17.2 Our God Saves: By His Will

Table of Contents

The Text

Revelation 5:11–14 (CSB)
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands.

12 They said with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!

13 I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

The Chapter

This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

The Confession

God Saves By His Will Alone: This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election

Romans 8:30 (CSB) And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 9:11–16 (CSB) For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election might stand—not from works but from the one who calls—she was told, The older will serve the younger. As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau. What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For he tells Moses, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then, it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy.

John 1:12–13 (CSB) But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

I need somebody, anybody to make it make sense. If you did not have the will to save yourself, how do you think your will is strong enough to take you all the way home to God. Spoiler alert: you are not strong enough. We are tiny. Weak and fragile. We don't just need a little power--we need someone who is able to save, has the power to save, and is willing to save. And that alone is the magnificent Triune God.

And this argument "if you didn't start it, you can't finish it" should be familiar to some of you. It is the entire book of Galatians. While Paul lays the bedrock of the gospel of Christ in letter to the Romans, he takes the Cliff's Notes version and doubles down in the Galatians.

Galatians 3:1–3 (CSB) You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?

Anytime you hear someone speaking of "We are saved by God but we must cooperate with God in our obedience for our sanctification." Tread carefully. They are about to embark on the Galatian heresy.

What God starts, God completes. For:

Philippians 1:6 (CSB) I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28–30 (CSB) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.

God Saves By His Will Alone: flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him

Romans 5:9–10 (CSB) How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.

John 14:19 (CSB) In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too.

If you take nothing from anything I have ever said or will ever say, take this to your heart: God has got you. God has got you and he is never letting go. Once more, Christ has got you and he is never letting go. You have the Almighty Father and the ALmighty Son with the double snatch grip upon your life. Do you think you can wiggle out of that? Do you think your sin, doubt, despair, anguish, falling to temptation, disqualification from public ministry, every stupid thing that has came out of our mouths, is going to loosen the infinite double grip clasp upon your life? Father has got you. The Son has got you. The Spirit seals the Father, Son and you together forever. Oh, right, I forgot--Spirit is Almighty.

And here is a quick theological lesson: THE LORD THY GOD DOES NOT CHANGE.

Malachi 3:6 (CSB) “Because I, the LORD, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.

James 1:17 (CSB) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Hebrews 13:8 (CSB) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He is not like us--finicky, capricious, and whimsical. We change our minds all the time--"because my coffee is too hot"1 or life got too hard. All of the image bearers of God have made war with God.

What did God do? How did this Holy God respond when his creation collectively rebelled against him?

He sent his only begotten Son to die for us so that we would live with him.

God Saves By His Will Alone: the oath of God

Hebrews 6:17–18 (CSB) Because God wanted to show his unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.

Hebrews 7:21 (CSB) but Jesus became a priest with an oath made by the one who said to him, The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever.”

From the start, God made a solemn vow publicly:

Genesis 3:15 (CSB) I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

Which the plan was revealed all the way in revealing his Son, Jesus Christ. Turns to find out, God knew this was going to happen and was Almighty in his will to destined us to be saved.

Ephesians 1:3–6 (CSB) Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

God Saves By His Will Alone: the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them

1 John 3:9 (CSB) Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because his seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.

1 John 5:18 (CSB) We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

John 3:5 (CSB) Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

1 John 5:1 (CSB) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him.

1 John 4:13 (CSB) This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

Romans 8:11 (CSB) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.

The promise is this: Christ will save us from our sins forever.

God Saves By His Will Alone: and the nature of the covenant of grace

Jeremiah 32:40 (CSB) “I will make a permanent covenant with them: I will never turn away from doing good to them, and I will put fear of me in their hearts so they will never again turn away from me.

And God cannot sin. God cannot lie. God cannot break his promise. Once done is done. Once saved is saved. Once saved is always saved.

God Saves By His Will Alone: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof

John 10:28–29 (CSB) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Remember who God is!

1689 Chapter 1 Part 1 - The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

In other words...

Psalm 90:2 (CSB) Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.

Isaiah 40:28 (CSB) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding.

Isaiah 46:9–10 (CSB) Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like me. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place, and I will do all my will.

Psalm 115:3 (CSB) Our God is in heaven and does whatever he pleases.

Psalm 135:6 (CSB) Whatever the LORD pleases he does in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths.

Isaiah 14:24 (CSB) The LORD of Armies has sworn: As I have purposed, so it will be; as I have planned it, so it will happen.

God has set to save his people. God has executed the plan to save his people. God has saved his people. God is perfect and not one of us will be lost once found. We know this because all the promises, oaths, and vows of God have been perfectly answered in his Son, our only, only Lord Jesus Christ, the Worthy Lamb That Was Slain. For Holy, Holy, Holy is He!


That's me. I am a friggin' weenie.