What does the term "Sovereign Grace" refer to?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Sovereign grace combines two of God's attributes, His sovereignty and His graciousness. Both of these characteristics of God are so vast that many volumes have been written about each. Briefly thou...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
God is Sovereign over all, and Gracious in character, which all Christians would agree with - but that is not what the term 'Sovereign Grace' generally refers to. The term "Sovereign Grace" is generally found in usage by Calvinists, referring to God picking only some men to be saved as He pleases, outside of faith or any other factor.

Under this theory, God, in His Sovereignty, limits the exercise of His goodness to a few people that God is pleased to save, renewing and regenerating them. Only these few are then redeemed by Christ.

Or, as S. Michael Houdmann says in his answer more concisely, "God in His sovereign grace has chosen to save those on whom He has set His love (Romans 9:8-13). They are picked out of the stream of helpless men and women cascading into hell."

Proponents believe that this keeps the Sovereignty of God because only God then 'picks' who is granted special saving grace. However, scripture shows that God's choice and will are that salvation come through faith (John 3:16) - something the theory of 'Sovereign Grace' views as placing Salvation in man's hands and rejecting the Sovereignty of God.

There are several underlying problems with this 'Sovereign Grace' view:

The first is that it grossly misunderstands the Sovereignty of God; it rejects His powers to delegate, reducing God to a micro-manager who must manage every action directly Himself; it rejects His authority to set natural law, treating God as a micro-manager who must actively push around every molecule of the universe Himself; and it rejects God's own spiritual authority to decree the way of Salvation. 

Yet scripture shows a far more powerful God:

- God can delegate and appoint others to carry out His decrees. This is a mark of His authority as King, not a mark against His supreme power. (Heb 1:14, Matt 25:14-30, Hab 1:6, Zech 11:16, Amons 6:4, Acts 3:26, Gal 4:6, John 3:31-36, II Chron 18:21, I Kings 14:14, I John 4:10)

- God puts boundaries and limits on nature; nature is bound to His decree. He doesn't have to push molecules around, His word is enough. (Jer 5:22, Job 38:4-41, Job 9:4-9, Psalm 104:1-13, Lev 26:3-5, II Chron 7:11-16, Jer 8:7, Jer 10:13) He binds even time and space as subject to His eternal plan (Heb 4:7, Rom 16:25-27, Rom 8:22-25, Rev 21:21, II Pet 3:3-10, I Cor 2:7, I Pet 1:20, Isaiah 46:9-10, Acts 2:23)

- God sets the rules by which deliverance, forgiveness, and pardon are obtained (Num 25:22-29, Jer 26:1-6, II Chron 7:14, John 3:16, Heb 10:11-18, Luke 4:14-21, Heb 9:22, Matt 5:29, Isiah 45:22-25) It was not His choice to choose people out as He pleased, but rather His good pleasure to grant Salvation only by faith.

God neither stops people from disobeying nor allows or causes them to disobey, but merely holds back judgement for a time: (Acts 7:51-53, Deut 30:11-20, Josh 15:14-28, Luke 6:46, Luke 9:5).

[More detail here: Is God sovereign or do we have a free will?
See Answer: http://ebible.com/answers/14667?ori=167400]

A second problem is a reversal in the core sequence of salvation. Scripture shows we are sinners, hear the gospel and respond in faith, and then we become new Creations in Christ and Jesus grants us the Holy Spirit. (Gal 3:2-3, Gal 3:10-14, Eph 1:11-14, II Cor 5:17) The theory of 'Sovereign Grace', man receives regeneration by the Spirit -before- he has faith, so that he can have faith, and then be redeemed. 

A third problem is that it brings in divisiveness in the church. Those who do not hold to the theory are often branded as holding to a belief in God who isn't Sovereign, or to salvation by works and not grace. Rather than discussions and debates being based in God and salvation as revealed in scripture, they then become about buzzwords and dismissing opposing views with labels.

[See related: Question: Is monergism or synergism correct? Http://ebible.com/answers/17977?ori=167400]

July 12 2016 15 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Edwin Danny Reaid
In regards to Sovereign Grace:

(Sovereignty) Of God, his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure:

“But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”
Psalms 115:3

“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure” Isaiah 46:10

“And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35

“For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Romans 9:15

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Ephesians 1:11 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”
Romans 8:28

“which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords”
1 Timothy 6:15

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Revelation 4:11

(Grace) of God, the unmerited favor and love of God; the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them of divine origin; state of grace the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 
It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” 2 Timothy 1:9

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 

Salvation is God’s ~ Sovereign Grace! (Scriptures identified are due to restrictions on length).

January 27 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
Grace is grace. Grace as apposed to works. Romans 4:5-8 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him who justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness. 

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness apart from works. Blessed is the man whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

We can only be saved by grace. Our works can not save us. Galatians 2:21 I do not void the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. 

If we could do one work that would save us, then Jesus died for nothing. We can only be saved by what Jesus did for us plus nothing. You can not add works to grace. If you add one work, it is no longer grace, and what ever you did would give you something to boast in. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, through faith, (when we believed on Jesus alone) and that not of your selves, it is the GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. You can not boast in free. The gift of God is eternal life. Not a reward for good behavior. 

Since it is a gift, the payment has been made. And since it is a gift, we have nothing to boast in. Jesus paid our debt in full, so we can never be condemned again. John 3:18. 

It is Gods will that everyone believe and be saved. First Timothy 2:4. First John 2:2. So if God gives people the faith to be saved He has to give the faith to everyone or God is a liar. Faith is the one requirement for salvation to happen. Faith is not a work. 

It is faith apart from works. When do we get the seal of the Holy Spirit? After we believe. Not before. Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also AFTER ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.

November 06 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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