Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary describes God’s sovereignty as a ‘theological term, which refers to the unlimited power of God, who has sovereign control over the affairs of nature and history’. Isaiah 45:9-19 / Romans 8:18-39.
The Bible states from the very beginning that God has been in complete control, Genesis 1:1 says, ‘In the beginning God’.
This clearly tells us that God is our creator and the source of everything found on the earth and the heavens today. Someone once said that sovereignty means that God is in all and over all and according to David in Psalm 24:1 we are totally dependent on God too.
‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’. Some commentaries split God’s sovereignty up into 6 areas.
1. The creative sovereignty of God.
The creative sovereignty of God in other words He is the Lord of creation.
There are many passages in Scripture, which tells us that God is the cause of the universe and that we were created in His image to worship Him and love Him. We can certainly tell how great and sovereign our God is just by looking at creation. You can certainly know that He is awesome and that He cares for us and yet many people don’t want to believe this very simple statement.
But of course, they have no excuse to say that they nothing about God because according to Paul in Romans 1:20, he tells ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse’.
Psalm 8:3-4 says, ‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?’
2. The moral sovereignty of God.
The moral sovereignty of God in other words His absolute authority over creation is based on God’s important nature, which is moral.
This is where many people fall short and can’t get to grips with. We as human beings have a moral ought-ness about us, a sense of what is right and wrong and scientists have been struggling with this idea for many years and they have got no answers for this. Where do our morals come from? Are they inherited? Possibly, but ultimately, we get our knowledge from God.
He said at the beginning of Genesis 2:17, ‘do not eat from the tree’ why? God said, in Genesis 3:22, ‘They will know what is right and wrong.’
This tells us that God will judge us on the basis of His moral character because He is the source of all good things, He is the source of all goodness. James 1:17 says, ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’
3. The transcendent sovereignty of God.
The transcendent sovereignty of God means He is beyond our complete comprehension according to Isaiah 6:1, ‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.’
God doesn’t work in ways that we as human beings can understand all the time. That surely was the point of Jesus coming to earth to walk, talk and eat with us so that we may get know God better.
God always wanted the personal touch and you can’t get much more personal than God Himself walking the earth with us or as Christian who have been baptised into His Son have got the Holy Spirit walking with us and in us all the time.
Yes, some things are difficult to understand about God and how He works but surely, we can see that this almighty God of ours who is in Heaven wants to have a personal relationship with everyone who would follow Him. Jesus told Philip in John 14:9, ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?’
God had to become a human to tell us what He is like and what He wants from us because He knows we couldn’t understand Him in any other way.
4. The purposeful sovereignty of God.
The purposeful sovereignty of God, in other words, God has a purpose for us. But what some people seem to forget it’s an active purpose, it’s more than just accepting God and saying, ‘Yes, I believe there is a God,’ it needs to be moving. That’s what Philippians 2:13 is all about, ‘it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.’
Also in other passages, God encourages us to work out our salvation that God has worked, ‘In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will’. Ephesians 1:11
God wants to bring His whole creation to fullness and competition and this mighty God of ours has got a plan, which includes us too. As I said earlier we were created for a purpose but we need to remember that His purpose for us will come to end one day, at least on this place where we are living just now called Earth and of course He wants to have fellowship with us which was always His plan A.
5. The freedom divine sovereignty of God.
The freedom divine sovereignty of God. People take the word Freedom for granted sometimes, they think it’s a licence to go and do whatever they want to and they see a world that is so full of crime and murder and all kinds of evil and so they think that either God isn’t in control or He doesn’t exist or it is God’s will for these things to happen.
People begin to talk about predestination and that they have no choice because God knows and makes everything happen His way anyway. Some people believe that God is the puppet master and we are just the puppets, well if this is the case, where is our freedom of choice? Why do we sin? Why do some people not believe in God?
This way of thinking doesn’t match up with the God of love, the God of the Bible.
Yes, we have freedom in Christ, but this isn’t a ticket to go and live your life any way you want to. If God wanted conformity, He would have forced the 10 Commandments on us as Christians to make sure we do what He wants us to do. All the way through the Old Testament we see that God isn’t interested in sacrifices or offerings, all He ever wanted was our hearts and the Law cannot do that, 1 Samuel 15:22 / Hosea 6:6.
God gives us the choice every day to leave Him and He won’t stop us from doing that but our choice as Christians is that we would rather follow Him than just go and do what we please on this sin-cursed planet. And that is the point, we choose to follow Him, we are not forced.
The Law made you do something because you had to do it but freedom in Christ, we do something for Him because we want to, we choose not to live as the world lives, we choose to give our lives daily to Christ, we choose to submit to His will and do what He wants us to do, it’s all about choice.
In Matthew 4 Jesus chose His disciples but they had a choice to follow Him and they did, Matthew 4:18-21.
A little later in the Gospel, a rich man came to Jesus and he chose not to follow Him, Mark 10:17-22.
People chose to follow the sovereignty of God in all its forms.
6. The sovereignty and providence of God.
The sovereignty and providence of God mean He goes out of His way to have fellowship with His creation but He doesn’t leave it to our own understanding to work out for ourselves. In the Old Testament, He used the prophets to guide His people towards Him, He gives His people strength, even today as Christians He still does this with His Word and the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
God loves us and there are many Scriptures in the Bible which refer to this, here is just one example, Psalm 136. God loves us and wants to have fellowship with us, simply because He loves us because ‘God is love’, 1 John 4:8.
God speaks of Himself as a Father, a loving Father who is willing to suffer with us, help us through hard times and rejoice with us in our good times.
Do we really think that God would go to all the trouble of creating this planet we live on and send His Son Jesus to live among us and then let His Son be crucified if He didn’t really care for us? This is absurd, it’s a crazy thought, if that were the case then what would be the point of living or being created in the first place?
The difficult part for me to understand is why a sovereign God would want to have anything to do with us, why would He want anything to do with the people that He created and let Him down so miserably, every day of our lives?
People often ask the question, why would a loving, caring God send anyone to hell? Maybe the question we should ask ourselves is this, why would a holy sovereign God allow scum like me into heaven?
He chooses to walk with us when we are strong, He chooses to walk with us when we are weak and as Romans 8:28 says, ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’.
He has amazing confidence in His people, and He wants to urge all sinners to repentance. Some preachers give the impression that if you become a Christian then all your troubles and strife will all disappear and life will just be great and trouble-free.
We need to understand that God never promised this, He never promised that life would be a bed of roses, in fact, He promised the complete opposite.
John 16:33 says, ‘In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
First, He says when you become a Christian, Satan will be after you and people will persecute you but also in John 16:33, He says that ‘He has overcome the world’ and He tells us to ‘take heart’.
This statement promises us that we will have trouble but we should be encouraged because Jesus is going to be there for us. The cross of Calvary was the greatest statement mankind has ever known, as John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son.’ What a statement!
As Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, ‘Without the sovereign love of the Father ministered to us through the Son and the Holy Spirit, there would be no real human freedom and no hope of everlasting life.’
We should never forget that He rules over everyone in heaven and on earth and every demon in hell with justice and wisdom and grace. And ever since the beginning of time people have been telling God that this isn’t fair, that isn’t right etc.
It began with Cain in Genesis 4:13, ‘Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’
How typical of these people who don’t want to listen to God in the first place. When they do wrong and they get caught it is never their fault but always someone else’s. They are always mocking God because of His right to rule and reign not only in heaven but here on earth too.
When you think about it, who are we to say, ‘what is right and what is wrong’? Who are we to say ‘that isn’t fair God’?
Usually, these people are the ones who don’t believe in God in the first place or they don’t want to accept or recognise that He has the right to rule over everything, after all, He created all things in the first place. It always comes back to, will you recognise God for who He is or will you be your own God?