Although believers are commanded to make disciples of the nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and although unbelievers must repent and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved (Acts 2:38; 16:31), ultimately, God has chosen whom He will save, He causes men and women to repent and believe in Christ, and He secures their salvation, and more. To state it another way, God is sovereign in salvation.
The following Scriptures highlight God’s sovereignty in salvation:
1. Before God established the world, He sovereignly chose some for salvation (Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; cf. Acts 13:48).
2. Jesus promised that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). Also, God calls persons to Himself and the Lord, not man, adds believers to the church (Acts 2:39, 41, 47; 5:14; 11:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:14). He increases its local and global membership.
3. God draws unbelievers to His Son and His Son will by no means cast them out. Apart from God’s involvement, no person can come to Christ (John 6:37, 44, 65).
4. God the Holy Spirit produces the new birth in every believer (John 3:5, 7-8; Titus 3:5). The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, foreseen, or controlled.
5. God gives repentance to unbelievers (Acts 5:31; 11:18). Moreover, faith and suffering are gifts of grace that God gives to those whom He has chosen (Philippians 1:29). Also, God cleanses hearts by faith and causes persons to respond obediently to the gospel (Acts 15:8-9; 16:14).
6. God the Father and the Son secure and protect every believer from perishing (John 10:28-29). The Holy Spirit seals believers in Christ as a pledge of their inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). Both truths affirm the security of the believer and the permanency of their salvation.
Implications of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation as it Pertains to Evangelism
1. God’s sovereignty in salvation does not relinquish believers of their responsibility to evangelize; in fact, it should inspire it. In other words, God's sovereignty in salvation is tied to a believer's clear and accurate proclamation of the gospel and call to repent (Acts 2:22-40).
2. God’s sovereignty in salvation should shape the believer’s prayer life (Romans 10:1). Prayer is a recognition of God's sovereignty in salvation.
3. God’s sovereignty in salvation should erase any notion that a person’s salvation is dependent on the believer’s wisdom or oratorical skill to proclaim the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
4. Because God is sovereign in salvation, believers can evangelize knowing that those whom He has appointed to eternal life will believe. Therefore, believers don't need to alter or abbreviate the gospel or coax, coerce, or otherwise manipulate people into believing.
Thank God that before the foundation of the world He chose to save us. Pray that God’s sovereignty in salvation will further encourage us to obediently proclaim the gospel.
God’s Sovereignty in Salvation