A Summary of the Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Salvation is not finally in the hands of man to determine. His choices are crucial, but they are not the final, decisive power in bringing him to glory, God’s sovereign grace is.
1. God elects, chooses, before the foundation of the world whom he will save and whom he will pass by and leave to unbelief and sin and rebellion. He does this unconditionally, not on the basis of foreseen faith that humans produce by a supposed power of ultimate self-determination (= “free will”).
Acts 13:48, “When the gentiles heard this they were glad and glorified the word of God. And as many as were for ordained to eternal life believed.”
Romans 11:7, “Israel failed to obtain what is sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.”
John 6:37, “All that the Father gives to me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.”
John 17:6, “I have manifested my name to them whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me.” (John 6:44, 65).
2. The Atonement applies to the elect in a unique, particular way, although the death of Christ is sufficient to propitiate the sins of the whole world. The death of Christ effectually accomplished the salvation for all God’s people.
Eph. 5:25, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Heb. 10:14, “By a single offering he perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
John 10:15, “I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Rom. 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?”
3. Because of the Fall, humans are incapable of any saving good apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. We are helpless and dead in sin. We have a mindset that “cannot submit to God without divine enabling.
Rom. 8:7-8, “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.”
Eph. 2:1,5, “You were dead through your trespasses and sins.”
4. God’s call to salvation is effectual, and, hence His grace cannot be ultimately thwarted by human resistance. God’s regenerating call can overcome all human resistance.
Acts 16:14, “The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul.”
John 6:65, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by my Father.” (Matt. 16:17; Luke 10:21)
1 Cor. 1:23-24, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
5. Those whom God calls and regenerates He also keeps, so that they do not totally and finally fall away from faith and grace.
Rom. 8:30, “Those whom he predestined, he also called and those whom he called he also justified and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me; and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”
Phil. 1:6, “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.” (1 Cor. 1:8).
1 Thess. 5:23, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
Romans 11:36, “From him, through him, and to him are all things, to him be glory forever amen!”
By John Piper ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. December 10, 1997. Used by Permission. Website: desiringGod.org
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About John Piper:
John Piper was pastor for preaching and vision for over thirty years at Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 40 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.