Review: The Sovereignty of God in Providence

I received this free booklet entitled “The Sovereignty of God in Providence” by John Reisinger from Chapel Library. It cannot escape my hand the moment I gazed my eye on it. Though I do not promote the author’s covenant theology, his discussion on God’s meticulous providence is comforting, encouraging, and humbling being drawn from the fountain of God’s truth revealed in the Scriptures.

In this short booklet, the author gave six principles that are indispensable to rightly understand God’s sovereignty over all things, especially in providence as it “run[s] all the way through the Word of God and undergird its message of salvation.” This is vital since embracing God’s sovereignty in providence will largely help to give us “a hopeful sense of security and a heartfelt assurance” while living in a sin-sicked world. Here are the six principles:

  1. God has a definite plan and purpose for the world (Job 23:13; Eph 1:8-12).
  2. God is always in control of all things and is constantly at work in accomplishing His plan (Hab 1:1-11; Isa 10:5-6).
  3. God controls and uses everyone, even the devil, in working out His plan (Isa 10:7-11; Psa 76:10).
  4. God punishes the people that He uses to accomplish His purposes when they act out of wrong motives (Isa 10:12-16; Act 2:23-24; Mat 27:15-26).
  5. All things are from God, but the devil is the agent of all evil (2Sa 24:1; 1Ch 21:1).
  6. Although all sickness and affliction are part of God’s purposes and under His sovereign control, it does not follow that all sickness and affliction are necessarily chastisement for sin (Job 1:1; 1:6-2:10; 13:15).

These are my top seven favorite quotes from the booklet:

"You and I may paint ourselves with all kinds of Calvinistic labels and ridicule Arminians, but the real test of our faith in a sovereign God is how we act when we are "upset" and do not get our own way. When that happens to you, does the sovereign grace or sovereign flesh come pouring out of you? A correct theology is not enough." [29]
Jesus Christ was never more our Lord and His Father was never more in total control of all things than the day that sinners “with wicked hands” unknowingly fulfilled the decrees of God and nailed our Saviour to the cross. Our blessed Lord was never more in control, never more sovereign and powerful, than He was the moment men cried out in derision, “Where now is your God?” and challenged Him to prove He was the Son of God by coming down from the cross." [7]
It doesn’t matter what the thing is that perplexes us today; if it happens, then God’s hand is in it and over it, or it would not have happened. God sent it to accomplish something. We must seek His face and ask Him for grace to learn whatever lesson He is seeking to teach us through this particular trial, instead of blaming it on the devil. [11]
The Word of God, from beginning to end, teaches that God is absolutely sovereign and controls everybody and everything as He works out His own foreordained purpose and plan. However, the same Bible also teaches that every human being is 100 percent responsible for every one of his actions. [16]
What God sovereignly decrees in eternity, man will freely choose in time. [18]
God always has a hand in the action where the sin is, but He never has a hand in the sin of the action (T. Watson). [21]
It is not ours to question God and ask “Why?”, nor is it ours to deny the texts of Scripture that teach a truth we do not like. It is ours to prove God’s grace and power by trusting Him even when we cannot understand. [28]

Despite its small size, the author has a big heart for the God who is not sovereignly tyrant, but supremely loving, infinitely wise, and independently determine to work all things according to the counsel of His glorious, gracious, and holy will.

To God be the glory!

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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