Sovereign Grace

By Shawn Tomlin

It’s funny how so many people, including Christians, think that they have the ability to stand before God on their own. Why on earth do we think it’s possible for a sin-stained human to be before a Holy and Perfect God? The only way we are able to do such a thing is because they are redeemed by Jesus Christ. Our redemption is not reliant on our work or our responsibility to choose God over our sin, because we simply are not able to do that. On our own we will choose sin everytime. We are going to look at a few passages in Job to show that God is in full control of His creation, including redemption of His chosen people. So let’s look at three points that these passages highlight: God’s sovereignty, grace, and His salvation. In these three aspects, we will see in the end how they weave together for our redemption.

Let’s first look at some passages that highlight the sovereignty of God. Sometimes we lose sight of just how big Creation really is. It’s literally everything, from each subatomic particle to vast galaxies hurtling through the far reaches of the Universe. Job 9:8-10 says, “Who alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea; Who makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; Who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number.” Job’s questions of “Who?” are rhetorical. He knows, just as we know, that the answer is God and God alone. God is sovereign over all His creation, but let’s zoom in on humanity. For this, let’s look at Job chapters 9 and 13.

In chapter 9, verses 22-24 says, “It is all one; therefore I say, He destroys the guiltless and the wicked. If the scourge kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the faces of the judges. If it is not He, then who is it?” Also in verse 12 Job says, “Were he to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are you doing?’” Lastly, in chapter 13, Job says in verse 15, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him…” Notice that these three passages have a negative flavor. This is not to say God is evil, but  his ways are higher than our ways, thus who can understand them? Read Genesis 50:20; Psalm 8:3-4; and Romans 9:20. Who are we to answer back to God? God’s Will is accomplished in the way He decrees. We will not always like what happens in our lives, but we were never promised that once we have come to faith that we would have “our best life now,” rather Jesus says in Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” Just as Job said in 13:15, our hope must be on the LORD, for it is He alone that can sustain us in dark times.

The fact is that God withholds His judgement for the sake of His chosen. He is patient, He is gracious.

Now let’s highlight some passages that speak of God’s grace to His people. Job 10:12 says, “You have granted me life and lovingkindness; and Your care has preserved my spirit.” Again in Job 14:4, “Who can make the clean out of the unclean?” Just think about that for a minute. We all deserve death and hell. We don’t deserve one moment of life, temporal or eternal, for the simple fact that we have all sinned against God. The fact is that God withholds His judgement for the sake of His chosen. He is patient, He is gracious. As for making the clean out of the unclean, this is something we can’t do, but the LORD can, in Christ. When He draws us to faith in His Son, we are made clean by Christ’s blood. This is pure grace on the part of God. It has nothing to do with us, or how good we are. None of us were chosen conditionally, but rather unconditionally. Remember, we are saved by Grace Alone through Faith Alone.

Lastly, let’s look at God’s salvation. Job 19:25-26 says, “As for me I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God…” Job is clearly talking about the final resurrection and judgement, even before the Incarnation of Christ. In this passage, Job is placing all he has, all his hope on His Redeemer. The LORD sustained him, and Job hopes in the only One through whom his salvation can come.

Christ, in His birth, life, death, and resurrection is our salvation. The Psalms say frequently “the LORD is my salvation.” Let us never lose sight of that in this life. Yes, we will suffer, but our hope should always be on God, in Christ, for even through our sufferings the LORD will preserve us to the end by His grace, and on the last day we will stand before the LORD, and those whom He has chosen will hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”

“The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you,

And give you peace.”

Lee Jones