Sovereignty Introduction

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After the Counsel of His Own Will by Mike Vinson

Most Christians will readily admit that the God they serve is a sovereign God. The dictionary defines sovereignty as “supreme authority.” Few indeed deny that God is the supreme power in the universe. The scriptures certainly affirm this:

“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing” (Isa 40:15).

“The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all” (Psa 103:19).

In the fourth chapter of Daniel, God gives King Nebuchadnezzar a ‘troubling’ dream. Four times in this one chapter we are told “… that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Dan 4:17, 25, 26, 32).

According to Daniel chapter four, God rules in the kingdoms of men and ‘wills’ to ‘set up’ the “basest of men” over those kingdoms.

Even evil men are under the sovereign rule of the supreme authority according to the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. Though troubling to the carnal mind, even this assertion is acknowledged by most Christians.

The question naturally arises as to how far this sovereignty extends. Does God rule in the kingdoms of men, but not in the wills of men? How could that possibly work? If God wills to place base men over the kingdoms of men, it would seem He must first know which particular leader will not break down and repent of his low ways right in the middle of his rulership. We are told emphatically and repeatedly that God had to “harden Pharaoh’s heart” to keep him from letting Israel go before God planned on their release from Egypt (Exo 4:21, Exo 7:13, 22).

Does God therefore harden the hearts only of world leaders, but not the hearts of the average individual?

Our only concern in this paper is ‘what saith the scriptures’. That brings us to the scripture from which we have taken our title: “In whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF HIM WHO WORKETH ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILL” (Eph 1:11).

This paper was inspired by a friend who doesn’t believe that Eph 1:11 includes his ‘freedom of choice’. “If we have no freedom of choice,” he asked, “how could those who were invited to the ‘wedding dinner’ of Mat 22 and the ‘great supper’ of Luk 14 have refused their invitations? Didn’t they clearly choose not to attend?”

It is the purpose of this article to show from the scriptures why these invited guests refused their invitations and also WHY we all make the decisions we enact. Truly the scriptures teach the law of cause and effect. Though this is demonstrated throughout the scriptures, we will use but twelve examples to shed light on how God works ALL THINGS after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL. First, let’s notice to whom the parables of Mat 22 and Luk 14 are addressed.

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