Sovereign Grace


Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.


To be sovereign is to have absolute authority and power– to do whatever one wills, whenever he wills, and with whomever he wills. Earthly kings strive for sovereignty over their kingdoms, but because they are mere men, their rule and reign is short lived.


Unlike men who fail and die, God is all powerful and all wise, and He is everywhere present to execute His divine, sovereign will– “and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35. Unlike men, God is eternal and immutable– He reigns as sovereign Lord forever! God does whatsoever He pleases; both in saving sinners by His grace, and in executing judgment upon the lost. As weak and sinful creatures, we stand in desperate need of His sovereign grace and tender mercies!


1. Lost Sinners Need Sovereign Grace


The scriptures declare just how deplorable that all men are in their natural state. We all are declared unrighteous, unholy, unprofitable, no good, deceitful, liars, wicked, and proud. We do not understand spiritual things, we do not seek after God, we do not know the way of peace but only war, and violence, and hatred. We don’t fear and reverence God our Creator, but rather turn His glory into shame. All our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight! We are all dead in trespasses and sins, enemies of God, and we are all by nature the children of wrath. No man can or will come to God for salvation! Yes, we all are in desperate need of His sovereign grace! Rom. 1:18-32, 3:10-18, 5:6-12.


2. God Provided Grace for His People


Foreknowing the sinful condition of all men, God chose to save a people out of the mass of lost humanity. Unlike men, God chose to save the foolish, the weak, the base, and the despised things to be heirs of His salvation. He chose to save harlots and drunkards and all manner of sinners. As for the “wise and noble” that are saved, they too are brought to see their sinful condition and their desperate need for His mercy and grace.


1 Cor. 1:26-29 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.


Why God chose to save some people and not others is a mystery, as all men are unworthy of the least of His favor. We only know that it was “according to the good pleasure of His will” and “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:5-6). It is certain that salvation is all because of His sovereign grace, and not at all because of our own goodness; for “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” Rom. 3:12


The human response to sovereign election is to accuse God of being unjust and affair for not giving all men an equal “chance”. What we need to realize is that God is not obligated to His creatures, but we are obligated to Him. We are not in a position to judge God, but He is our judge! (Rom. 9:14,18-20, Job 9:14-15, 40:2,8, Matt. 20:15).


The scriptures do provide some answers to these human objections. Although God is not obligated by His creatures to give them anything, He sees fit to bestow many common graces upon all men. (Ps. 104:10-24). He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust  (Matt 5:45). He freely gives life, health, and earthly provisions to all (Acts 17:25). He gives men the light of creation and of conscience (Rom. 1:20, 2:15, Rom. 2:4) He gave mankind His Holy Word and sends His messengers to preach the Gospel unto all without distinction (Matt. 28:18-20, Ac. 17:30). After doing them only good, God then is patient and longsuffering toward the same rebellious sinners who hate Him!


For all these things that God has done, men despise His goodness and reject His counsel! They blaspheme His Holy Name, trample on His  goodness, and refuse to thank Him for their lives and all His provisions. Worst of all, they reject the precious Gospel of God’s beloved Son! Who are men to say that God is unfair???


3. God Provided a Sacrifice for His People


God must punish sin. His Holiness demands that every sin receives a just recompense of reward. Before the foundation of the world God knew that His people would need a sacrifice for their sins to make them fit for heaven. To secure their salvation and satisfy His Holiness, God purposed to send His Son Jesus, the Lamb of God, to die for the sins of His people.


Na. 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked


Rev. 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.


1 Pet. 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


God’s sacrifice was the work of His sovereign grace. No one ascended up to heaven to bring Christ down, or descended into the grave to raise Christ up…The sinner’s only contribution was to provide the sins for which Christ must shed His blood! The all-important question is, did Jesus die for your sins? If you are not brought to believe that He did, then you must pay for your sins in everlasting punishment.


4. God Calls His People


Sinners hear the Gospel with no effect until the Holy Spirit begins a work of grace in their heart. When the Spirit calls, suddenly the sinner finds himself under deep conviction of sin and terrified at the very real consequences of dying in that state. He finds himself miserable, knowing that He might die at any moment and perish eternally in hell. He cries out to God for mercy, acknowledging that he is wicked and undone, and worthy of God’s righteous judgment. God then reveals to the sinner the meaning of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection for his sins. Thus, the penitent sinner responds to God’s grace from a new heart of faith, praising and thanking God for His wonderful salvation, knowing that he is forgiven of all his sins.  


This is the effectual call of sovereign grace– a call not produced by any earthly means, but by the Holy Spirit of God…


Ps. 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power…  (See also Ti. 1:9, 2 Th. 2:14)

The call of the Spirit is a very mysterious thing. It causes a man who could not understand the simplicity of the Gospel, to truly believe that Jesus died for his sins. It causes a man who once hated God, and hid from God, and took pleasure in every imaginable sin, to love God, and cling to God, and to hate sin with a godly hatred! This effectual call is the work of God’s Holy Spirit and sovereign grace giving new life to a dead sinner.


5. God Preserves His People


God chose a people, Christ died for their sins, the Holy Spirit called them in time, and they are kept secure by the mighty power of God. It is not possible for a man to save himself, nor is it possible for a man to keep himself saved. Salvation is by the sovereign grace of God from start to finish. (Jonah. 2:9 Salvation is of the Lord). We want to notice this evening just four of the many ways that God preserves His people.


First, it is the power of God within every believer that keeps him secure. Believers have the Holy Spirit within Who enables them to endure temptations and the onslaughts of Satan and the world. Christians would be foolish to suppose that we could endure such enemies in our own strength. (Php.1:6, 2:12-13, 1Pet.1:3-5).


Secondly, Jesus intercedes for His people. Christ died for all the sins of His people– past, present, and future. Now he sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven making intersession for us. The Christian can never pay for a single sin– either before or after he is saved. It is Jesus Who must make atonement for our sins and not us! (Heb. 7:25, 1 John 1:5-10).


Thirdly, the providence of God causes all things to work together for the good of His people. Even those things that appear to be evil or harmful to us are working together for our good. We may not always see the good in God’s providential dealings, but we can be sure they are for our good. (Rom. 8:28, Heb. 12:6-12)


Fourthly, God is faithful to His promises. God has promised to keep His people secure, and He never breaks His promises. God even made an oath that He would keep His Word to His people.  


La. 3:22-23

22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.


Heb. 6:17-20

17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: {confirmed...: Gr. interposed himself by}

18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.


Mal. 3:6

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.



Concluding Thoughts


Saved sinners and lost sinners alike need to see that salvation is not by our “good works”, but by God’s grace. We have no righteousness of our own, but we need His righteousness. We can’t boast in anything that we have done to merit salvation, but we boast only in Jesus Who “saves his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21). God will not share His glory with another! Are you saved by God’s grace? Do you know Jesus as your own personal Savior? If not, repent of your sins and trust Jesus now. May God bless you!