there can be no grace where there is no sovereignty

Context: bonar

“Man’s entire apostasy and death in sin, so that he cannot save himself; and God’s entire supremacy, so that He saves whom He will, are doctrines exceedingly distasteful to human pride. But they are Scriptural.

Why was one thief saved and the other lost? “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Mat 11:26). God was not bound to save the one, and He had power enough to have saved the other; and neither could save himself. What made the difference? The sovereign grace of God.

Why was Paul saved and Judas lost? Was it because the former deserved to be saved and the latter to be lost? No, neither deserved to be saved. Was it because the one was a fitting object for the grace of God and the other not? No, the one was no more a fitting object than the other.

Why was it that Judea was made a land of light and Egypt remained a region of darkness? Who made the difference? Man or God? Was God unjust in leaving Egypt in the shadow of death when He made light to arise on Israel? What had Israel done to deserve a privilege like this?

None have deserved salvation. No man is more fit for it than another. God was not bound to save any. God might have saved all. Yet He has only saved some. Is He, then, unjust in only saving some when He could have saved all? Objectors say, “Oh, those who are lost are lost because they rejected Christ.” But did not all equally reject Him at first? What made the unbelief of some give way? Was it because they willed it or because God put forth His power in them? Surely the latter. Might He not, then, have put forth His power in all and prevented any from rejecting the Savior? Yet He did not. Why? Because so it seemed good in His sight.

Is it unjust of God to save only a few when all are equally doomed to die? If not, is there any injustice in His determining aforehand to save these few and leave the rest unsaved? They could not save themselves; and was it unjust in Him to resolve in His infinite wisdom to save them? Or was it unjust in Him not to resolve to save all? Had all perished there would have been no injustice with Him. How is it possible that there can be injustice in His resolving to save some?

There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end.” – Horatius Bonar


2 thoughts on “no sovereignty = no grace

  1. Rightly understood “sovereign grace” is redundant. The modifier should be implicit, and unnecessary. Sadly, in a day when false teaching on the subject of grace abounds we find “Free Grace” being used in quite opposite ways. It is used, on the one hand, by those who have God bound and man absolutely “free”. Others use the adjective “free” to describe the eternal and absolute freedom of the One who alone dwells in light impenetrable to decree and work out His decrees according to the good pleasure of His will alone. Let it be clearly understood, that on this subject there is no middle ground. Just as we might echo, “Let God be true, and every man a liar!” even so we might well assert, “Let God be free, and every man be bound!” Nothing less is demanded by every portion of the the canon of Scripture. Nothing else is implicit in the very nature of grace.

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