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The Sovereign God and Man’s Will

Table of contents for The Sovereign God and Man’s Will series


This booklet, The Sovereign God and Man’s Will, presents in printed form three lectures under the heading The Sovereign God and the Free Will of Man Whose Will is Truly Sovereign? The Evangelism Committee of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan, sponsored these lectures in February of 2003 for the annual Winter Conference.

The Law of God and Man’s Will

By Rev. Carl J. Haak


As Reformed believers we gladly and humbly confess that our God is sovereign in His will of predestination! From eternity He has chosen in His decree of unconditional election those He will save. He has also willed eternally in His decree of reprobation those who will be condemned in their sins, and has done so in strictest justice and unrivaled sovereignty. Therefore, when a sinner is actually saved, it is the mighty, irresistible, and never-failing love and grace of God at work in his heart bringing him to his Savior Jesus Christ (see Deut. 32:39, 40; Matt. 11:25, 26; Rom. 9:11ff.).

God’s Grace and Man’s Will

By Professor Robert D. Decker

We begin by calling the readers’ attention to two passages of Scripture. The first is Deuteronomy 30:19, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” The second is Romans 9:16 and 18: “So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy…. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he (God) will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Are these two passages contradictory? After all, Deuteronomy says, “choose life,” but Romans 9 plainly states, “it is not of him that willeth, but of God who shows mercy on whom he wills.” To choose is an act of the will. Again, does Romans contradict Deuteronomy?

Zion’s Cornerstone: A Stone of Stumbling

By Prof. Herman C. Hanko

I Peter 2:7-8: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,

I chose to make a sermon this past week on this passage because of the conference that you are holding here in Holland the last two weeks and that will be concluded this week, the Lord willing. I chose this passage because it is a passage that stresses so strongly the truth of the absolute sovereignty of God, the truth that must be maintained in order to understand properly the place of the will of man in sovereign election and reprobation.

Predestination and the Will of Man

By Prof. Herman C. Hanko

The Protestant Reformed Churches have not changed in their position concerning the sovereignty of God and the decree of predestination as they relate to the will of man. But the doctrine has fallen on hard times in our day.

Justification and the Believer

Speech #3 of Justification: The Heart of the Gospel

Rev. William Langerak


One thing yet remains in this timely and enriching conference on the subject, “Justification by Faith Alone.” Previous speakers have carefully explained the truth of it. And because almost every attack upon it through the ages has taken the same form, namely by injecting the works of the sinner as a basis for our justification, these speakers have carefully distinguished between justification and sanctification, showed the necessary relationship between them, and demonstrated that justification occurs both objectively and subjectively without any respect to our works, whether good or evil, in body or soul, from the flesh or regenerated spirit. It has been shown that when it comes to justification, our works simply have no place whatsoever. What has been taught is the truth of justification as generally understood by the church for some 2000 years, but especially as developed, formulated and taught by the church of the Reformation over against the pernicious errors of Rome and the Arminians. The thing that remains in this conference is to explain the significance of this truth for the everyday life of the believer.

Justification and Good Works

Speech #2 of Justification: The Heart of the Gospel

Prof. David J. Engelsma


What a grand gospel truth is justification by faith alone.  What a blessed gift of God to us is justification by faith alone.  And what a blessed work of the Spirit of Jesus Christ in our consciousness is justification by faith alone.

Justification is the strictly legal act of God as judge in which He forgives the sins of the one who believes in Jesus Christ and reckons him righteous on the basis alone of the obedience of Jesus Christ in the stead of this sinner.  This is how David describes justification in Psalm 32:1-2, where he proclaims the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness without works.  “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”  And this is how the apostle Paul describes justification, with appeal to this passage in the Psalms, in Romans 4:5.  “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted [or imputed, or reckoned] for righteousness.”

Justification by Faith Alone

Speech #1 of Justification: The Heart of the Gospel

Rev. Ronald Van Overloop


It is my privilege to speak to you this evening on a most important subject. It is objectively important because it was the material principle of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, and it remains such in Reformed churches. It is subjectively important for every child of God because it is knowing how I am right before God.

Martin Luther maintained that this truth was the difference between a standing and a falling church. If a church upholds the truth of justification by faith alone, then in Luther’s judgment it was a standing church. If they did not, then it was falling. The importance of the truth of justification by faith alone is also evidenced in the fact that thee two creeds which arose out of the Reformation, the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, maintain and defend this truth, and they do so in precise, powerful, and comforting terms: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 23,24,51 and Belgic Confession, Articles 22 – 24.

Salvos Por Gracia

Por Prof. Robert D. Decker, Profesor teologícal en las Iglesias Protestantes Reformadas

¿Es Usted salvo? Esa es la pregunta crucial en la vida. ¿Cuál es su respuesta? Qué vivimos en tiempos terribles es bien sabido. Estamos viviendo en días que el mundo nunca ha visto. Esta es una época cuando los mismos fundamentos están siendo sacudidos. Un tiempo en que abunda la falta de ley, lo cual se revela a misma en una rebelión terrible y en derramamiento de sangre. Nuestras ciudades son inseguras. No hay estima por la ley ni el orden. La estructura entera de nuestra civilización moderna e ilustrada está al borde del colapso total.