In our last article we discussed the fact that the position of common grace implies a world and life view of its own, unique in its own character and shaped and fashioned according to the foundation upon which it stands. Through the years this matter of the ability of the unsaved man to do good in the sight of God by the operation of the Spirit of Jesus Christ has served as a blue print according to which pattern a world and life view has been developed. But we noticed also that this same blueprint is the pattern for a new of the world and life which is in great danger of becoming post-millennial in its practical application to the problems of life. Facing the sterner realities of life, common grace has been instrumental in bringing some to consider that the kingdom of Christ will be a kingdom realized here upon the earth in the evolution of society when the world becomes Christian in every sphere and Christ reigns over all here below.
It remains for us now to turn to a more positive development of a world and life view which is based upon the foundations and patterned after the blue print of the principles of our own churches.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN
The principle of the Calvin Calvinic Reformation in distinction especially from the Reformation under Luther was the glory of God. This fundamental and undoubtedly correct principle of all the truth is also the principle that is hailed by all Calvinists as being essential to understand in order to formulate a proper world and life view. Even the proponents of common grace recognize this fact. It is important therefore to understand this principle and see how it does indeed become, if properly understood, the cornerstone upon which we can take our stand to view life and the world in its proper perspective.
God is absolutely sovereign. This sovereignty which God possesses is absolute in Him because He is God alone and the Creator of the entire universe with all its inhabitants. He is the eternal God of heaven and earth besides Whom there is no other. He is not dependent for His life and His existence upon any other creature or being. This would be inconceivable. All the creatures in heaven and on earth and in hell, all else besides God are dependent creatures. They are dependent for their life and existence, for their being and place in the creation upon the will of the almighty Lord of heaven and earth. But his cannot b true of God as if he in turn were yet dependent upon some higher being. Were it true, He would be God no longer. He is eternal. No one created Him. No one called Him into being. There is no fountain and source of His own existence outside of Himself as there is with us and with angels. He exists perfectly and eternally for no other reason than that He is God. He has the fountain and source of His life and existence within Himself. He is therefore absolutely independent.
It is this independence of God which also forms the basis for His sovereignty. A dependent creature who is dependent for his very life upon a being higher and greater than himself can never be sovereign. He is always under a continual debt and obligation to the one to whom he owes his life and existence. But his is not true of God. He owes no man anything and is indebted to no one. He is God above all most blesses forever to Whom the hosts of heaven and earth owe their undying allegiance and love.
Thus His sovereignty is a very real fact.
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IS HIS FREEDOM AND POWER
Because God is sovereign, He is free. He can do everything that He pleases to do without the necessity of giving account to anyone of what He does. He has the right and the privilege which He alone possesses to do all that He wills. Everything that is in harmony with His own being He can do and may do without ever explaining His actions or defending His deeds. He is the sole criterion and standard of what is right and wrong. He is the only bar of justice and truth. There is no court of appeal higher than God. What He does is well done, and no one, not even the highest angel in heaven would care to quiz Him as to the righteousness of His deeds. He stands infinitely exalted above all, far lifted up above the tribunals of men and the petty bickerings of finite creatures as to what is right and what is wrong. He is the ultimate standard of all things. He does all His good pleasure without entering into the counsels of the wise or asking their advice and consideration. It is the height of folly and sinful presumption for man to question Him in any respect. To bring God before the Bar of human reason, of human justice, of human standards is to make God a man and to exalt man to the throne of the eternal Creator of all things, the sole Judge of heaven and earth. And while man in actual fact can never do this, in his repeated attempts he becomes guilt of the most detestable and repulsive arrogance and conceit, of the most devilish lies and distortions, of the ultimate expression of the lie of the devil in Paradise, “Ye shall be as God…”
But He is not only free to do what He pleases to do, He is also the divine Ruler of all. If He is Creator, and if He is free in all that He does, He is also the Ruler Who actually brings to pass all that He purposes to do. He does not create all things and leave them to the fickle hand of chance and happenstance. He does not form all things by the Word of His power and turn His works over to certain inexorable and instituted “laws of nature”. He creates all things that He created in order that the purpose for which He created them may be realized as He personally tends to their development in time and the course of their progress upon earth until they are guided by His almighty hand to their eternal destination. He rules over all His works guiding and controlling, commanding and bringing to pass as He determined in His own counsel ere the worlds were. The sun in the heavens runs its circuit in obedience to a divine command. The lion seeks after its food, because its Creator directs it through the silent paths of the forest in search of prey. The snow and the wind are guided in their trip from their source to their destination by His power. The inhabitants of the earth and heaven and of hell itself move and live and walk according to His sovereign dictates. For He sits upon the throne of the creation ruling mightily and gloriously over all His works. He is Lord and He alone.
THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S RULE
Yet He rules over all things according to His purpose. He does not rule for the mere joy of ruling. He does not guide and direct all things for the mere pleasure to be derived from holding all things in the palms of His hands. He has a purpose in it all. This purpose is the glory of His name through Jesus Christ His own Son Who entered into our flesh in order to suffer and die on the cross and rise from the tomb in Joseph’s garden for the sins and guilt of His elect people.
The point of this is that the sovereignty of God is a sovereignty which is always revealed and exercised through Jesus Christ His own Son. Jesus Christ is placed in glory over the whole household of God as its glorious Head, and He rules in the name of the Father and by His power over all the works of His Father’s hands.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 8 December 1959