The Gospel of John: A Pastor’s Perspective on the Sovereignty of God in Salvation.

“They went each to his own house,” (John 7:53).

As the Feast of the Tabernacles came to its conclusion, so too, for the time being anyway, did the Sadducees and Pharisees plot to arrest Jesus. Today’s text refers to the religious leaders going back to their respective homes. You get the impression that they went to their homes thinking that tomorrow was another day in which to plot and plan anew their intent to arrest and kill Jesus. As we will witness in John 8:1-11, it would not take them long.

Why were people who were so religious at the same so intent on destroying the very One who was the fulfillment of their religion? Jesus will answer this directly in John 8. His answer may surprise you.

For the time being though, let’s ponder the words of pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards. His sermon, God’s Sovereignty in the Salvation of Men, is based upon Romans 9:18 which says, “Therefore He has mercy on whom He has mercy, and who He will he hardens.”

Pastor Edwards, in addressing the particular theological point that God exercises His sovereignty in the eternal salvation of men, writes that God’ sovereignty is “His absolute, independent right of disposing on all creatures according to His own pleasure.” This pleasure is in opposition to any constraint, is not under the will of another, and is not under any other obligation.

What God’s sovereignty implies, Edward’s stated, is that “God can, without any prejudice to the honor of any of His attributes, bestow salvation on any of the children of men, or refuse it.”  The implication of such a bestowing is that God may give salvation to the meek and lowly and deny it to the wise and great.

I Corinthians 1:26-28 says, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,”

Edwards explained that God will sometimes bless weak means in producing astonishing effects when more excellent means are not utilized. Edwards writes, “Sometimes some, who have eminent means of grace, are rejected, and left to perish, and others, under far less advantages, are saved. Thus the scribes and Pharisees, who had so much light and knowledge of the Scriptures, were mostly rejected, and the poor ignorant publicans saved. The greater part of those, among whom, Christ was much conversant, and who heard Him preach, and saw Him work miracles from day to day, were left; and the woman of Samaria was taken, and many other Samaritans at the same time, who only heard Christ preach, as He occasionally passed through their city. So the Jews, who had seen and heard Christ, and saw His miracles, and with whom the apostles labored so much, were not saved. But the Gentiles, many of them, as it were, but transiently heard the glad tidings of salvation, embraced them and were converted.”

The reason people who were so religious but also at the same so intent on destroying the very One who was the fulfillment of their religion were so because their religion was of the devil and not of God. This is what we will see in John 8.

This is what we witness in our own day and age. As the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Take time today to thank God for saving your soul and resolve to live in gratitude to Him for His extravagant gift.

Soli deo Gloria!


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