The Sovereignty of God
††††††††† Throughout history, people have tried to use God to their own advantage. Some have claimed and tried to Ďspeakí for God. Some have even claimed to be God.
††††††††† If you want to know somebody, how would you know them? Would you just hear what others say about them and then make up your mind about who they are? That would be a terrible mistake for it would be based not on personal knowledge or experience but heresy and possibly slander. The way to know somebody is by what a person says about him or herself and not what someone else says about them. The only way you know a person is by what you see and hear from that person for yourself, and know what they say and claim. This also applies to God.
It is not what I say about God, or what someone else says about God, what a self-made theologian or unbelieving Bible scholar says about God, but what He says about Himself that is true and real and matters. So what does God say about Himself as He has revealed Himself to us. Those are the things the theologians have called or termed the attributes of God. What is that? It is nothing more than His wisdom, His grace, His mercy, His justice, His love, His goodness, His wrath, His faithfulness and so much more.
Yet, there is one thing about God that He has said about Himself that controls all those other attributes concerning Him. All these things, His grace, His mercy, His justice, His wisdom, His love and all the rest are controlled by one thing that God says about Himself. Without that one thing, all of these other attributes of God cannot stand. We call it the sovereignty of God. It is His absolute authority and rule over His creation. That is like the axle around all the other attributes of God revolve.
Some would say - why is His sovereignty and sovereign control the key to understanding all His other attributes. That is such a good question and Iím glad you would ask it, so I will answer it. Everyone, including the unbelievers, who donít know Jesus Christ personally, would agree that God is love, unless they claim to be an atheist and say there is no god. That is something that the conservative and the liberals agree with, both in the church and even in politics.
If God is not absolute, if God is not sovereign, then any outward circumstances could thwart His love. If He is not absolutely sovereign, then His love would be conditional. But the scriptures from cover to cover tell us that Godís love is unconditional. Some parents make the terrible mistake of telling their children, if you do this or that I will love you. That is wrong, with no justification or exception, no ands, ifís or buts. You love them because they are your children, not because of what they do or donít do. I love a son who hates me because he is my son. He doesnít receive any benefit of my love, he doesnít even know that I love him or believe it, but it is still there. It is just not expressed toward him or given to him. It has to stay within me, but it is still there. It is like the fatherís love for the prodigal son in the story in Luke chapter 15. The father always loved his son, but the wayward son received no benefit of that love until he left the pig pen of sin and returned to his fathersí house. The point is this. There is nothing that you can do to make God love you more and there is nothing you can do to make God love you less. Godís love is unchanging and eternal for in Him there is no variation or shadow of turning (James 1:17). Those who will end up in eternal damnation, it will not be because God didnít or doesnít love them. That was shown and proven at Calvary, but if they will not accept His provision and way to eternal life, then they will not receive the benefit though it has been paid for and provided for. In fact, it is an act of mercy for God to send them to that damnation for that is easier for the sinner than to be in the presence of a Holy God which they cannot stand and for those the righteous because the two cannot co-exist together.
The same thing is true about His justice. If God were not totally sovereign in all things, then His justice could easily be frustrated by Satan or by wicked people and total injustice would rule supreme and that would be a horrible disaster. That is why it is of vital importance that all who claim to be Christians, who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, understand and fully comprehend that they can stake their life on the absolute sovereignty of God. Why? Because a thorough understanding of the sovereignty of God will give meaning and substance to all the other attributes of God.
Ephesians 1:11b ďGod accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.Ē What does that mean? It means that Godís knowledge and authority and power and rule and dominion are extended to the smallest things in the universe and as Jesus said, not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge. Even when you brushed your hair this morning and some hairs came out, God has an accurate record of how many hairs there are still on your head, though that number is far less for some of us than others. This verse means that Godís power and authority is above and beyond and over all the confusion that is surrounding us and His plan and purpose stands supreme and cannot be stopped, hindered or thwarted. All that God has said, every word will be fulfilled to the letter. In Matthew 5:18 Jesus said, ďFor verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.Ē That means the smallest letter or stroke of a letter. Specifically, the smallest Hebrew letter is yodh, which looks like an apostrophe ('). A stroke is a very small extension or protrusion on several Hebrew letters, which distinguish these letters from similar ones (like, in English, an R from a P). That how exactly and specifically Godís Word will all be fulfilled.
John Nelson Darby back in the 1800ís once said, ďGodís ways are behind the scenes. But God moves all the scenes which He is behind.Ē You might think; where is this going? What about free will? You mean that we donít have free will? No, that is not what I mean. Of course we have a free will; you exercise it moment by moment every day. But your free will and that of 7 billion other people on this earth has no power or ability to thwart the plan or purposes of God to change or keep them from coming to pass. Nothing that man or all of mankind put together can do can in any way diminish or stop or keep the absolute letter of the Word from being fulfilled.
Those who choose to reject Godís offer of forgiveness and eternal life bring upon themselves a dark eternity of damnation and judgment. Those who choose to live their life without God will have all that they want. They can be and are free to sin as much as they want and to even hate God and spurn His love. That is no problem to God. God respects our choices, but that is still part of His plan and He planned for it. ďGod accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.Ē God has made provision for everything and everyone in history and in Godís omniscience and foreknowledge He knew us all when He created Adam. He knew us by name, who we would be and what we would become and do and your name and that of all men are written down in heaven.
There is one thing that you must know about the creator of the universe. There is one thing we must understand and that He is a sovereign ruler over all His creation. There are two false conclusions that most people adopt on this question of the sovereignty of God. (1) They deny the reality of Godís supreme rule over all things. Or if they donít, (2) they conclude that God is not perfect and good; one of the two. And they are both false. Because when they look at all thatís going on in the world, all the injustice, the crime, the hate, the wars, the suffering, the prejudice, the sin you commit and that is in your natural mind with itís corrupt fallen thinking because it is receiving its information thru the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and not from God Himself, the tree of life, they have to conclude that either God is not in perfect control of His creation and an all-powerful sovereign or He is simply not perfect and they make God a sinner after their own image. False, false, false!
These are easy conclusions to make. I understand that a person without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit can easily come to one of these two conclusions because it is the Spirit of God that has to open our eyes to teach us and show us the truth. They are both false conclusions because ďGod accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His (own) will.Ē
I want to deal with this to have it clear in our minds because of the vital importance of it. To understand the concept of the sovereignty of God will make you almost walk on air. It will totally change your thinking and your faith in Him. When you come to this Biblical understanding, your life will never be the same. I want to deal with this by asking you to ask yourself two questions. Here we go. Self, is it okay to be baffled when you see God doing things that you donít understand? Is it Okay to be confused and not understand what He is doing or why? Yes! Because as created creatures, we donít know the reason for everything God does or even most of what He does and God is not accountable to us and doesnít have to explain why to us. We sometimes think so, and many unbelievers want it to be so, but we have no right to ask or demand that God explain to us everything He does or anything He does. Isaiah 55:8-9 ďFor my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.Ē What could be more clear than that. His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts that we canít understand them. God is so much greater than we are and to fully be able to understand God and why He does what He does the way He chooses to do it, we would have to be equal to Him, or a co-equal God. Romans 11:33 says it best, ďO the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!Ē No man can know or ever fully know or understand God. We can only know of Him what He chooses to reveal of Himself to us.
Because we live in a democracy of sorts, we tend to want to look upon God as if He was a Congressman or Senator or maybe even the President. If the person in such a position cannot explain His voting records we can vote them out of office. But we donít know how to vote God out of office and couldnít if we wanted because heaven is no democracy, but a theocracy. So, we cut Him out of our lives. Democracy is wonderful, thought not as good as a real republic. But our laws as this nation was created, was and are only workable for a religious and godly people and will not suffice for any other kind of people and that is why things are falling apart and men are destroying our constitution and laws. They are not sufficient for the society we have become.
But the issue is; this is not the way we should view God. We canít bring Him down to our level. We need to remember the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 29:29. ďThe secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.Ē In other words, God reveals His will to us that we might obey Him and His law.
There are several things that the sovereign God revealed to us that He wanted us to know about Him, but He did not try to reveal everything about Himself to us. That we will only get in part when we get to heaven and realize the fulfillment of 1 John 3:2; ďbut we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.Ē In that we will know and be like Christ, the man, not like God. Remember, Jesus became and man and is not a glorified, exalted man and in that we will have a body like His and be like Christ, but not as God or know everything about God.
This brings us to the second question for you to ask self. Self; does the sovereignty of God mean that we donít know anything about God or that we know very little about God. Is He so high and far away from us that we can know nothing of Him? No! That is what is so unique about the Christian faith. It is based upon the fact that God, the creator of the universe, became a man and was fully revealed to us in Jesus Christ. God has given us all the information, all the revelation that we need in order to make rational decisions in this life about eternity.
So what does God want the world to know and what does He want His children to know? God wants the world to know that He loves to save professing sinners (2 Peter 3:9). God wants the world to know that He spent centuries preparing the world for the coming of His Son to die for us and redeem us from our sins and right on schedule, in the perfect time, the fullness of time, Jesus came (Galatians 4:4). God wants us to know that those who have received the gift of salvation should share it with others. God wants us to know that His son dying on the cross satisfied His justice that says the soul that sins, it will die (Ezekiel 18:20). And He paid the penalty for the sins of all who will come to Him. God wants the world to know that His Son was resurrected from the dead so that He can assure His children that they too will one day rise from the dead to eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:20). God wants the world to know that Christ is now exalted to the throne of the universe and from that throne He is inviting sinners to come to Him and that when they come to Him, He will forgive them of their sins, give them eternal life and will one day take them home to be with Him for eternity (Romans 6:23, Colossians 1:14, 1 John 5:12). That is what God wants the world to know.
So what does the sovereign God want His children to know? God wants all those who have responded to His love and forgiveness and received the gift of eternal life, that because He is sovereign and in control, He works together in all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).God wants His children to know that He wants them to be daily transformed and conformed to the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29, Romans 12:2). God wants His children to know that they should live this life without fear of the future because He controls the future (2 Timothy 1:7). God wants His children to know that they must live this life without anxiety or worry over the circumstances over which they have no control because He is in control of the circumstances (Matthew 6:31-33). God wants His children to know that they should live this life trusting in His provision, taking Him at His Word, believing His promises, obeying His commands, that they should be diligent and hard working for His kingdom, that He is the everlasting Father and under us are the everlasting arms of God.
God, the sovereign God is our security. That He that created the world never gets tired or grows weary. That He is the sovereign Lord and He is in control. He is in control of your life, He is in control of your family, He is in control of your job, and He is in control of the very breath you are now breathing. Everything is ultimately in His power and control. God wants His children to know that no matter how impossible the dream, no mater how difficult the task, that no matter how long it takes, that no matter how fierce the opposition or how ferocious the enemy or how bleak it may look, or how hopeless it may seem, that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). That is what He wants you to know.
The sovereignty of God should tell all of His children that His grace is sufficient, no mater what happens (2 Corinthians 12:9). The sovereignty of God should tell all of His children who daily walk with Him, who daily submit to His authority, who daily submit to His Word that a mighty fortress is our God. Finally, the sovereignty of God should tell us that if God is for us, who can be against us and who shall separate us form the Love of Christ, shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? NO! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. I am sure that neither death nor life nor angels nor height nor depth nor anything in all of creation will be able to separate us form the Love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). That is what He wants you to know.
Now if you go to Seminary, they will teach you a course on the sovereignty of God, but they will not teach it this way. They will start by saying, (in a deep strong slow voice) ďThe sovereignty of God.Ē Really, that is all you need to know about His sovereignty, is that He is sovereign.
If you donít know Him as Lord and Savior today, you can.
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