Charles Hodge left behind several hand written sermons he gave on various passages from Romans. They are quite good to say the least! I just finished his sermon called “Glory of Salvation” based on Romans 11:33-36. At one point in the sermon he says that these words of Paul have to do with the “absolute supremacy and sovereignty” of God”:
“The truth here contemplated is presented under two aspects. 1) God is absolutely independent of his creatures and 2) We can in no way place God under any obligation to us. When it is said that God is independent of his creatures, it is not meant merely that they are not necessary to his perfection or happiness but that in his knowledge, determinations and acts, he needs no counsellor and receives no aid. He does not derive knowledge from his creatures, He does not know things because they are, but they are, because he knows and determines them to be. His determinations also are not suspended on the acts of his creatures, but the acts of the creature on his determinations for he foreordains whatsoever comes to pass. This is only saying that the concatenation [interconnection] of events is not determined by fate, nor by blind unconscious nature, nor by chance, nor by the finite knowledge and wayward will of man, but by the infinite intelligence, wisdom goodness and power of God. He governs all his creatures and all their actions in a way consistent at once with their nature and his own perfections.
And finally, he is independent of his creatures because the ultimate ground or reason of all his acts is in himself and not in them. The final ground of all he does is the good pleasure of his will, that will however, is the sum of all wisdom and excellence. In saying, therefore, that the grounds of God’s acts are in himself and not in the creature, we only say they are determined by infinite wisdom and goodness.
And when, in reference to the other aspect of the truth here contemplated, we say that men can place God under no obligation, it is not meant merely that they owe their existence and all their powers to Him, but that they can merit nothing, and of themselves do nothing that places God under any obligation to grant them his favour. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015