Sovereignty of God: SundaySchool

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19 Oct. 2003

Sunday School Lesson for High Prairie

God, that’s not Fair

Romans 9          Sovereignty of God

Divide the class into two groups and let them come up with Pro and Con of “Sovereignty of God” on Christians’ life. 

Pro                                Con

Brings comfort              Brings confusions

Confidence in God       No evangelism

Credits go to God        Passivism

Total reliance                Premature acceptance of suffering

Definition of Sovereignty :

Dictionary Definition of Sovereign and Sovereignty


1.    above or superior to all others, chief, greatest, supreme

2.    supreme in power, rank or authority


1.    The state or quality of being sovereign

2.    The status, dominion, ruler or power of sovereign

3.    Supreme and independent political authority


Sovereignty. The word is not found in Scripture.  But the concept—that God is free to act as He chooses, without any limits set by the actions of another—is deeply rooted in the biblical concept of God.[1]

Theological Dictionary:

The Biblical teaching that God is King, supreme, ruler and law giver of entire universe.

Ps. 103:19,  Dan. 4:17, 25, 34,  I Chron. 29:11,  Matt. 6:13ff

I Tim. 6:15,  Rev. 19:16,  Isa. 46: 9, 10,  Job. 42:2

Introduction: Paul’s love for his people             9: 1 – 3

I. The Glory of Israel Defined                            9:4,5

Israel’s glory as God people

·        The adoption

·        The glory

·        The covenant

·        The giving of the Law

·        The Temple Service

·        The Promise

·        The Fathers (Patriarchs)

·        Christ came from them according to the flesh

QUESTION #1:                      9:6

Then seeing what happened to Israel, a question will come to our mind.  “Has The Word of God (God Himself) failed?

II. The True Israel Defined             9: 7 – 13

A. “Not of Natural Descent”  -- Warren Wiersbe

·        Not only from Israel         9:6b

·        Not only from Abraham    9:7a

·        Not only from Isaac          9: 7b

·        Not of the flesh but of the promise    9:8

Examples:          Through Sarah (Gen. 18:10)          9:9

                            Through Rebekah (Gen 25:21)      9:10

B. “Not of human Merit”        9:11 – 13

         According to God’s Purpose                   9: 11

         According to God’s Choice            9: 11

          Not because of works but because of Him who calls

“Jacob I loved But Esau I hated.”  =  Mal. 1:2,3

The sovereignty of God thus expresses the very nature of God as all-powerful and omnipotent, able to accomplish His good pleasure, carry out His decreed will, and keep His promise. 

Eph. 1:11, Acts 14:15-17, Luke 1:37, Phi. 2:9-11, I Cor. 15:24-28

Rev. 5:9-14, Rom. 9:6 => II Tim. 3:16  Matt. 5:18,  Luke 24:44


QUESTION #2:   Is God unjust?

III. God Justice Defended              9: 14 – 18

Examples from the O. T.               

A. Moses  (Exd. 33:19) : does not depend on man but on God

B. Pharaoh (Exd. 9:16) : God has a will too. 

He will have mercy on whom He wills and on whom He wills He hardens.

It is God who determines whether a man will be a Moses or a Pharaoh.  Neither Moses, nor Pharaoh, nor anyone else, could choose his parents, his genetic structure, or his time, and place of birth.  We have to believe that these matters are in the hands of God.  But we are not free from responsibilities – Warren Wiersbe

QUESTION #3: Why does He still find fault?  (9: 19)

Nobody can resist Him.  We are not responsible.

IV. God’s Justice Expounded                  9: 19 – 29

A. Position Defined               9:20

Who are you?  You are created being.  God is the Creator.

Porter’s example          (Isa. 45:9,  Jer. 18:1ff)                   9:20, 21

Woe to him who strive with his Maker   =  Isa. 45:9

B. Consequences Defined   9:22

          Object of His wrath       We are condemned to death

          Object of destruction   There is no  such thing as “innocent”

Though justice be thy plea, consider this, that in the course of justice none of us should see salvation.

- Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1

C. God’s Mercy Clarified       9:22, 23

          Vessels of wrath = Endured with Patience.  9:22

          Vessels of mercy = Make known the riches of His glory.  9:23

Rom. 11:22 “Kindness and sternness are aspect of Divine nature =>

          II Cor. 13:5  Examine yourself

If God does not reveal the principles on which He makes His choice, that is no reason why His justice should be called in question.  He is merciful and compassionate because such is His will.  “The quality of mercy is not strained,” and least of all when it is God who shows mercy; for if He were compelled to be merciful by some cause outside Himself, not only would His mercy be so much the less mercy, but He Himself would be so much the less God (F.F. Bruce Romans p.178).

V. Scope of God’s Salvation Defined     9:24 – 33

A. Revealed in the O. T.        9: 25 – 29

B. Rehearsed in the N. T.      9: 30 – 33   

Work and Faith

Paul finishes his argument that Israel’s unbelief is not inconsistent with God’s plan of redemption by using the O.T. to show that her unbelief reflects exactly what the prophet recorded (8:25-29), and that it is consistent with God’s prerequisite of faith (9: 30-33). – MacArthur

Tragically, you and I are sometimes found doing the same thing. We come to teachings that we do not understand, and rather than acknowledge our own limitations, we begin to lay charges against God.

For instance, we bridle at Paul’s blunt statements about God’s sovereignty and wonder that God should choose some to receive mercy (Rom. 9). We can’t understand how this fits in with the revelation in Jesus of a God of love who is unwilling that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Instead of trusting in God’s wisdom, righteousness, and love, we, like the unbelieving Jews of Paul’s day, cry out, “Unfair!”

So what if we cannot understand? Is God accountable to us? Or can we, like Paul, see such things that are beyond our comprehension as fresh evidence of the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God? We cannot fathom the wisdom and knowledge, but we can surrender in trust.[2]

Next week we will look at the practical aspect of this sovereignty of God.  How does it apply to the nitty-gritty of our daily life.


[1]Richards, Lawrence O., The Teacher’s Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1987.

[2]Richards, Lawrence O., The Teacher’s Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1987.

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