Sovereign Grace


The assertion of God's absolute sovereignty in creation, providence, and grace [salvation] is basic to biblical belief and biblical praise. The vision of God on the throne - that is, ruling - recurs (1 Kings 22:19; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 1:26; Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:2; cf. Pss. 11:4; 45:6; 47:8-9; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 3:21); and we are constantly told in explicit terms that the LORD (Yahweh) reigns as king, exercising dominion over great and tiny things alike (Exod. 15:18; Pss. 47; 93; 96:10; 97; 99:1-5; 146:10; Prov. 16:33; 21:1; Isa. 24:23; 52:7; Dan. 4:34-35; 5:21-28; 6:26; Matt. 10:2931). God's dominion is total: he wills as he chooses and carries out all that he wills, and none can stay his hand or thwart his plans.

The master theme of the Christian gospel is salvation. Salvation is a picture-word of wide application that expresses the idea of rescue from jeopardy and misery into a state of safety. The gospel proclaims that the God who saved Israel from Egypt, Jonah from the fish's belly, the psalmist from death, and the soldiers from drowning (Exod. 15:2; Jon. 2:9; Ps. 116:6; Acts 27:31), saves all who trust Christ from sin and sin's consequences.
As these earthly deliverances were wholly God's work [sovereign grace], and not instances of people saving themselves with God's help, so it is with salvation from sin and death. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it [either faith as such or salvation and faith together] is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). "Salvation comes from the LORD" (Jon. 2:9).

J.I. Packer

For a fuller meaning ­ see Sovereign Grace in the Salvation section.