A. W. Pink – God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

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“Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

In our last chapter we considered at some length, the much debated and difficult question of the human will. We have shown that the will of the natural man is neither sovereign nor free—but, instead, a servant and slave. We have argued that a right conception of the sinner’s will—its servitude—is essential to a just estimate of his depravity and ruin. The utter corruption and degradation of human nature is something which man hates to acknowledge, and which he will hotly and insistently deny—until he is “taught of God.” Much, very much, of the unsound doctrine which we now hear on every hand—is the direct and logical outcome of man’s repudiation of God’s expressed estimate of human depravity! Men are claiming that they are “increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and know not that they are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked!” (Revelation 3:17). They prate about the ‘Ascent of Man,’ and deny his Fall. They put darkness for light; and light for darkness. They boast of the ‘free moral agency’ of man when, in fact, he is in bondage to sin and enslaved by Satan, “taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).

But if the natural man is not a ‘free moral agent,’ does it also follow that he is not accountable?

‘Free moral agency’ is an expression of human invention and, as we have said before, to talk of the freedom of the natural man—is to flatly repudiate his total spiritual ruin. Nowhere does Scripture speak of the freedom or moral ability of the sinner; on the contrary, it insists on his moral and spiritual inability.

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John MacArthur – Twin Truths: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

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This morning we’re going back to John chapter 3, so open your Bible, if you will, and come with me to the third chapter of John. We’re going to take a look, an initial look at this section, verses 11 to 21. And then I’m going to kind of digress a little bit because there’s something I have to tell you to set this entire passage in a proper context and to put it in your mind in a way that will be most helpful.

But let me read, we left off our discussion of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in the opening ten verses where Jesus talks to him about being born again, born from above. And we talked about the new birth. We talked about being born from above. It’s a work of God; it’s a divine work, a work of sovereign grace and sovereign power. It’s a monergistic, unilateral work of God that’s not a synthetic work where you have God participating with man. It’s not some kind of coalescing of the will and power of man, with the will and power of God. It’s a singular work of God by which He comes down from heaven, irresistibly brings a call—we call it an effectual call on the heart of a sinner—draws that sinner to himself, regenerates that sinner, and then justifies that sinner, sanctifies that sinner and then glorifies that sinner. It’s a work of God. The new birth being born from above, in the very illustration of birth, makes the point because no one participates in his own birth. You didn’t participate in your physical birth; you didn’t participate in your spiritual birth. It is a work of God, a divine, creative miracle.

So we went through that discussion, verses 1 to 10, with Nicodemus. Our Lord continues to speak to Nicodemus but beyond Nicodemus because as you begin in verse 11, the pronouns are plural as He says, “I say to you.” In verse 11, the pronoun is plural, so it broadens beyond Nicodemus to anyone else who happened to be there listening and to everyone else, for that matter, who will ever read this.

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John Piper – Plunge Your Mind into the Ocean of God’s Sovereignty

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Sometimes we need to plunge our minds into the ocean of God’s sovereignty. We need to feel the weight of it, like deep and heavy water pressing in against every pore, the deeper we go. A billion rivers of providence pour into this ocean. And God himself gathers up all his countless deeds — from eternity to eternity — and pours them into the currents of his infallible revelation. He speaks, and explains, and promises, and makes his awesome, sovereign providence the place we feel most reverent, most secure, most free.

Sometimes we need to be reminded by God himself that there are no limits to his rule. We need to hear from him that he is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. We need his own reminder that he is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. We need his assurance that he reigns over ISIS, terrorism, Syria, Russia, China, India, Nigeria, France, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States of America — every nation, every people, every language, every tribe, every chief, president, king, premier, prime minister, politician, great or small.

Sometimes we need to hear specific statements from God himself about his own authority. We need God’s own words. It is the very words of God that have unusual power to settle our nerves, and make us stable, wise, and courageous.

On the one hand hearing the voice of God is like a frightened child who hears the voice downstairs, and realizes that daddy’s home. Whatever those other sounds were, it’s OK. Daddy’s home.

On the other hand it feels like the seasoned troops, dug in at the front line of battle, and about to be overrun by the enemy. But then they get word that a thousand impenetrable tanks are rushing to their aid. They are only one mile away. You will be saved and the enemy will not stand.

Vague generalizations about the power of God do not have the same effect as the very voice of God telling us specifically how strong he is, how pervasive his power, how universal his authority, how unlimited his sovereignty. And that our times are in his hands.

So let’s listen. Let’s treat the Bible as the voice of God. Let’s turn what the Bible says about God into what God says about God — which is what the Bible really is — God speaking about God.

And as we listen, let us praise him. There is no other fitting way to listen to God’s exaltation of God. This is what happens to the human soul when we plunge into the ocean of God’s sovereignty.
We praise you, O God, that all authority in the universe belongs to you.

“There is no authority except from me, and those that exist have been instituted by me.” (Romans 13:1)

“You, Pilate, would have no authority over my Son at all unless it had been given you from me.” (John 19:11)

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Michael Kelley – The “Right Time” God

God operates on a different time table than we do as humans. We know, this of course. Of course we do. We remember what Peter wrote during a day when people were arguing that because Jesus had not yet returned, that Christianity could not be believed:

“Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9).

Don’t mistake God’s patience for His indifference. Understand that God will act when God will act, and that His time of action is going to be right. We know this of course. Of course we do. But that’s about the second coming of Jesus. The first coming of Jesus happened in a similar way. Not early, and not late, but right on time:

“When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

It was 400 years between the close of Malachi and the opening of Matthew. Four hundred years of silence. Four hundred years of looking at the prophecies. Four hundred years of wondering if today was the day when God would act on behalf of His people in a dramatic way.

That 400 years mirrors another 400 years between the death of Joseph and the rise of Moses. Four hundred years of slavery. Four hundred years of oppression. Four hundred years of stories of a supposed deliverer.

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