by Robert Johnson
The Sovereign Will Of God
I. Missionaries Closing The Door To Heaven: Protestant
II. Our Sovereign God Wills That Man Make A Choice!
III. Our Sovereign God’s Expressed Desire and Love
For All Men:
IV. The Potter And The Clay: The Truth:
Calvinism versus Free Will?
A. There is a great need for God’s people to know the
difference between Biblical truth and the many errors which may cause
men to lose their souls.
2 Tim 4:1-4: "I charge thee therefore before
God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead
at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season,
out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,
and shall be turned unto fables."
B. Today, I want us to discuss a false teaching which greatly
troubles me: Calvinism and the Sovereign will of God.
1. It troubles me because it not only rejects the truth, but slanders
the Biblically stated character and love of God, making Him a respecter
of persons. (Acts 10:34,35)
2. It troubles me because it makes God the creator and director of evil.
3. It troubles me because it portrays God condemning men, women and
children to hell and denying them any hope or way to be saved from their
C. The word “Sovereign” refers to one possessing
supreme power and authority, unlimited in power or control.
1. Certainly the Bible does teach that God is all powerful, ever present
and deeply involved in the daily affairs of the world He has created.
Psa 24:1: "A Psalm of David. The earth is
the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell
Acts 17:28: "For in him we live, and move,
and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For
we are also his offspring."
2. But though God works in the world to bring about His divine purpose
and will, this does not mean that everything that happens in this world
is pleasing to God or His will.
3. God has created a world in which freedom is a real possibility.
4. “His permissive will provides for human freedom and the laws
D. Today we will examine the claims of some modern Calvinist
missionaries and then examine the will of God as revealed in the scriptures.
Closing The Door To Heaven: Protestant Reformed Church
A. We have been recently studying with several men who have
dedicated themselves to spreading the word to the world that Calvinism
is truth and God does not allow all people to choose to follow Jesus
and receive salvation:
1. I am reminded of the words which Jesus spoke to the Pharisees:
Mat 23:12-13: "And whosoever shall exalt
himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut
up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
B. Let us examine some statements in the booklet, “God’s
Sovereignty In Salvation” (Protestant Reformed Mission).
1. They say if God does not get everything He wants and if He does not
control every single detail in this world, then He is not sovereign.
“For it is impossible to conceive of a sovereign
God whose will and purpose can be frustrated by those over whom He rules.
If the will of the ruled can in any way change or thwart the will of
the ruler, then the ruler is not sovereign.”
Isa 46:9-10: "Remember the former things
of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is
none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient
times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand,
and I will do all my pleasure:" (p.4)
“His will is so sovereign that He has determined
just exactly what comes to pass in this world. God has determined and
appointed absolutely everything. Even the smallest details are comprehended
in His will and purpose.” (p. 5) (Even the socks we wear??? Question
2. They believe man has no say and no choice whatsoever in whether he
is saved or lost.
“It can not be that man is the one who determines,
by his own will, whether or not he will be saved. Certainly man must
seek God, love Him and serve Him out of a willing heart. But ultimately,
since God is sovereign, salvation must depend solely upon His sovereign
choice. For He is the infinite Creator Who has the right and power to
do with His finite creatures exactly what he pleases--even with respect
to our eternal destiny.” (Then mentions Rom. 9:21-23, Potter and
clay--One of their backbone prooftexts!). (p. 6).
“Oh indeed we choose God, but only after
He has chosen us and grants us the power to choose Him.” (p. 7)
“Since God sovereignly predestinated the life of every man (some
to glory and others to destruction), it cannot be that God’s predestination
is based upon man’s choice--his faith and repentance...For that
would make man’s choice sovereign rather than God’s choice.
That would make God’s predestination depend upon man’s will.”
“Predestination...cannot be based upon man’s work--not his
good nor his evil, not his faith nor his unbelief. Both election and
reprobation are unconditional. Predestination is the sovereign and free
choice of God alone.” (p.8)
“God did not choose anyone to salvation and glory because He saw
beforehand that they would believe and repent of their sins.”
3. They believe that God does not love everyone; He only loves the elect,
and He makes sure they are save and that everyone else goes to hell.
“God’s love cannot be some powerless
emotion that would like to see all men saved, but does not have the
strength to accomplish that desire. God’s love must be an effectual
power that not only wills the salvation of its objects (election), but
actually does save them...God’s love does not sit around watching
its objects go to hell and do nothing about it. If God loves you, then
He saves you. (p.9)
“Because He loves His people, He must effectually draw them out
of their sin and death and into the glory of His everlasting salvation.
His sovereign love will not allow His people to be damned. There are
no objects of His love in hell at the present time, nor shall there
ever be any there. How cruel would His love be if it did not will to
save its objects from hell, and how weak if it could not save from hell.”
4. They believe that Jesus did not die for everyone, only for the ones
God loves and plans to save.
“The redemption which Christ merited on
the cross if for a particular and definite group of people. It is limited
to those whom God loves and whom He has chosen to salvation from before
the foundation of the world. Christ did not (emphasis theirs) die for
everyone. He died for the elect of God and for them alone...God does
not have to provide for the salvation of all and then wait upon man
to make the choice. If that were true, then He would not be sovereign...He
sent Christ to die, not for all, but for only those whom He intended
to save.” (p.13)
5. They believe that even the “elect” cannot decide on their
own (without a miracle-regeneration) to have faith.
“It is inconceivable that God would sovereignly
plan our salvation, objectively obtain that salvation through the foreordained
death of His only begotten Son, and then leave it up to man to appropriate
that salvation in and of himself. No, since God planned it, He alone
carries out that plan. He sovereignly applies salvation to the elect
“It can not be that faith and repentance precede regeneration
and thus are conditions which must be met before God can regenerate
us. Both faith and repentance are impossible apart from the new birth...regeneration
is never the result of man’s choice.” (p. 16,17)
6. Of course the root of this false teaching is the belief that man
is totally depraved because of the sin of Adam:
“Moreover, the depravity of man’s
nature is total. It not only extends to the whole of his being but it
makes him totally incapable of any good...He has neither the will nor
the power to change his wicked heart.” (p. 17,18)
II. Our Sovereign
God Wills That Man Make A Choice!
A. Since Adam, God has created all mankind with the freedom
to choose either good or evil:
1. Since God is all powerful and His will always rules, then it would
be wise for us to understand that the all powerful God has willed that
individuals have a choice concerning their eternal relationship with
Deu 11:26-28: "Behold, I set before you this
day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments
of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse,
if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn
aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other
gods, which ye have not known."
Isa 1:19-20: "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good
of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with
the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
1 Chr 28:9: "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy
father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind:
for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations
of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if
thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever."
2. By giving man the freedom to choose, God did not will that disobedience
occur, though he permitted the potential existence of disobedience.
B. God in most every case, has established His covenants and
relationships with man on an “”if -then” basis (i.e.
the promises and blessings of God as well as promises of destruction
are based on the choices man makes or how he chooses to live.)
Exo 19:5-8: "Now therefore, if ye will obey
my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure
unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall
be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words
which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 7 And Moses came
and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces
all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered
together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses
returned the words of the people unto the LORD."
Exo 23:22: "But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all
that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary
unto thine adversaries." (Note: Lev 26:13-18)
Josh 24:20-25: "If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods,
then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath
done you good. 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will
serve the LORD. 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses
against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And
they said, We are witnesses. 23 Now therefore put away, said he, the
strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD
God of Israel. 24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God
will we serve, and his voice will we obey. 25 So Joshua made a covenant
with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in
Heb 3:13-15: "But exhort one another daily, while it is called
To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of
our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if
ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”
III. Our Sovereign
God’s Expressed Desire and Love For All Men:
A. The Bible clearly reveals that God has a desire for none to perish,
but He has left the decision up to each individual and will judge them
based on their choices:
1. God created all men and desires that they seek Him and repent!
Acts 17:26-31: "And hath made of one blood
all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath
determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him,
and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him
we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets
have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are
the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like
unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 30 And
the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men
every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which
he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained;
whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised
him from the dead."
2. God wants us to pray for all men and desires that all would be saved
by receiving the truth.
1 Tim 2:1-4: "I exhort therefore, that, first
of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks,
be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority;
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of
3. God is “unwilling” that any should perish, but desires
all to repent:
2 Pet 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning
his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward,
not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Ezek 18:20-32: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall
not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the
iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon
him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 21 But if the
wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep
all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely
live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed,
they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath
done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should
die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways,
and live? 24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness,
and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations
that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that
he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed,
and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. 25 Yet ye
say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel;
Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? 26 When a righteous
man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and
dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. 27 Again,
when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed,
and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions
that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 29 Yet
saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house
of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? 30 Therefore
I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,
saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions;
so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions,
whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit:
for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in
the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves,
and live ye."
B. God’s love and invitation to salvation is limited to
one group of people: “WHOSOEVER WILL."
1. God’s love extends to every person in the world:
John 3:14-17: "And as Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal
life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved."
a. By the way, Jesus did die for the sins of every man, even though
not every man will choose faith.
1 John 2:2-3: "And he is the propitiation
for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments."
Heb 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the
angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that
he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
2. The Gospel is good news for “whosoever” will believe
and obey Jesus unto salvation.
Rom 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel
of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that
believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Mark 8:34-35: "And when he had called the people unto him with
his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever
will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life
for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."
Mat 7:24: "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and
doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house
upon a rock:"
Mat 10:32-33: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men,
him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But
whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father
which is in heaven."
Mat 12:50: "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which
is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Acts 2:21: "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call
on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Acts 10:43: "To him give all the prophets witness, that through
his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."
2 John 1:9: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine
of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ,
he hath both the Father and the Son."
John 12:46-48: "I am come a light into the
world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for
I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth
me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word
that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
IV. The Potter
And The Clay: The Truth:
A. Calvinists use the potter and the clay in Romans 9 as one
of their favorite proof texts:
1. They greatly abuse its context, for it merely teaches that God can
save the Gentiles if He chooses even over the protest of the Jews.
Rom 9:33: "As it is written, Behold, I lay
in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth
on him shall not be ashamed."
B. What they should do is examine the Potter and the Clay as
explained in Jeremiah chapter 18, which is actually very similar in
its context and meaning.
Jer 18:6-12: "O house of Israel, cannot I
do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in
the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. 7 At what
instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation,
against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent
of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I
shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build
and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice,
then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against
you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his
evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. 12 And they said,
There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will
every one do the imagination of his evil heart."
Conclusion: Consider Acts 10:34,35
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