Sovereignty of God

<<God reigns; He is in control>>

He is in complete control of everything. This stands in complete opposition to the idea that chance or fate govern the universe.

He has absolute right, as supreme ruler, to do as He chooses with this being outworked through providence (His foresight and intervention), His acting through the affairs of humanity. God always has been and always will be sovereign over all nations, people, events and circumstances as nothing in the universe is outside His influence and

Do I truly appreciate God’s right to reign over His creation?

authority for “His Kingdom rules over all” (Ps 103:19). Nothing can prevent God’s purposes being fulfilled for “When I [God] act who can reverse it?” (Prov 19:21; Isa 43:13; Act 5:39).

God allowed Satan to fall, and gives him limited permission to rule the world and test man. Although He could have prevented Adam and Eve succumbing to Satan’s temptation He gave humans free choice, desiring willing obedience from His creation rather than them being puppets who are manipulated. There is, therefore, a balance between His sovereignty and human responsibility.

He can truthfully declare, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, apart from me there is no God”.  The Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below.  There is no other, He is the ruler of everything and therefore superior to all other gods and this makes Him, and Him alone, worthy of worship (Deut 4:39; 1 Chr 29:12; Isa 45:5,6).

“Nothing is too hard for God”, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who made, directs and maintains all His creation, and from one man made us all, deciding the time and place we should live (Jer 32:17; Act 17:24-27; Col 1:15-20; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 4:11, 19:16). Providence is divine intervention; how He orchestrates everything to accomplish His purposes. Does God promise and then not act? (Num 23:19). God’s purposes will come to pass and He “does what He pleases, all His ways are right” (Ps 115:3, 135:6; Isa 25:1, 37:26; Dan 4:34-37). He is sovereign, ruling in the affairs of humanity, individually and collectively even influencing heathen unbelieving rulers to do His will (Prov 21:1; Isa 10:5-8). In some instances when the human response is ‘No’ God respects that decision, even hardening the heart further as He did with Pharaoh while at other times He makes people favourably disposed according to plans  for “He does whatever He chooses” (Ex 7:13ff, 12:36; Job 23:13). “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). This promise is a testimony of the sovereign God who cares about us, for it can’t be fulfilled unless the one giving it is all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful and all-loving. Acknowledge that ‘My God’ has made that promise, and nothing will ever come into my life that He does not originate or allow.

Jesus said, “You can’t do anything to me unless God gives you permission” (Jn 19:11). Satan had to gain permission from God before he could afflict Job – yet, Job did not understand why he was allowed to be severely tested (Job 1:12,13, 2:6). God’s ways are beyond our comprehension but like Job, we should remain faithful and committed to

Do I honestly believe God is fully in control of all that affects me?

Him, especially in the times we don’t understand and when things don’t make sense. He is lovingly powerful, and permits all the things in our lives, to bring us to our present situation, even using our past mistakes and failures when we release them to Him in thanksgiving (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28; 1 Thes 5:18).

Evil rulers such as Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of six millions Jews, could have been stopped but God chose not to. We do not understand God’s perspective and strategy, but we are to trust in His love and justice, as He is able to bring good out of all situations. He has the master plan while we have only limited and selfish vision. As we come to understand His mind and purposes, so we can co-operate with Him and not fight the situations He is allowing for our development. We can accept that the trials we are experiencing are designed to refine us, giving opportunity for us to crucify the flesh while resisting all Satan’s malicious attacks (Jas 4:7,8). When we pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” we are in agreement, aligning our desires with His, acknowledging Him as Lord and surrendering our own rights (Mt 6:10).

Satan and humans, in their very limited knowledge, may endeavour to fight against God and His plans but these actions consistently backfire and help His cause rather than hinder it: You intended to harm me, but ‘God intended it for good’ to accomplish what is now being done (Gen 50:20). Persecution against the early church caused the Christians to scatter, spreading the gospel (Act 8:1-4). The harsh persecution of Christians in various countries has refined the believers and added to the spread of Christianity. However, the ultimate example is the death of Christ. The religious leaders wanted His death, not understanding that this was the Lamb of God whose death was necessary to take away the sin of the world; they only did what God had decided beforehand should happen according to His set purpose and foreknowledge (Jn 1:29; Act 2:23, 4:27,28).

Although God's sovereignty (rule of the universe) is a natural consequence of His omnipresence omnipotence and omniscience (present everywhere, all powerful, all knowing), with the power, wisdom, and authority to do anything

God’s character is backed up by His ability

He chooses with nothing in the universe occurring without His permission, He chooses to work through people (Est 4:13,14). Am I available and willing to be God’s servant, bringing salvation and spiritual freedom to people? While God’s sovereignty is shown in redemption and He knows those who will be saved and those who will not (using and even hardening the hearts of those opposed to Him), our responsibility is to share the gospel with everyone (Ex 9:16; Rom 9:14-18).

He offers us the free will choice to obey Him and be blessed, or rebell against Him and suffer the consequences (Deut 30:15-19). Even the existence of sin proves He allows things that He does not directly cause. Fatalism on the other hand denies human free will.

We must co-operate with God in our daily life and not sit idly by and allow life to happen, expecting Him to do for us what we are able (with His help) to achieve. This applies to everything from advancing in knowledge and character, to getting fit, to having a harmonious marriage. In decision-making, we ask Him to guide and if we discover we have made a poor move, we can trust in God’s faithfulness and His ability to set us back on the right course and He will even bring good out of the mistake. God's sovereignty does not eliminate human responsibility. Although God has spoken and made promises, it ususally requires action from us to appropriate the truth we have been given. 

See also: choice, co-operation, fatalism, Job (Job), Job, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, predestination, providence, why.