On a day that has marked the 1 year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake that took the lives of 316,000+ lives and held the memorial service for the Tucson tragedy – we must ask ourselves a very important question! How sovereign is God? The Scripture clearly reveals that our God is sovereign over all things at all times! All of the politicians, including the President of the United States – Barack Obama – quoted Scripture in their speeches. Rather than being ruled by “Mother Nature” as some suggest, this world is ruled by Yehweh – sovereign God! During times like this, it’s extremely important to embrace the sovereignty of God in order that we can find true hope and healing! Whether we are mourning a tragedy sparked by nature or a depraved sinner – God remains upon His throne and is ruling over those events to bring about His eternal glory.
Below you will find an article that I once posted a while back on the subject of God’s sovereignty. While I don’t usually repost old articles – this is one that is very appropriate for this day.
Consider God’s Sovereignty Over Rulers
Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Paul states in Romans 13:1 that all leaders (rulers) are ordained (appointed) to their positions by God. That statement alone causes us to consider great subjects that are beyond comprehension! As we consider the mysterious will of God – could it be that He actually appointed Hitler to his position? Yes – that is exactly what the Bible is saying. As we survey all of Old Testament history and see how Egypt’s leader – wicked Pharaoh was put in place to demonstrate the power and authority and love of God – the same thing must be true with Hitler.In Proverbs 21:1 – the Bible clearly tells us that the king (ruler) is in the hand of God and He turns them in whatever way they go. In other words, their positions are used to bring about and accomplish the mysterious will of God – in ways that we as mere human beings cannot fully comprehend.
Consider God’s Sovereignty Over Nature
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Exodus 20:11 – For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is . . .
Mark 4:39 – And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
See also: Psalm 83:15; Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 29:6; Jonah (storm and fish).The Bible clearly tells us that God is the author and creator of all that we see! He created the sky and the earth and all that is contained in them. Not only did God create them, but He rules and reigns over them in so that nothing comes about in nature except it be 100% controlled by God. This involves every rain drop, every light beam, each falling star, each bird in the sky, each bug that creeps across the earth, and all of human beings that He created for His glory. God did not merely create a world like a clock maker creates a clock and then stands back and watches it tick. God created the world and is personally and sovereignly involved with each second of time and movement of His creation on planet earth. Why? For His glory!
Consider God’s Sovereignty Over Salvation
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Acts 13:48 – And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
Acts 16:14 – And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6:44 – No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
See also: Jeremiah 1:5; Romans 9; Romans 8:30; 1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 1:1-14; John 15:16; 1 John 4:19
As we consider the sovereignty of God over salvation, it should be abundantly clear – it is God who takes initiative in the issue of salvation! If it were not for God – wretched sinners would never turn to God. That is what John 6:37 and 44 above are speaking about. It is also abundantly clear through the Scriptures that God’s purpose in salvation is for His glory. Man should not gain the glory in salvation. God’s purpose in saving sinners is for His glory – Ephesians 1:11-12 – In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. A couple of weeks ago, a particular woman was speaking to me about her lost husband. She stated that her husband has no desire to be saved. As I counseled her, I told her that we must continue to pray and share with him the Gospel – but ultimately we must trust in our God who is the one responsible for opening up the heart of individuals to the message of the Gospel. As we consider the salvation of Lydia in Acts 16:14 – we see clearly that God is the One responsible for opening her heart and causing her to accept the things that Paul spoke (the Gospel).
As we consider the truth of 1 John 4:19 – We love him, because he first loved us – we must consider the fact that before the Grace of God upon our hearts – not one of us would have desired to love or worship God! Before God’s Grace – we were happy in our sin and that never changed until God gripped our heart and changed us in the same way He did Lydia, Paul, and others in Holy Scripture. We love Him only because He first loved us.Now, the truth of God’s sovereignty over salvation should never negate the truth of man’s responsibility to repent and turn to Christ in salvation (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Unfortunately, throughout history, some people have made this “logical” error. However, we must understand that God and His mysterious plan of salvation cannot be explained with mere logic! God is way beyond the minds of human beings and our own logical conclusions. The clear and biblical truth of God’s sovereignty over all things (including salvation) should not hinder our preaching of the Gospel, missions, or any other responsibility of man as a free creature of God. We are commanded as God’s creatures to obey Him – and that begins at salvation when we repent and it continues through the Christian life as we preach the Gospel of Christ to all creatures (Matthew 28:18-20).
Therefore, how do we square God’s full and ultimate sovereignty with man’s responsibility to repent and believe the Gospel? What may seem like a friction in Holy Scripture should be considered a limitation of our human minds to reconcile the two rather than a contradiction in Holy Scripture. Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, “I am not sure that in heaven we shall be able to know where the free agency of man and the sovereignty of God meet, but both are great truths (The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 51, 50).” E.Y. Mullins once said, “Election…does, when truly understood, fill us with humility and a sense of the manifold wisdom of God in dealing with His free creatures (The Baptist Faith & Message, 81).”
Consider God’s Sovereignty Over Suffering
It is God’s plan that specific people suffer:
1 Peter 4:19 – Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Revelation 6:11 – And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
It is God’s plan when specific people will suffer:
Acts 18:9-10 – Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
NOTE: Paul had already suffered and would later suffer more. God appointed the time of his suffering.
John 7:30 – Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
It is God’s plan where specific people will suffer:
Luke 13:33 – Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
It is God’s plan that specific people suffer in specific ways:
Acts 9:16 – For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
John 21:19 – This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.
Jeremiah 15:2-3 – And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity. And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.See also: The book of Job.As we consider the history of Christian martyrs – it is a joy to know that not one of them died in vain or by accident. While we may not fully understand it, God’s plan is for people to suffer in specific ways for His glory. All through Church history, we see the wicked enemy trying to extinguish the Gospel and His people through persecution, but it never worked. In each Christian that died – it was the equilivant of throwing gasoline on a small flame – it caused the Gospel fire to burn hotter, brighter, and to travel further (ends of the world) for the glory of God.
Conclusion: The study of God’s sovereignty must be approached with great caution. It can, if not guarded against, lead to a consuming fog that a person cannot escape. Some Christians are not profitable to Kingdom work because they are so busy blogging and talking about the sovereignty of God. The truth of God’s sovereignty must be accepted, but it must not prevent a person from a hot passion for God and for missions. If rightly understood – it will prompt Christian worship, service, and evangelism for the glory of God. That is exactly what this truth has done in my personal life and ministry.Many people do not want to accept the full reign of God’s sovereignty as clearly taught in Scripture because of the fact that it literally removes all power and authority from mankind. Those who who deny God’s sovereignty typically have an elevated view of man and a skewed view of God. During times of tragedy and peace – God’s sovereignty should provide us peace and fulfillment knowing that we are not the center of the universe, but He is. As we consider the sovereignty of God over all things at all times – we should be moved to a new and brighter understanding of our God. This understanding of our God – from Holy Scripture – should create within us a heart of devotion and worship! After all – that’s what all of His creation is for – His glory!
Take My Life, and Let It Be – Frances R. Havergal
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold:
Take my intellect, and use
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose,
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine:
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store:
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Pastor Josh Buice