The Little Bits of Sovereignty We Keep for Ourselves

Calvinists are a zealous bunch. We are diligent in the perusals of deep theological truths. We delight in the logical soundness of the five points. We are quick to refute the gainsayers. We love our books. We love our knowledge. Books line the walls. We have Calvin’s Institutes on our nightstand, Augustine’s City of God in our restroom.

Yet, like the man who missed the forest for the trees, it seems as though often times we miss the absolute sovereignty of God for God’s sovereignty in one area — soteriology. We so frequently forget simple truths (or forget to apply them), namely, God is sovereign and we are not. We have our heads so far up the TULIP stem that we neglect to apply the doctrine of the sovereignty of God to every area of our lives.

But let us not forget; God is not only sovereign in salvation, but over you and me — He is sovereign over the totality of our lives. We have recognized God as the sovereign over spiritual things (election) , but have we forgotten that God is also sovereign over material things (for the earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof). Have we opted for a Neo-Platonic abstraction of the sovereignty of God (actually, more accurately it‘s a Neo-neo-Platonic abstraction, but that reads awkwardly)?

Sure, we know God has given us His Word to direct us in everything. However, we seem content sometimes to behave as though this isn’t true. Do we raise our families according as God has decreed we ought? Do we work our job as though we’re working for the King of the universe? Do we steward  our property correctly? Are our ethics governed by the Word of God or by what’s convenient?

This is a sober truth to contemplate: Our families, our jobs , our time, our knowledge, every material possession we call “our property”, yes, the sum total of our lives are not ours, they are God’s, and He has given them to us not to be gods of our own little universe and operate as we see fit, but to steward according to God’s revealed will and for His purpose and glory.

How do I treat my wife? Do I love her as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her? How do I raise my children? Do I discipline them properly and for the right reasons, knowing disobedience to me is a violation of the law of God? Do I catechize them diligently as Deuteronomy 6 requires? Do I operate my business according to the guidelines of Scripture with diligence ? Do I use my finances in ways that will best advance the Kingdom? Do I love the church as I ought and support her work and worship? Do I ignore the corruption of society at large and its leaders, thinking God’s Word is only for the church and individual and not for the nation as a whole?

Am I to be ruled by myself and not Christ and His Word? Is Christ not sovereign over me. Is He not sovereign over the church? Is He not sovereign over the state and the nation? Yes, God is sovereign over all things. Why don’t we act like it? When was the last time that we, with as much diligence and fervor as we studied the five points, took the time to study the sovereignty of God in our families? Or the sovereignty of God in the culture? Please note: That is not merely saying God orchestrated the events of the families, and of the culture (though He surly does), but God rules the family with revealed Word, Scripture. Likewise, the culture, the church, the state, and everything. The Bible was not given to us simply that we may know of God and His might works, but also that we may know what God requires of us.

May God grant us the grace to see and to relinquish the little bits of sovereignty we keep for ourselves.

– Ben Murch

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3 responses to “The Little Bits of Sovereignty We Keep for Ourselves

  • christianclarityreview

    Could you clarify? Are you saying we have free will? Otherwise the post is mute.

    We do not have free will. What’s your point?

    If we have shortcomings according to the standards of Christ, God will provide the wisdom and the obedience required. No one else can actually do that. No one can do that for themselves. You have to idealize people as free willed in some way to write what you wrote.

    Your post sounds as if something through you is mixing a little arminianism with your Calvinism and calling that necessary for leadership.

    I see that a LOT. Is God making any distinction between Jesus Christ as Word of God and human speech ( the speech a pre-Incarnate Christ confounded at Babel) in his ministry through you? If not, then those hearing you don’t know that difference and so will act as if there isn’t one and you’ll get the mixed results you seem to be pointing out. Pray that God give you the right prayer to pray in private. Confounding the Word of God with the same speech in which lies are spoken ( human speech ) is actually the unforgivable sin, not just a
    simple theological immaturity.

    Mark 8 23-25 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

    timothy

    In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

    • Reformed Inquisitor

      Timothy:

      Regarding your first point: I am not advocating free will in any sense. I don’t find anything I wrote to be inconsistent with God’s sovereignty over our wills. God gave Scripture to us that we may ethically conform ourselves unto it. Yes, when we conform it is by the operation of God (that is a given). You seem to see disharmony where I don’t. God sanctifies His people, yes, He does it through His Word, causing them to obey it.

      As for your second point: I must confess to have no idea what you’re talking about. What do you mean by “human speech”. And whatever you mean by it, where do you get off claiming it as the unforgivable sin?

      -Ben

  • Jeremy Walker

    Good article. In our election and salvation we are but recipients of grace by the choice of God. However, you make a good point about the little bits of sovereignty that we keep for ourselves. And it is a choice that we make to daily die to our flesh. Romans agrees with your article as well.

    Romans 6:9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
    10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
    11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
    13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
    14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
    15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

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