BEYOND THE FIVE POINTS
What are commonly referred to as the “five points of Calvinism” is a good starting place, but we have to move beyond them to something more descriptive and that encapsulates more fully the teachings of Scripture. Left to themselves, the five points don’t completely define God’s plan to redeem sinful man thereby glorifying himself. Many truths go untaught and unnoticed. They do not do justice to all of the rich and illustrious themes that permeate all of the biblical revelation. So, more harm may be done than good if they are not developed further and put into the context of other complimentary teachings.
Sovereignty of God
The sovereignty of God may be implied in the points, but it is not directly stated. This monumental attribute is hinted at; being an integral component within all the points. However, it is not fleshed out and explained in order to heighten the understanding of and substantially deepen the awesome grandeur of God’s redemptive plan. God’s sovereignty means that everything is under his control. Nothing, I mean nothing, is outside of his ascendancy. Nothing comes to pass except by the will of God. Everything is foreordained, planned, seen, known, accounted for, taken into consideration, and purposeful. All things are done by him and for him. All of history: every decision, sin, birth, death, rise, fall, in, out, up, down, act, will, purpose, intent, aim, goal, thought, motive, step, misstep, etc. coalesce in the mind of God and are directed by his wisdom and power to achieve all that he has designed in order to bring all honor, glory, adoration, and praise to the thrice holy and Blessed Trinity. This comprises, it has to include, all of the destinations of man and angels. Nothing falls outside of the realm of God’s sovereign program or power; nothing is beyond his reach.
Beeke says, “To be Reformed is to stress the comprehensive, sovereign, fatherly lordship of God over everything....” Similarly, Boice wrote, The doctrines of grace thus require the sinner to accept God’s sovereignty in salvation. This submission also comes to characterize the Christian’s entire experience....”
The Bible reveals all throughout that God is sovereign; that he reigns supreme. “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” “For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purposes.’” “...So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand is to make great and to give strength to all.” Likewise, there are many other texts such as Psalm 3:8, Jonah 2:9, Exodus 3:19-20 and 4:21-23, Psalm 105:25 and Genesis 15:13-16, Acts 2:23, 4:28, Isaiah 10:5-19, and 1 Timothy 6:15 that illustrate God’s sovereignty.
Jonathan Edwards had a profound appreciation and passion for the sovereignty of God. One way in which he expressed this is as follows,
The redeemed have all their good of God... It is of God that we have our Redeemer. It is of God that has provided a Saviour for us... It is of God that Christ becomes ours, that we are brought to Him, and are united to Him. It is of God that we receive faith to close with Him, that we may have an interest in Him... It is of God that we actually receive all the benefits that Christ has purchased. It is of God that pardons and justifies, and delivers from going down to hell; and into His favour the redeemed are received, when they are justified... It is if God that the redeemed receive all their true excellency, wisdom, and holiness....
Joel R. Beeke, “The Marrow of Calvinism” in Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction To Calvinism (Orlando, Fl: Reformation Trust, 2008), 41.
James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken, The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering The Evangelical Gospel (Wheaton, Il: Crossway, 2002), 189.
Psalm 47:8, 103:19, 135:5-6, 115:3; Isaiah 46:9-10, 55:11; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12
Jonathan Edwards, “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 vols. (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 2004), 2:3-4.