God Is Sovereign – Sort Of . . .

I never cease to be amazed at the pride of human beings. It’s so pervasive that many times it comes out without any conscious thought.

My pastor is a great guy. He loves people and has a big heart but even he is infected with this disease. This morning, before his sermon he was doing an interview with a young woman who had gone on a mission trip. They talked about the difficulty of waiting on God when her original trip was cancelled but another trip opened up to another country that wasn’t even on her radar.

He asked her what she learned through the process. She said she learned patience and how to trust God through the process. Then he made a statement that most of Christendom would agree with but flies in the face of scripture and logic. The gist of his statement was this – We need to let God be sovereign.

Do you see the contradiction in that statement? LET God be sovereign. If God needs permission to be sovereign then He’s not. But we seem to have gotten it into our heads that God’s will is limited to ours. That somehow we can limit His actions by our willingness or unwillingness to to obey.

The truth is that God doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do something. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to do His will. God chose Jacob over Esau before they were born and before they had made any choices. God chose Jonah to go to Nineveh.

Now you may say, “But there are plenty of instances where people went against God’s will.” Yes, it would appear that people can go against God’s will but that would only be an illusion. It is God’s will that people oppose His revealed will in order to fulfill His ultimate purpose. A good example of this is Romans 5:20 which says,

For the law was was brought in so that sin might increase.

So we see that it was God’s intentional will that sin increase even though God’s revealed will was to obey the law.

This goes straight to the next point which is that God’s intent was that Adam eat the fruit even though He told him not to. “Hold the phone!”, you say, “Where do you get that from?” Straight from the Bible. Romans 8:20 says,

For the creature was made subject to futility, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it . . .

God subjected the creature to futility, depravity. It was His will not Adams. But here my pastor fell into the traditional Christian teaching and put the emphasis back on the creature by speaking about Adams rejecting God and Adam doing this or that but that totally goes against this verse. It was God’s will that the creature be subject to sin therefore Adam had no choice but to sin. He disobeyed God’s revealed will but he was fulfilling God’s intentional will.

It is so difficult for Christians to accept that God’s will is the guiding force of the universe and they are just along for the ride. He is working all things for His good pleasure, and like the potter, He doesn’t consult the clay about whether He can do this or that or would they please obey Him so He can accomplish something. Either God is sovereign and the universe is unfolding as it should or it’s not and He is some second rate God trying to fix a problem that resulted from events happening that were beyond His control.

Remember that we are slaves. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ but we are slaves and a slave has no will of his/her own. When we sin it is sin working in us and when  we act righteously we do so because of God’s spirit working in us and since God controls all then all is God’s will.

I will leave you with a verse that many have read but most have not actually allowed themselves to follow it through to it’s logical conclusion. Romans 11:36

For of Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things . . .

All things means that God is in control of everything and everything that has happened, is happening and will happen is God’s will and purpose so let’s have no more of this, ‘Letting God be sovereign’ nonsense. God is sovereign and nothing we do can ever change that.

Speaking about letting God be sovereign is like saying a butterfly let’s the hurricane blow it around.