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Doctrine of Sovereignty of God 1

July 23, 2010

THE DOCTRINE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
1. Definition and Description
A term by which is expressed the supreme rulership of God.
The possession of the most complete sovereignty is a necessary part of the proper
conception of God and is abundantly declared in the Scriptures (e.g., Ps. 50:1; 66:7;
93:1; Isa. 40:15, 17; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 11:17). The method of the divine rulership is,
however, to be judged in the light of special revelation.
The term absolute sovereignty as used in Calvinism means the sovereign election of a
certain number to salvation and the sovereign reprobation of others. There is a sense,
indeed, in which the sovereignty of God is absolute. He is under no external restraint
whatsoever. He is the Supreme Dispenser of all events. All forms of existence are
within the scope of His dominion. And yet this is not to be viewed in any such way as
to abridge the reality of the moral freedom of God’s responsible creatures or to make
men anything else than the arbiters of their own eternal destinies. God has seen fit to
create beings with the power of choice between good and evil. He rules over them in
justice and wisdom and grace.
This is the whole tenor of the Scriptures and the plain declaration of many passages
(e.g., Deut. 10:17; Job 36:5; Acts 10:34–35; Rom. 2:6; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17).1
2. He is absolute Sovereign – He is in control of all things – Ps. 103:19
3. Sovereignty encompasses, that He is supreme, His Godhead and His Kingship – Dan.
4:35; Ps. 22:28, 115:2-3; Eph. 1:11; Prov. 16:4; Isa. 46:9-10
4. God orders & controls all things, human actions among them, in accordance with His
own eternal purpose – Prov. 16:9, 21:1; Matt. 10:29; Acts 4:27; Rom. 9:20; Eph.1:11.
5. The sovereignty of God thus express the very nature of God as all powerful and
omnipotent, able to accomplish His good pleasure, carry out His decreed will, and
keep His promises.
6. Names that reflect God’s sovereignty:
6.1 God Most High – elyon – Gen. 14:18-20
6.2 God Almighty – el sadday – Gen. 17:1; Exod. 6:2
6.3 Sovereign Lord – adonay yhwh – Gen. 15:2; Deut. 3:24
6.4 Lord God Almighty – kyrios pantokrator – Rev. 1:8
7. God’s sovereignty is expressed in the comprehensive plan or decree for the world
history – Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:18
8. His sovereignty is exercised and displayed in history in the work of creation,
providence, and redemption – Jer.32: 17-23
9. He rules the destiny of men and nations – Acts 14:15-17; 17:24-28; Ps. 135:6
1Unger, M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. (1988). The new Unger’s Bible
dictionary. Revision of: Unger’s Bible dictionary. 3rd ed. c1966. (Rev. and updated.). Chicago: Moody Press.
10. The gracious work of redemption manifests God’s sovereignty. His promises,
covenants, and works of redemption.
11. The gospel displays God’s sovereignty – Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:24, Eph. 1:18-22
12. The authority of scripture is an expression of the sovereignty of God – 2 Tim. 3:16;
Jn. 10:35; Matt. 5:18; Luke 24:44
13. The Father is sovereign – Ps.83: 18; Matt. 6:10
14. Jesus Christ is sovereign – Isa. 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; Mark 1:15; Acts 1:3; Matt.
28:18; 1 Cor.15:24-28; Eph.1:19-24; Phil 2:9-11; Rev. 5:9-14, 19:6
15. The Holy Spirit is sovereign – 1 Cor. 12:11 2
2 Taken in part from Elwell, Walter A., “Evangelical Dictionary of Theology”. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic,
2001, p.1131.