Monday, May 26, 2008

Wrestling with Sovereignty

“…keep yourselves in the love of God….”
- Jude 20-21

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
–Jude 24-25

“Perseverance is God’s singular gift.”
- John Calvin, Commentary on Ezekiel, I:380

“We are to maintain our allegiance to God until the end and not stray from His love.”
-Thomas Schreiner, The Race Set Before Us, p. 257

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

So which is it…divine sovereignty or human responsibility? Are they opposed to one another? Or are they held in tension with one another? They are both supported biblically. Now let’s be clear; I am a champion of divine sovereignty. God saved me by a sovereign act of His love on my behalf. I was dead in my sin and He alone brought me to life. I had nothing to do with it. Put simply - salvation is monergistic. God is salvation’s Prime Mover. And at the end of the day even my perseverance is a gift of God and He will receive the glory even for my obedience. How is it that the biblical writer Jude was worried about apostasy, and yet many people in the church live like it could never happen? At times grace seems to be misunderstood to the point that really any behavior is excusable and perseverance is unnecessary. For some, the doctrine of election is so air-tight that every possibility of falling away is precluded. The problem is God’s Word warns against falling away. Faithfulness, vigilance, perseverance, and watchfulness are part and parcel to the Christian life and do not stand in opposition to divine sovereignty. While at the same time encouraging his readers to keep themselves in God’s love, Jude affirms God’s sustaining grace on their behalf. We will fall into error if we embrace the one and not the other. May we be absolutely convinced of God’s sovereignty and absolutely convinced of our need to persevere.

Persevering in Grace with you,


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