaiah 50:2)
The science of oceanography teaches that waves from the ocean come to shore at the rate of eighteen per minute, never varying, always eighteen per minute. No matter if they are five feet or fifty feet high, there will only be eighteen per minute. Oceanography further teaches that waves are always three hundred feet apart. This is why large ships are constructed on a scale of 300 to 400 feet, 600 to 700 feet, 900 to 1100 feet, etc. The 300 to 400 foot ship can ride two waves at once, the 600 to 700 foot ship three waves at once, and the 900 to 1100 foot ship four waves at once. The waves coming in on every shore around the world at eighteen per minute would lead one to believe there are fixed dividing lines in the ocean, but no such dividing line has ever been found. Waves from the Atlantic thrash the shores of England and the eastern shores of United States at the same rate and time, and waves from the Pacific sweep the shores of Japan and California at the same time and rate per minute. It is the wind which makes the waves of the ocean, and now let us note something God has told us about the wind. “The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually and the wind returneth again according to his circuits” (Ecclesiastes 1:6). The wind is going about over the whole face of the earth in great whirlpools; “it whirleth” about continually.” The wind may be blowing north where I live, and at the same time it may be blowing south where the reader lives, but always, and without failure, the wind blows in an orderly fashion. “The wind returneth again according to its circuits.” The science of meteorology has been able to discover and map some of the usual courses of the wind, which discovery has led to the setting up of weather stations all over the world to chart the wind courses. But on occasions the winds make an uncalculated circuit or unexpected turn, which brings confusion to the ranks of weather prognosticators, and causes them to modify their weather report. The wind did not veer from the course which God had set for it, but from the course which man had determined for it.
God is in charge of the winds, He may let man discover many things about the wind, but in the main the wind shall ever remain an enigma to the best meteorologist among men. The infinite God of heaven has His sovereign hand on earth’s oscillating fan, and like the rivers of water “He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:1). The Lord’s disciples marveled and said of Christ, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matthew 8:27). Christ said to Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). The infinite and omnipresent Spirit perfectly controls and directs the winds of the earth, and He sovereignly subdues the sin ravaged hearts of His people, “Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalms 107:30).
INFINITE SOVEREIGNTY AND THE VEGETABLE KINGDOM
One of the smallest forms of life in the vegetable kingdom is the lowly blade of grass. One of the highest forms, if not the highest, is the regal redwood trees of California. Astrologers waste a lot of time talking about the stars, while as yet there are many things to be learned about trees and blades of grass. Biological science has listed and classified over a hundred thousand different forms of plant life in the vegetable kingdom, and without exception they all infallibly honor the laws which their Creator has fixed to determine their nature and duration on earth. “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so” (Genesis 1:11). When the Lord wanted some shade for His dejected prophet, Jonah, “The Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow for his head” (Jonah 4:6). And in the millennium He shall transform the desert and cause It to “blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1).
The rich farmer of Luke 12 thought it was his agricultural skill that caused his ground to bring forth plentifully. The narrative reveals that he had “I” trouble, and when a person has “I” trouble, they are prone to play the fool, and thereby forfeit all that God has blessed them with. The farmer who is truly wise knows when to sow his fields and how to cultivate his crops, but he also knows it is God that gives the increase. “God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein ... left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:15, 17).
Another man who played the fool and died as a fool was Egypt’s obstinate monarch, Pharaoh. He said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice ... I know not the Lord” (Exodus 5:2). Pharaoh’s defiance of God reduced the plant life in Egypt to zero, and filled the land with eyesores. “The Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there were none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field” (Exodus 9:23-25). Man needs to remember, “Out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree,” and that it is God “Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains” (Genesis 2:9; Psalms 147:8). The Lord sends the sunshine, gentle rains, and pollinating winds, whereby the fields flourish with fruit. But the Lord can as He did with Pharaoh, change the sunshine into fire, the gentile rains into devastating hail, and cause the wind to bring blighting locusts (Exodus 10:13), whereby the land is made desolate. Egypt became one big eyesore, uprooted trees filled the landscape, the lush green grass was turned black by the fire which ran along the ground (Exodus 9:23), and every blade of corn was beaten down to the earth by the hall which God sent upon Egypt. The Lord asked Job, “Hath thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble?” (Job 38:22- 23). The earth is the Lord’s, He makes it fertile or infertile at His pleasure, and when the Lord’s “hand is stretched out, who shall turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27).
GOD SOVEREIGNLY RULES IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: the wild beasts of the field are mine” (Psalms 50:10, 11). As in the vegetable kingdom, God also rules in the animal kingdom, including not only the beasts of the field, but also fish and fowl.Of all the millions of sparrows not one of them would complete a single flight without the sustaining power of God, and not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Father (Matthew 10:29). The Lord took the ravens with their greedy and insatiable appetites; and ruled against their nature, causing them to feed His prophet Elijah at the brook Cherith. God spoke unto Elijah, saying, “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there … and the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and the bread and flesh in the evening” (I Kings 17:4, 6). O the wonder, the marvel of God’s illimitable resources stored away in all the kingdoms of nature, for the care of His people. God’s use of the voracious ravens to feed Elijah was not only to sustain him physically, but He was in this miracle also teaching Elijah a spiritual lesson. The lesson for Elijah to learn was, that Ahab and Jezebel were in the sovereign hands of the Lord, even as the ravens, and He would do with them as He pleased. The Lord brought the vacillating monarch, Ahab, and his nagging wife, Jezebel, to their just and infamously appointed end (I Kings 21:23).
The mighty lion, carnivorous and cantankerously starved is reduced to the meekness of a mouse, and God’s prophet, Daniel, is delivered from the lion’s den without a scratch. Daniel said, “My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me” (Daniel 6:22). The Lord spoke unto the whale, “and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land” (Jonah 2:10). God stopped the pestilent house fly at the borders of Goshen (Exodus 8:21, 22), and He caused two, male and female, of every animal specie to enter the ark (Genesis 7:9). The Lord tells ancient Israel, “If ye walk contrary unto Me ...I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number” (Leviticus 26:21,22), and of millennial Israel the Lord says, “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground ... and will make them to lie down safely” (Hosea 2:18).
GOD INFINITELY RULES ALL REALMS OF NATURE
From mineral to man, from the smallest atom to the mightiest Adamite, from the most minute form of life discoverable under the most powerful microscope, to the highest form of creation, God sovereignly rules. Every star in the firmament has by Divine omniscience been numbered and charted (Psalms 147:4), and by infinite sovereignty they infallibly adhere to their prescribed courses (Judges 5:20). God is the Architect of the universe, and His sovereign and all wise purpose pervades its every atom. “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27).
“Lo, the scarlet thread of purpose,
through the warp of being runs,
and the thought of God unfoldeth,
with the sequence of the suns.”
Let the atheist and the agnostic, the ambiguous and the antagonist, the infidel and the idolater, “stand in awe and sin not” (Psalms 4:4). Yea, “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalms 33:8). The spiritually tutored mind has a profound appreciation for the physical world, for he knows it is the handiwork of God (Psalms 19:1), and that the imprint of the eternal mind is written all through it. The born again person who does not believe that God reigns absolutely and supremely in every sphere of nature, is terribly deficient in his knowledge of God. “Who (God) hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance” (Isaiah 40:12). One day, either here or hereafter every person will have a conception of God that agrees with Isaiah’s, and shall know that “the Lord God omnipotent” has never ceased to reign, or shall ever be less than the Infinite God of glory.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN IN THE REALM OF MANKIND
This is a polemic point, but it is an unsolved question only to those who allow depraved reasoning to blind them to this divinely revealed truth. It is at this point the wisdom of this world sets itself in array against God, and boldly says, “We will not have this man (Christ) to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). But it is from ignorance they speak, and not wisdom. Paul, the heavenly schooled apostle, says, “The world by wisdom knew not God” (I Corinthians 1:21). God asks, the rebel, “wise in his own conceit” “Who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20).
Many rationalists do not deny that the Scriptures teach the absolute sovereignty of God. They freely admit the conjunct view of Scripture allows for no impotency in God. But in so allowing they concede nothing, for they vehemently contend that the Bible is a mere human product, and that the God of the Bible is nothing more than a ludicrous caricature of pagan deities. Therefore, they take no delight in the law of the Lord, but have great pleasure in ridiculing the person who believes in divine inspiration of the Scriptures. What the worldly wise Bible mocker does not realize is, that he has cultivated his mind at the expense of his soul, and that the Bible which he tramples under foot is the infallible rule by which he will be judged in the last day (John 12:48). The rationalist at his very best has but the genius which corrupted nature has endowed to guide him, and though he obtains the ultimate in human learning, he is yet utterly destitute of power to comprehend the first spiritual truth. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). The devil cannot make a man more depraved than he already is by nature, but in his aiding and abetting the spiritually blinded adversaries of God, he makes it easier for them to manifest their hatred of God and His word.
The natural man cannot understand the first spiritual truth, nor generate one thought pleasing unto God, but in the things of this world, the Lord says; they are “wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8; Romans 8:8; Genesis 6:5). Yet, many a child of God has by the subtlety of the devil been drawn into the apologetical arena to defend the veracity of God’s Word. The testimony of Scripture is sufficient for those who hold God as the object of their faith, and they are under no obligation to explain any point of Scripture to the unsaved, and it would be utterly vain to try, seeing they have no capacity whatsoever to receive it. God has called His people to proclaim His Word unto the world, but it rests with the Holy Spirit to explain it.
The absolute sovereignty of God is a truth of such profundity that it will never be fully unveiled even to the spiritually enlightened mind. So, let not the Bible believer be discouraged when the worldly-wise scoff at this God honoring truth, for the world of the non elect are destined to bow the knee before Christ, and learn that God has made it a capital crime for mere clay to reply against Him (Philippians 2:10).
Pharaoh, the Egyptian autocrat, said, “I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). What this haughty ruler did not know was, the throne of Egypt was not his, but that it belonged to Almighty God, “The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17). The consummate powers of all the kings of this earth “is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:1). God tells Pharaoh why He let him have his temporary and tyrannical reign on the throne of Egypt. “Even for this purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth” (Romans 9:17). The birth, life, kingship, drowning in the Red Sea, and Pharaoh’s waking up in hell were all designed of God to exalt His infinite sovereignty and to magnify His matchless name among the men of earth.
Let us hear the conclusions of one of the ancient world’s greatest monarch’s on the matter of God’s sovereignty, Nebuchadnezzar, king of mighty Babylon. After God had driven him into the fields to eat grass like the oxen for seven years, he said of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, His “dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou? … And those that walk in pride He is able to abase” (Daniel 4:34, 35, 37).
About twenty years prior the date of this writing (date of this writing - 1983) the ex-Premier of communist Russia Nikita Khrushchev was pictured in one of our newspapers with a smirk on his face, and a belligerent fist raised in the air. The caption under the picture read, “If there be a God in the heavens, our sputniks and mutniks will knock Him out.” Well, the infinite God is still in the heavens, and is still doing whatsoever He pleases (Psalms 115:3). And the needless Nikita has been knocked off of the earth and into hell by the hand of Him that “Hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalms 5:5).
GOD IS SOVEREIGN IN REDEMPTION
God’s sovereignty applies in the salvation of His people as well as in all other realms, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16). Man has rejected the gospel of free grace, and has from the day he was ejected from the Garden of Eden gone deeper and deeper into sin. Upright, Job asked, “How manyare mine iniquities and sins?” (Job 13:23), and seeing that one sin (Romans 5:17, 18) is far greater in its condemning power than all the strength of religion combined, it necessarily follows, He that puts away sin must be untainted by it and sovereign over It. On this score, there is but one Who qualifies, and that one is the Sovereign God of all grace. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Arminianism owns the truth that God sovereignly rules in the vegetable kingdom, and in the lower animal kingdom, but when it comes to man and his mighty kingdom that is where Arminianism draws the line. It is at this point in their notion, God’s power is shifted into reverse; God becomes the suppliant, and man the Sovereign. Especially is this true as regards salvation, the power to beg is the only power God may exercise in redemption, according to Arminian theology.
It is the consensus of modern religious opinion that God’s power is circumscribed when dealing with man in the matter of redemption from sin, and that God must first solicit and secure the consent of His creature, man, before He can realize any of His determinations for him. In essence, this contention, if allowed, would destroy the Godship of God, and make Him at best a disadvantaged contestant for equality with fallen man. Of all the errors which humanistic theology has spawned none is more alien to Scripture or more insulting to God than Arminianism. The heresy of Arminianism stands out against the emblazoned sky of Scriptural truth like a rabid dog with foaming mouth standing in the center of the road, but the Scripture states God was able to deliver His “Darling from the power of the dog” (Psalms 22:20), and God is able to deliver His people from Arminianism in its most violent form. Job, speaking of the God of the Bible, says, “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” (Job 23:13).
Sundry and readily are the Scriptures which unequivocally declare the hereditary and utter depravity of human nature, and which lay bare the awful wickedness of fallen man’s implacable heart. The Psalmist says, “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psalms 39:5). The Apostle Paul says, there is not one good thing which dwells in human nature (Romans 7:18). But in spite of the irrevocable deluge of Scripture affirming the spiritually bankrupt state of Adams’s posterity, they confidently affirm, “I have something to contribute to the work of redemption which is absolutely essential.” The truth is to the contrary, for every motion of the flesh is spent in an effort to stay the hand of God in its redemptive work. Man in his native state loves sin and hates God (Romans 1:30; John 3:19), and it is most illogical to assume a man will support the actions of a person whom he hates, especially when he reasons the actions will deprive him of that which he dearly loves, i.e. sin.
The work of redemption begins with God’s eternal purpose to save His people from their sins, it is brought to fruition in time by the atoning and vicarious work of Jesus Christ, it is perpetuated by the Holy Spirit, and everyone whom the Father gave unto the Son in the eternal covenant of redemption (Hebrews 13:20; John 6:37) shall ultimately stand glorified in the presence of their sovereign Redeemer (Romans 8:30).
So-called Christendom is intoxicated on the soul damning wine of Arminianism. Every Sunday they are served this most favorite beverage, aged and flavored by Satan, and they have become more tipsy than the feasting friends of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:1). Arminianism is not merely spiritually short sighted, but suffers from a spiritual glaucoma that is absolute. The Arminian theory is destitute of any sense of dependence upon God. The theory is generous in letting God be the guide, but this is only allowed as long as man holds the steering wheel. The adamant Arminian, having his mind attired in the best robes of religious scholarship, offers a thousand and one objections to the doctrine of Divine sovereignty in redemption, but his every objection goes fearfully wanting for Scriptural support. Mere inferences and human opinion is his full armor, and while he stands ten feet tall in the eyes of religion blinded by the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4), he is unwittingly fighting against God and every Arminian Goliath shall fall, for the elect and precious Stone is sent against him.
But, the Arminian remonstrant replies, “In the doctrine of Divine sovereignty in all things, the advocate has not taken into consideration that man possesses a free will, and by the power of his will his eternal destiny is determined.” The Arminian doctrine that the will of man has power to make void the will of God is the fundamental error of the ages. The theory contends that every person in heaven, or that will be in heaven, is and shall be there as a result of their own volition, and that every person who is or shall be in hell, will be there contrary to the will or purpose of God. No heresy is more glaring and foolish, yet the god of this world, appearing as an angel of light, has deceived the vast multitudes with this flesh exalting lie.
The advocates of the absolute sovereignty of God in all things have fairly considered the lofty position Arminians have given to the faculty of human will, and have perpetually and irrevocably refuted their every argument. But the truth of God’s sovereignty is everywhere spelled out in Scripture, and depends not upon the defensive ability of its adherents to make it effectual. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (I Chronicles 29:11). So it is, man is shut up to the infallible word of God for all of his religious conclusions, and the Word of God not only teaches that mans natural will is utterly impotent in spiritual matters (I Corinthians 2:14; John 6:44), but that it is perfectly content in its native state (John 3:19, 5:40). Religious psychology, while fraught with many errors, does teach correctly that the natural will and motives are products of the human mind, and are without variance subservient thereto. Seeing then, that “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7), we ask, How can the mind which holds an infinite abhorrence of God, willfully submit to Him? Fallen man is inextricably and willfully bound to his old nature, but this poses no problem for God, and of Him we read, “Of His own will begat He us ...” (James 1:18).
It is not denied that man has free-will. It is asserted in Scripture that he does, and it is acknowledged that he can choose between competing ends, that is, as long as the ends are within the realm of his nature. The scope wherein the will of man may be exercised seems boundless to the natural mind, but the Scriptures have made graphically clear the inability of man to choose that which is contrary to his nature. Choosing God over evil would certainly be a good thing, but this is as impossible for the native will as it is for the Ethiopian to change his skin, or the leopard his spots (Jeremiah 13:23). So it is, Christ says to His disciples, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). In the passion week of Christ’s life on earth, we have the account of man’s depraved will in hot pursuit of the sinless Son of God. We see it stalking its meek and lowly quarry in His Gethsemane rendezvous, where he is arrested and led away unto the High Priest, and there “all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death” (Matthew 26:57, 27:1). And with an inflexible determination to realize their satanic scheme, they delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the Governor. “The Governor answered and said unto them, whether of the twain (Barabbas, or Jesus) will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas ... he delivered Jesus to their will” (Matthew 27:21; Luke 23:25). From that moment on until we read the words of the dying Saviour, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” the will of depraved man finds vent for the most vile, diabolical, and sadistic actions imaginable against its innocent victim. Mans’ evil potential is known only to God, but the crucifixion of Christ and Christian martyrology attests to the fact if there was no exerciser of Divine restraint (Psalms 76:10) against the natural free-will of man, the remotest and darkest recesses of the earth could not hide the saint from the unregenerate will of man.
The natural man may be as religious as a Pharisee, yet there is total discord between his ways and thoughts, and God’s ways and thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). The work of redemption is not dependent upon the favorable exercise of mans free-will, salvation is not realized by the human will making up for a supposed deficiency in God’s will, nay, it is not “of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). God’s will is infinitely superior to the combined forces of nature, including the corrupted nature of man. The universe found its origin in His sovereign fiat, He rebuked the death state of Lazarus with His word, “Lazarus, come forth, and he that was dead came forth” (John 11:43, 44). It is today in the spiritual realm as it was with Lazarus in the physical, “The Son quickeneth whom He will” (John 5:21).
May every reader be granted the blessing to see, that it is in the all sovereign God that man lives, moves, and has his being (Acts 17:28).
(Sovereign Grace Advocate - May, 1983)
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