The Sovereignty of God

26. January 2016 09:11 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

The Sovereignty of God

 

What is Reformed Theology? Reformed theology teaches a wide range of systematic beliefs. Those beliefs would include the Sovereignty of God, the Five Sola’s of the Reformation, and the Doctrines’ of Grace. In this brief posting I want to focus on the Sovereignty of God. We will focus on what the Scripture teaches and how do we apply this teaching in our practical everyday living especially some of histories most evil atrocities’. 

In the book, The Attributes of God, A. W. Pink said:

“The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy…Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10); “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand” (Dan. 4:35). Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things “after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11).” 

James Montgomery Boyce said:

“For most reformed people the chief and most distinctive article of the creed is God's sovereignty. Sovereignty means rule, and the sovereignty of God means that God rules over His creation with absolute power and authority. He determines what is going to happen, and it does happen. God is not alarmed, frustrated, or defeated by circumstances, by sin, or by the rebellion of His creatures.” 

It would be good now to see exactly what the Scriptures say:

2 Chronicles 20:6 and he said, “O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.

Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’.

Daniel 4:35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can [a]ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

Sovereignty is clearly defined as God having supreme authority, control, and power over all that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future in all times across all history. Christians that hold to Reformed theology define the Scripture to teach that God is the ruler of the universe, God, has the right, the authority, and the power to govern all that happens and what has, is, or will happen being in accordance to His divine will. He has the right to achieve His purposes and has the power to bring about circumstances that dictate whatever He wills to come to pass. He has complete control of everything and there is nothing that is done that is not done by or allowed through His will. 

The Sovereignty of God weaves it’s way through the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation but often times people can take one of two extremes in regard to this clear teaching. Some emphasize the sovereignty of God to the point that human beings are little more than robots simply doing what they have been sovereignly programmed to do. Others emphasize free will to the point of God not having complete control and/or knowledge of all things. Neither of these positions is biblical. The truth is that God does not violate our wills by choosing us and redeeming us. Rather, He changes our hearts so that our wills choose Him.

As to the respect of life trials and situation I’d like to share one last Scripture and one last historic event that some people have trouble reconciling. 

Acts 2:22-24

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

No believing Christian has a issue with God delivering Jesus over based upon His “predetermined plan and foreknowledge”. I’ll even be more specific. No Black Christian has an issue with God delivering Jesus over based upon His predetermined plan and foreknowledge, we actually celebrate it!

Historically, even in light of all these Scriptures, Black Christians have a problem reconciling if God is as Sovereign as the Scriptures teach why slavery? Why would He allow these atrocity to take place?

First I would like to point out to Blacks, African Americans, and people of color all across the world. The history of slavery is an ancient evil committed by men since the beginning of time.  In ancient Rome for instance “the slave had, in principle, no rights, no legal status whatsoever; he was a chattel owned by his master” (Pierre Grimal, The Civilization of Rome). In the day of Rome a slave “could be owned and dealt with like any other piece of property. He was [completely] at the mercy of his owner, without rights” (Michael Grant, The World of Rome). We could also turn back the hands of time and even see that Pharaoh in Egypt also owned slaves. No one ethnicity throughout history has been excluded from this evil and it’s my prayer that Blacks, especially in America, will not be mentality enslaved by the evils of the past.

Where was God in the trans Atlantic slave trade or American chattel slavery? God was there right in the midst of it. God was doing what He always do working in the hearts of men and women in spite of any evils that may happen. The Word of God is clear, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD” (ISAIAH 55:8). We can speculate for all of eternity but the truth is even in slavery God was and is Sovereign. All that took place did so with the superintendence of God. One of the primary reasons that Blacks can relate so much with Biblical history is that the Scriptures teach that God is the God of those who are oppressed and their victor. God has delivered from the oppression of slavery and while evil still exist God is still Sovereign! It is that, that we put our trust in. 

 

SDG  

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About Edward L. Smith

My ministry philosophy would consist of these essentials—a High View of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, Expository Preaching, Sound Doctrine, Personal Holiness, and a Biblical view of spiritual authority. All ministries must be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, & Gospel Saturated. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

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