Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

Charles Spurgeon on The Sweet Sovereignty of God

Fewer doctrines of the Christian faith are more comforting than the sovereignty of God. It humbles you in good seasons, provides hope in hard seasons, and gives joy in all seasons. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is a constant nourishment for the soul.

But how do we define sovereignty?

A.W. Pink defines it this way: “The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of his supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases as he pleases.”

This is true. But we must not be mere academics only. We have to apply this truth not just to our minds, but also to our hearts. If we do the former without the latter, we might know that sovereignty is sweet, but we’ll never taste its sweetness.

So where do we go?


In a beautiful sermon preached on Matthew 20:15, the Prince of Preachers himself — Charles Spurgeon — had this to say about sovereignty:

There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation — the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands — the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne . . . It is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon the throne whom we trust.

The sovereignty of God is a sweet pillow that you can lay your head at night. It is a beautiful truth not only that God is in control over all, but is also working everything out — the good and the bad — for your good, and his glory. This sweet doctrine is medicine for the soul that you can take in any season of life.

You may also like: 

  1. An Interview with Christian George on Charles Spurgeon
  2. 5 Encouraging John Calvin Quotes for Weary Christians

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.

18 Replies

  1. God’s sovereignty is especially precious in the midst of trouble. Without the assurance that God’s eye is on me and He will see me through, hope would be lost. We learn to cling because of trouble. We learn his worth.

  2. This world doesn’t have anything that is a constant. There is only change. Human perspective and insight is so fickle and limited in any worth to say the least. But God. His sovereignty overall and in all things is our Rock. Thank you Jesus.
    Good post I needed this message.

  3. Karen is absolutely right, and the deeper the trouble the greater our reliance upon His sovereignty. Many times we only turn to God when we have nowhere else to turn. That is how my walk with Him began. I was on the floor of a shower stall bleeding from self-inflicted wounds to my neck, and I was dying. I had lived for 40 years in willful disobedience and rebellion to God, but it was HE I turned to when there was nowhere else to turn. And in spite of that 40 years, He saved me from myself. I have learned since that there really is nowhere else we should WANT to turn, for nowhere else can we turn where we can be certain we will find our refuge. We learn to cling because of trouble, as Karen said. We continue to cling because He loves us. He loves us because He chooses to, and His sovereignty allows Him to do that. Even when we don’t love ourselves, and when others may not either, He does. Because He can.

    1. Agreed, Tony. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story.

  4. As much as I love Charles Spurgeon and his words on the sovereignty of God in your post, what I was really drawn to were your words, “The sovereignty of God is a sweet pillow that you can lay your head at night.”
    Thank you for giving me another quick statement of thought when I read the newspaper, hear the news, and face my own trials.

    1. Wow, praise God. It’s something I’ve had to learn — and still learning — through Scripture and trials. Glad that God has taught it to me earlier in my life than later.

  5. I thank God every day for His grace and His mercy in my life… God’s longsuffering was evident, in that I was almost 52 when God graced me with salvation…

    Understanding God’s sovereignty I believe takes time to come into focus… My personal testimony after I was graced with salvation, interestingly includes preaching from REV. C.H. Spurgeon, that I believe God used to bring me back into submission of the Holy Spirit…

    I had somehow taken back control from the Holy Spirit, and my peace and my joy I once had were gone. I believe it was after listening to CH.Spurgeon’s preaching on “Grieving the Holy Spirit”, that I finally got down on my knees and prayed to the Lord that I wanted to start living for Him again…

    My God given peace and a joy that only living for Christ will bring into your life (John 15:11…&…Colossians 1:11), flooded back into my heart, mind and soul… The Holy Spirit was sitting back waiting for me to give Him back the control of my life !!I

    It is a combination of wearing God’s WHOLE set of armor (Ephesians 6:10-20), and total submission to the Lord (James 4:7-8), that will keep the Christian who keeps a short leash on committed sins by praying 1 John 1:9, EVERY time they find themselves sinning…

    Walking with the Lord as a Spirit filled Christian (Ephesians 5:18-20) is sweet fellowship that will be broken by unconfessed sin. We must listen and understand what the writer of Hebrews 12:4-11 tells us about God’s discipline…and hopefully regain the peaceable fruit of righteousness that will be obtained by those trained by God’s chastising…

    Hebrews 4:11… Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (NKJV)

    Hope this helps someone who has fear, or anxiety, or doubts about their salvation, as Satan will use his bag of tricks to pull the Christian down. The power of the Holy Spirit will quench Satan’s attempts every time we step back and allow Him to take TOTAL charge of our lives !!

    The Apostle John tells us this, in…1John 4:18… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (NKJV) Torment comes from Satan…and The Lord’s perfect love “casts out fear” as we allow His power to fight our battles…

    May these words bring praise and glory to the King of kings and the Lord of lords !!

    Blessings in Christ, bruce

    P.S. Every Christian should read this… https://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0278.htm

  6. I have found the sovereignty of God a huge comfort when I was powerless to help my grown children with their unfortunate choices. His sovereignty gave me rest. 🙂

  7. I agree with Carol, love the vivid words from Spurgeon, but your words are powerful- particularly, “medicine for the soul.” This doctrine hit home many times in my life, especially over the past year. I am a pastor’s wife and when a young mom and wife from our church suddenly and tragically passed away, people were looking to me for answers; “Where is God” and “You’re going to have to explain this to me.” I went on a quest for hope and resolved, it is only found in God’s sovereignty. God is still God and He is still good, no matter what happens! When our world is not good, He is still good. It spurred an article and a book project I am currently working on.

    One last thought, a great pastor we served with also passed away last year. I will always remember words from Pastor David Landrith he shared from a seminary professor (do not know the professor’s name), “There has never been an emergency meeting of the trinity.” God the Father is not pacing in heaven, wringing His hands, wondering how He is going to work this trial or dark place out in our lives-He is always in control and working behind the scenes on our behalf. That in and of itself is comforting!

    Thanks David!

    1. [email protected]

      Wow, Karen. That was super helpful and encouraging. Love the quote about the Trinity and exited for your project that you’re working on.

  8. God’s sovereignty has definitely become an every day doctrine for me! It’s how to reflect on things that break my heart like ISIS. It’s the perspective I need when I’m praying for my friend’s healing. It is light on the frustration of a bad night’s sleep or a delayed train. It’s the good news that settles my soul when the bigness of the future unsettles my mind. The sovereignty of a mighty God of grace whose nature is Father, who has wrapped me up in a covenant of adoption, and who loves me ferociously (if that’s the right adverb)

  9. …whoops pressed post too quickly! I was just going to finish by saying that it is a truth that touches on everything! And your post has inspired me to re read some AW Pink over breakfast this morning. 🙂

  10. Erin Lichnovsky

    Thank you for sharing this. A great reminder today.

  11. Kitsy

    Have you read Timothy Keller’s “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”? It really is marvelous. It addresses the issue of God’s Sovereignty as well as all of the questions people have, Christian and non-Christian, about why there IS pain and suffering. One point I particularly like is that it may be God’s way of drawing us closer to Him.

    1. No, I haven’t. But I have heard of that book. Tim Keller is one of my favorite authors. I’ll have to check it out.

  12. Gaye Austin

    Hi David, thanks for stopping by my blog post “Meeting Jesus on a Dusty Road.”
    Enjoyed this post on sovereignty and Spurgeon is one of my favorite authors.

  13. Nancy Ridge Williams

    David, I love this article! Thanks for stopping by my blog post–“A Way of Life: Awakening The Force Within”. It’s time for God’s warriors to be ready for battle day in and day out. NancyWilliams.org