I am not a theologian. I’m not a Bible scholar. I’m a pastor. As a pastor I see the Bible and I walk with people as they live. As I read and look I am given a unique perspective on how people interact with the truth of Scripture. People live out their true theological beliefs. No matter what a person says, how he really believes will be demonstrated by his life. There are some big topics in the Bible that people interact with in a way that is at best inconsistent. (self included) One of those topics is the Sovereignty of God. I have some observations about God’s Sovereignty and how we as believers can and should behave with these in mind. I’m not pointing fingers, I am just as guilty of this stuff as anyone. So, let’s walk through this topic together.
1. The ultimate truth about God’s Sovereignty. The true and sovereign will of God WILL NOT be thwarted. Job, Ephesians 1:3-14, Romans 9:1-23, etc… all tell us that God has a will, a plan, and it will not be deterred. Nothing surprises him. He is never shocked by human activity. In fact, he takes everything, every good deed, every sinful action, every thought, everything and uses them to accomplish his plan. This is hard to understand. How can God use sin to accomplish his will? I don’t know. I do know that he doesn’t cause anyone to sin, but I have no idea how God can use both good and evil to accomplish his completely good plan. I just know he does. I have to become comfortable with not knowing how an all-powerful God conducts his affairs. Josh Meares recently wrote a blog post about asking God why (or how). His conclusion, asking God why it works the way it does is not bad, it’s just not helpful. So, God’s will is truly sovereign, it does not depend on me or you, or even luck… it is what it is and will not be changed. This has become a comfort for me. In fact, it has become a reason to praise God. In a world that is highly dependent on the whims of peoples’ emotions, it is incredible to know that God’s plan for the world is not dependent on anything but the creator.
2. We are not given insight very often about the details of this intricate plan. We see in Job, the Gospels, Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, Revelation that even when details are given to us we aren’t even able to really see the whole situation. The future is hard to envision. When we do envision it we are hard-pressed to not make ourselves the center of it. We also have a hard time seeing things change much. Even while people are creating computers, all but one or two innovators couldn’t imagine them being small than a whole room. I’m not even sure we could understand it if we were given all the details. As people, we can barely find people who can wrap their brains around big topics like global poverty, social media, etc… How can we get upset with God that we don’t have the whole future wrapped up nicely? But as believers we can be certain that no matter what happens, good or bad, these things will work out for our good. (Romans 8:28)
John Piper wrote a book about Romans 9:1-23 talking about the doctrine of election and God’s sovereignty. If you are so inclined, you should read it.