Is God Sovereign Over My Salvation? (Discipleship Training)
Is God sovereign over my salvation? Exactly when did God choose to save me—in response to something I did, or in eternity past? Do I have free will to choose to believe in Jesus Christ? Is God sovereign over the unbelief of those who never trust in Jesus for salvation?
For this subject, we should perhaps begin with the last section of its chapter in the Westminster Confession of Faith:
The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel. (WCF 3.8)
In humility, we come to the text of the Scriptures to recognize that the Bible says many things about how we are saved. These do not follow any tidy system, but reveal a high mystery.
Sadly, deeper study of God’s eternal decrees sometimes make us arrogant, rather than humble. Or, we become boastful in ourselves, rather than led to praise, reverence and admiration of God. Or, we become passive, rather than diligent, to share the gospel of Jesus and to plead with sinners to repent from their sins and trust him alone for salvation.
May it never be! We must study this subject, for God reveals it clearly in the Bible. Nevertheless, as you study these things with special prudence and care, guard your heart toward humility, diligence, and abundant consolation as you sincerely obey the gospel.
To become subject to the mystery of God’s eternal decrees to predestine some to eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus, while foreordaining others to dishonor and wrath for their sin and unbelief.
Read and discuss:
- Genesis 50:20: What Joseph’s brothers meant for evil, God meant for good
- John 10:25–30: Jesus’ sheep hear his voice and follow him; no one can snatch Jesus’ sheep out of his hand
- Acts 2:22–23: Jesus was crucified by the hands of lawless men and according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God
- Romans 8:28–30: Foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified
- Romans 9:6–29: God has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills
- Ephesians 1:3–14: Predestined for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to God’s purpose
Read and discuss:
- Wesminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 3
- Westminster Larger Catechism #12–13
- Westminster Shorter Catechism #7
- What does the Bible teach about God’s freedom and power to ordain everything that comes to pass? What does the Bible teach about whether God is the author or approver of sin? What does the Bible teach about the freedom and responsibility of human beings? How do all these doctrines hold together?
- What does the Westminster Confession of Faith mean by affirming that God’s eternal decree does not cause the “the liberty or contingency of second causes [to be] taken away, but rather established” (WCF 3.1)?
- Why should we be careful to distinguish between the language of predestination “unto eternal life” and foreordination “to everlasting death” (e.g., WCF 3.3)? In other words, does God choose to save those whom he predestines with the same kind of choice to pass over the rest (WCF 3.6–7; WLC 13)?
- What does it mean to handle “the doctrine of this high mystery of predestination…with special prudence and care” (WCF 3.8)?
- Memorize John 10:27–29
- Discuss and pray about handling this doctrine with special prudence, care, and humility
- Discuss and praise God in reverence and admiration for this high mystery
- Discuss and pray about how this doctrine brings abundant consolation for believers
- Discuss and pray for the salvation of the lost you know, praying especially for diligence in sharing the gospel with them
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