Challenging God’s Sovereignty II

The fact that God is sovereign need not be established, as I previously wrote here. The sovereignty of God is an essential aspect of who He is and it is not contingent on any other thing. We shall leave that as an established fact.

To proceed in light of the already established fact of non-contingency, we can state that God’s sovereignty in no way depends on either the fact or mode of election. Shank states this best when he says “God is sovereign, regardless of whether He elects, or does not elect…whether he elects some, or all…whether election is conditional, or unconditional.” Does the establishment of this sovereignty then demand, as Calvin and his framework do, the corollary doctrine of unconditional election?

Calvin says “God’s grace is illustrated by the fact that he does not give away salvation indiscriminately, but gives to some what he denies to others. Ignorance of this great truth detracts from God’s glory and prevents true humility.” (Institutes 3:21:1) He continues, pointing to Romans 11:5-6 for his evidence, “Paul maintains that the principle can be understood only if works are set on one side and God is seen to elect those whom he has predestined.” (ibid) [Romans 11:5-6: So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.] Calvin’s contingent will also take us to Romans 9 as proof of (the already established) sovereignty, most often to 9:6-29.

As we search the scriptures for further word on God’s sovereign love and choices, we also find it in evidence here:

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (Rom 11:32)

and here

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11)

and here

This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:3-4)

There are numerous other texts that propose a different election, one that is corporate and universal and conditional. Does this election challenge the sovereign God? In no way! The method or basis of election has no bearing on the truth of His sovereignty. Given the scriptural voices that emphasize the universal nature of grace, should the doctrine that establishes a conditional election rooted in an assumed decree continue to stand? Is God who clearly biblically offers an election in Christ universally to all men, challenged in His sovereign choices by this very offer?

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