What Does It Mean That God Is Sovereign? (Crucial Questions) by R.C. Sproul. Ligonier Ministries. 77 pages. 2022
This is one of the newest books in R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series, all of which are free in the digital edition. These books/booklets offer clear answers to the most common and difficult questions about the Christian faith. In this volume, Sproul looks at God’s sovereignty over nothing, creation, salvation, human actions and evangelism.
Sproul writes that when we say that God is sovereign, we are saying that His power is supreme in all reality, and no power in heaven or on earth can possibly resist the power of God. He tells us that there are four ways that God is sovereign. He is sovereign over nature. He is sovereign over history and human affairs. And He is sovereign in His inherent right to impose obligations on His creatures, to say to them, “Thou shalt not do this” and “Thou shalt do that.” He writes that God is sovereign, not we ourselves, and His sovereignty extends to all things, not only the creation of the world but the sustaining and governing of the world, and what we describe as the laws of nature only describe the ordinary ways that God in His sovereignty governs nature.
As with all of Sproul’s teaching, he communicates what can be hard to understand subjects in an easy-to-understand manner.
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BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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Below are 10 of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Whatever God creates, He sustains. Whatever He creates, He owns, and whatever He owns, He rules. He rules over all things.
- God possesses sovereign authority, and that authority in no way rests on my agreement or submission to it.
- Salvation is of the Lord. That’s what the sovereignty of God is all about.
- In His sovereignty, God has the capacity and ability to work through the sinful decisions and wicked choices of His creatures to bring about His sovereign will, which is altogether righteous.
- How do we reconcile the sovereignty of God with human freedom? If God’s sovereignty is limited by our freedom, then who is sovereign? We are.
- You still have a will, you still have the ability to make choices, but your choices are wicked. You are morally incapable in and of yourself, until you are enabled by God the Holy Spirit, ever to choose the holy things of God.
- When we’re engaged in evangelism, we have to remember that justification is by faith and not merely by a profession of faith.
- We are convinced that no one in an unregenerate state will ever believe in Christ. That person is in a state of spiritual death and will not, in that imprisonment of the will, exercise his or her will to choose Christ.
- The Holy Spirit has to raise us from spiritual death, and when He does, then we choose and make the decision that is real.
- Every person who has tasted the sweetness of the gospel has an obligation to communicate that gospel to a dying world.
- Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold. My wife Tammy has published a book about HOW to study the Bible. The book is available on Amazon in both a Kindle and paperback edition. She writes “Maybe you’ve read the Bible but want to dig deeper and know God and know yourself better. Throughout the book I use the analogy of making a quilt to show how the Bible is telling one big story about what God is doing in the world through Christ. Quilting takes much patience and precision, just like studying the Bible, but the end result is well worth it.”
- “Come to Jesus (Rest in Him)” and “Gentle and Lowly” Interview with Dane Ortlund. Watch Matt Merker and Jordan Kauflin speak to Dane Ortlund about how his book, Gentle and Lowly helped inspire their song ‘Come to Jesus (Rest in Him).’
- Collin Hansen’s Book on Tim Keller. I’m looking forward to Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen, which will be published April 25, 2003.
- Scott Sauls Wants You to be Beautiful. On this episode of the Habit Podcast, Scott Sauls, author of Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen, speaks with his old friend Jonathan Rogers about the beauty that can grow out of past hurts.
BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?
The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which he will be completely successful in the achievement of his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries his plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.
John Piper draws on a lifetime of theological reflection, biblical study, and practical ministry to lead readers on a stunning tour of the sightings of God’s providence—from Genesis to Revelation—to discover the all-encompassing reality of God’s purposeful sovereignty over all of creation and all of history.
Exploring the goal, nature, and extent of God’s purposes for the world, Piper offers an invitation to know the God who holds all things in his hands yet remains intimately involved in the lives of his people.
You can download the PDF of the book free from Desiring God.
Watch this six-minute video as John Piper talks about the book, and this interview with Dr. Joe Rigney of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
This week we look at Chapter 30 Broken Families. Here are a few quotes from the chapter:
- The point, rather, is that there comes a point—and only God knows it—when God may say, “No more. I will not grant you repentance, and therefore you have forfeited forgiveness.”
- If people must become the ultimate decisive cause of their own repentance, we have no hope of salvation. Rather, we should feel hope because God knows how to bring people to repentance, and when he decides to do it, it happens. Nothing can stop him. Not the longest pattern of sinning. Not the worst kind of sinning. If he decides for bondage to be broken, and for repentance to happen, it will.
- Repentance is a gift of God. He may give it. He may not. No one deserves it.