“God is Sovereign Even in our Salvation”

 growingrace.jpg

We are called, as Christians, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). This means that the Christian life is to be a life-long pilgrimage of joyful discovery of God’s Word and how it is to impact our daily lives (Colossians 3:16). Because of this Word-centered perspective on our daily Christian experience and maturation, we must strive to never be static toward such personal growth (1 Peter 2:2).

Rather, we should aim daily to energetically grow, in order to know, more and more of Christ’s blessed person, and of His sacrificial work on the cross (Philippians 3:10). God typically uses His Word, important books, and spiritually-gifted teachers in this growth process (Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:13). In fact, it is a commonly held axiom that within any given ten-year period of your life, the person that you will become, will be determined largely through the people you have met and the books you have read. This was how God caused my life to take a wonderful Theological turn for the good, when He chose to use a Banner of Truth minister’s conference in Memphis, Tennessee, in late May, 1989. In God’s providence, I was exposed for the first time to “reformed” preaching (from Pastor Geoffrey Thomas of Wales, et al), and especially to the many “reformed” books that were for sale there. And, it was while listening to those powerful God-centered sermons, along with buying and devouring some of those solid books (while still there!), as well as, interacting with those God-centered men during the meal times, that I kept on hearing the recurring phrase, “the doctrines of grace” … “the doctrines of grace ...” Finally, I asked one dear brother what those doctrines were, and he replied, they are the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace in salvation, in particular, the free-grace gospel. I said, well, I believe God is sovereign and especially in salvation. How come I have never heard of these doctrines before? Finally, after further inquiry, I discovered that the phrase “the doctrines of grace” was just another way of saying “the five points of Calvinism” (or the acrostic TULIP). This deeply concerned me, at first, for I had always been told that Calvinism was heresy; but then, I was moved to a fervent and objective study of God’s Word and those doctrines (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). And what was the result? I literally acknowledged my Total Depravity – Romans 3:9-20 (T), I soberly rejoiced in God’s unconditional election of me – Ephesians 1:4 (U), I joyfully affirmed Christ’s successful atonement for me – Isaiah 53:10-11 (L), I gladly confessed that God had definitively and effectually called me to Himself – Matthew 22:14 (I), and humbly agreed that those who truly know Christ will persevere in their relationship with Him until their final breath of their earthly journey – Hebrews 3:14 (P). This discovery was so eye-opening, and so profound, that it could only be likened to something of a second spiritual awakening or conversion-type experience for me (Psalm 27:4). And why do I describe my experience to you this way? I believe it is because I felt closer to Christ, at that time, and still do, than I had ever experienced before (Philippians 3:10). Thus, God revealed to me that His Son did not merely die potentially for me, but actually died for me specifically, two-thousand years ago (Galatians 2:20)! The great hymn-writer Samuel Davies captured what I had experienced well, when he said, “Great God of wonders! All Thy ways are worthy of Thyself, Divine: And bright glories of Thy grace among Thine other wonders shine; who is a pardoning God like Thee? Or who had grace so rich and free?” So then, beloved, let us be amazed at His sovereign grace in our salvation! And let us be stunned that we have received His mercy! And may we all agree with the Old Testament prophet Jonah when he summarized the fruit of my discovery so that even a child could understand it, when he said, “… Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Therefore, let us draw near to God, by taking heed to our heart preparation today, for encountering the living God tomorrow morning; in our public Worship, both through the praises and prayers of His people; and through the reading and preaching of His Holy inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! … Soli Deo Gloria!

Do you like this post?