The sovereignty of God’s grace is set before us most clearly in Hebrews 2:16. It is written, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”
When our Lord Jesus Christ came to save fallen creatures, he passed by the fallen angels and laid hold upon the seed of Abraham. He did not take hold of the seed of Adam, but he took hold of the seed of Abraham, God’s elect, and delivered them from the bondage of death by the irresistible power of his grace.
We were lost, rushing headlong to destruction, until Christ reached down the hand of his sovereign power and delivered us. Every saved sinner is “a brand plucked from the burning” (Zech. 3:2), snatched out of the jaws of hell, snatched out from among perishing men by sovereign mercy and irresistible grace. He passed by the fallen angels, passed by the sons of Adam, and took hold upon the seed of Abraham.
God our Savior reserves the right of absolute sovereignty in the exercise of his saving grace and in the application of his mercy. As he is sovereign in creation and in providence, our God is absolutely sovereign in the salvation of sinners.
You cannot read through the Bible without being confronted with the fact of divine sovereignty on almost every page. Today we hear much talk about the “fundamentals of the faith.” Yet, those who boast of being “uncompromising fundamentalists” seldom ever mention the gospel doctrine of divine sovereignty. When they do mention it, it is only to denounce it and poke fun at those who believe it.
Let men, if they dare, deny it, ridicule it, and rebel against it as they will. God’s indisputable sovereignty is a fundamental doctrine of Holy Scripture, a vital point of Christian theology.
If you doubt the prevalence and importance of this doctrine of God’s sovereignty in grace, I challenge you to read the Word of God through one more time. Begin at the Book of Genesis and go right through the Book of Revelation. You will find the gospel doctrine of divine sovereignty repeatedly declared, explained, and illustrated throughout the Sacred Volume. It is set forth, not in a few isolated verses, but upon every page of Inspiration. God has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:15-16).
The illustrations of God’s sovereignty in the exercise of his grace are as numerous as the characters mentioned in the Bible.
Grace For Fallen Men – No Grace For Fallen Angels
Satan led a revolt in heaven against the throne of God. One third of the heavenly angels fell from their holy habitation. As a result of their sin, they were forever doomed to suffer the wrath of God. No mercy was extended to them. No grace was offered to them. No Savior was sent to deliver them. The fallen angels were forever damned without the least measure of grace.
Then Adam did the same thing. He sinned against the throne of God. He challenged God’s right to be God. What happened? God was gracious. God promised the fallen sons of Adam a Savior, a Redeemer, a Way of mercy (Gen. 3:15). The angels who sinned were passed by, reprobate, without mercy. Yet, when Adam did the same thing, God extended mercy to man. That is divine sovereignty. Why did God pass by the angels that fell? Why did God extend mercy to fallen men? Only one answer can be given, “He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Rom. 9:18).
You can either rebel against this message of divine sovereignty and perish in your rebellion, or you can bow to the sovereign God and say with Christ, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matt. 11:26). Whether you bow to God’s throne or rebel against it, the fact remains the same. The God of the Bible is an absolute sovereign. He can save you, or he can damn you. That is his right as God. It is entirely up to him.
Great Grace For Some Men -- No Grace For Others
As God chose some angels who lost their first estate, and passed by others; even so, among the fallen sons of Adam there are some who are chosen of God, to whom he will be gracious, and there are some whom God has passed by, to whom no grace is given.
Adam had two sons, Cain and Abel. God passed by Cain, the older, and saved Abel. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. God passed by Ishmael and saved Isaac. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. God passed by Esau because he hated Esau, and saved Jacob because he loved Jacob. In the days of Noah, God destroyed the entire human race, except for one man and his family. Why did God save Noah? Because “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8).