by Pastor Scott
I made a joke that my time of Sabbatical was supposed to be a time of rest but afterward I looked in the mirror and noticed that I did not look very rested. But the fact is that I did enjoy some good rest. I also accomplished several items around the house, spent time with family and took a guy’s-only road trip with my son-in-law Meko. We had great time, but I also spent a lot of time thinking about something especially important: The Sovereignty of God. Why was I thinking about that? Mainly because of the events that are happening in our world and many questions about God’s role in it.
So, what is the Sovereignty of God? Essentially what it means is that as the Creator and Ruler of the universe, God is not bound or limited by time or space or the dictates of His creation or His created beings. He has the authority to do whatever he sees fit.
Now sadly for some people, this turns them away from faith. They think that God is controlling. Some will falsely claim that in many cases God is the cause of most of our problems. Or for some, if there is a God, it sure does not seem like he listens or cares about us.
In this time of Covid-19 and with all the unrest in our nation, I imagine there are many questioning whether God has any control over anything. Or, if we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, it might give us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation. But in the long-term, these thoughts slander God, hinder our trust in God, and often lead to passiveness or a sit back and do-nothing attitude.
Over the centuries, a new meaning for the word “sovereign” has evolved which basically means God controls everything. It is assumed that since God is paramount or supreme that nothing can happen without His stamp of approval. But that is not what the Scriptures teach. There are things in this world that God does not approve of. God is in control, but he is not controlling.
In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter said, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This clearly states that it is not the Lord’s will for anyone to die without knowing him, but still people are rejecting him every day. Jesus says in the book of Matthew, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” How many who have heard this desire of Jesus Christ repent and heed it. It is disheartening to know that so many people are so lost, but when I listen to the news, it is not hard to understand.
What we as believers need to understand is that in God’s sovereignty, he has given us the freedom to choose. He does not will anyone into hell. He paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10), but we must choose to put our faith in Christ and receive His salvation. People are the ones choosing hell by rejecting Jesus as their Savior. People are choosing pain and chaos by not trusting God’s ways. It is the free will of people that hurts them, not God.
Do you know that God has a perfect plan for every person’s life (Jer. 29:11), but He does not make us walk that path? We are free moral agents with the ability to choose and although He has told us what the right choices are (Deut. 30:19), He does not make those choices for us.
All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. We desire to be led by the Lord, but often disregard his leading. Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver’s seat with us as passengers. On the surface that may sound good, but the Bible paints a picture of each of us being behind the wheel of our own lives. True freedom and victory in this life come when we take direction from the Lord.
Occasionally, during those times when we are not able to find our own way, we must ask him to take the wheel. Yes, there are times when God, in his sovereignty, steps in and takes charge without our asking. We are grateful for those times, because they are always for our good and the good of the world.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This verse makes it clear that some things are from God, and some from the devil. We must submit to the things that are of God and resist the things that are from the devil. We must trust that when God allows hard things in our lives, He always has our best interests in mind and that all things do work together for our good when we trust God and are seeking His purpose. God is the author of life and the more we know God, the more we know His goodness and His desire that we draw close to Him. But knowing that God is not the author of all my problems is one of the most important revelations the Lord has ever given me. That does not mean my problems have gone away, but there is a newness and freedom in dealing with them that I did not have before. I can trust that God is for me; He wants me to be victorious. And I also have a fresh desire to help others see God’s will for their lives.
The sovereignty of God is the knowledge that He is paramount and supreme. There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but He does not make our choices for us. But, by his Holy Spirit, he does give us the power to know Him, to overcome adversity, to make choices that honor Him, to live life with purpose and peace and to love others with courage.
Jesus came to give us abundant life, now and forever more. In Jesus’ name.
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