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Sovereign Mercy Illustrated
The illustrations of God’s sovereignty in the exercise of his saving mercy, love, and grace are as numerous as the characters mentioned in the Bible.
Grace for Fallen Men
None 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 (Genesis 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. — “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Romans 9:18).
Great Grace for Some Men
None 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. Some are loved of God from everlasting and are elect, like Jacob. Some are hated from everlasting and are reprobate, like Esau. Some are vessels of mercy. Others are vessels of wrath (Romans 9:11-24. Some are sheep, who must and shall hear the Shepherd’s voice, who must be saved (John 10:16). Others are goats who cannot believe (John 10:26).
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” (Genesis. 6:8).
Bow or be Damned
You must either bow or be damned. 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” (Matthew 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.