Discussion Guide for Romans 9:14-29
What is Sovereignty?
The most essential quality of God in Christian theology is his sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is not just a fun fact to know about Him, it is the very core of what is meant by the term God. It is the total basis for everything he does.
We learned last week that the Westminster Confession says
“God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”
There are no random events in God’s universe.
In human terms, we typically use the term sovereignty to describe what it means to be a king. In the United States we think of ourselves as a democracy, so our government is based upon a concept of popular sovereignty.
Human explanations of sovereignty can only begin to help us understand what is meant by God’s sovereignty. God has the ability to rule over creation in ways that human kings couldn’t even dream about.
John Piper writes and speaks as eloquently as any modern theologian about God’s sovereignty. He very succinctly says that “God does whatever he pleases.”
For further discussion, John Piper answers “What is the sovereignty of God?”.
God’s sovereignty is easy to digest, but hard to swallow.
Many of us (Jonathan included) internally struggle to grasp the significance of calling God sovereign. However, the reward to our faith is well worth the struggle.
- How do you define God’s sovereignty?
- Why is this concept “easy to digest, but hard to swallow?”
- Is it possible to reconcile a God who can do whatever He wants with man’s responsibility?
- Do you believe there is an element of God’s sovereignty that we will never fully comprehend?
- Does your view of sovereignty terrify you or comfort you?
- Why do you think people are tempted to call God unjust (Romans 9:14)?
- What does it mean for God to harden somebody (Romans 9:15-18, Genesis 4-11)?
- How does God’s sovereignty help us to understand his mercy (Romans 9:22-29)?