Musings on Sovereignty 1

When I consider the absolute independency of God, and the necessary, total dependence of all created things on Him their first cause, I cannot help standing astonished at the pride of impotent, degenerate man, who is so prone to consider himself as a being possessed of sovereign freedom, and invested with a power of self-salvation; able, he imagines, to counteract the designs even of infinite Wisdom, and to defeat the agency of Omnipotence itself. “Ye shall be as gods,” said the tempter to Eve in paradise; and ye are as gods, says the same tempter now to her apostate sons…The Scripture doctrine of pre-determination lays the axe to the very root of this potent delusion. It assures us that all things are of God, that all our times and all events are in His hand. Consequently, that man’s business below is to fill up the departments and to discharge the several offices assigned him, in God’s purpose, from everlasting; and that, having lived his appointed time and finished his allotted course of action and suffering, he, that moment, quits the state of terrestrial life and removes to the invisible state.             Augustus Toplady

There are only two systems of religion in the world. The first is that men have to work either a little or a lot in order to have a happy life in eternity. The second is that God is sovereign and bestows grace upon the ungodly and gives them a happy life in eternity by His mere grace to the praise of the glory of His grace. Christianity is the second of these and every other religion in the world is the first. Men, women, and children are utterly dependent upon God for all things and at all times. Yes, it is quite true that men are blind to this because of their sinful hearts that are blind to spiritual things. But when men have their eyes opened, they can see how utterly prideful their wicked hearts have been to think that they can take a breath apart from God’s concurrence.

Instead of starting with men as the standard, we must go to where Scripture goes and state that God is the ultimate truth and standard of all things. God is absolutely independent and as such all men must be absolutely dependent. God is the first cause and though He works through secondary causes, all that happens is from His hand. Nothing can happen unless it fits into His plan and it is that plan that is from all eternity. The living God who is all-powerful and of infinite wisdom cannot be coerced or bribed and cannot be brought into an agreement with men based on their principles. Man is simply and utterly dependent upon God and cannot do one thing to bring God into some form of obligation to himself.

Toplady speaks of being astonished at the pride of impotent and degenerate men. If he thought impotent man was so full of pride in his day (1700’s), then what would he think of our day in which the true God seems to be almost universally denied? What would he think of our day in which the pulpits of the land are full of those who seem to think nothing of the power of God and encourage men to serve God by their own decisions? It is not just that men are deceived and/or wrong about some small things regarding theology, but they are horribly and terribly wrong about the truth of God. Men focus on themselves and their own power and strength, but what they need to be brought to is to focus on God’s power and strength and to know their utter weakness and inability. Men need to be told of their own inability and of God’s ability. Men must be pointed away from themselves and then pointed toward God or pointed toward God and then away from themselves.

The delusion of men is to think that they have something like a sovereign freedom while they assign God to a lesser position than their own wills. This is simply an outrage and an attack upon the sovereign freedom of God. Can impotent man who is empty of wisdom and spiritual life and strength and such a speck of dust in the universe really have the power of self-salvation and effectively oppose the designs of the omnipotence of God in His infinite wisdom? What is man that God should even think of such a vile creature with anything but loathing and wrath? What is man but a tiny speck of dust on the earth which is but a speck of dust in the universe? Who does man think he is to actually think that he can plan for himself and provide for himself?

When put bluntly, the old adage is very true. God is God and man is not. God has created all things and that includes all men. It is God who is sovereign over all things and man is sovereign over nothing. It is God that orders all things according to His plans and man cannot counter those plans with his own. It is God that is infinite in wisdom and power and man has no wisdom or power but what God gives him. Who is puny little man to lift up his fist against God and say that he (man) will do as he pleases? Who is this speck of dust who will demand to be saved according to his own pleasure? Man is but a vapor who is held into being by the mere pleasure of God each and every moment that He is pleased to do so. When God decides that He will not hold a vapor into being on this planet, then as a little bubble pops with a sharp object and disappears, so man dies and enters eternity. Man is completely in the hands of his Maker and should be humbled and broken over this. Man should bow in utter submission to this God instead of subverting the rights of God over himself to himself.

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