Disclaimer: I’m keeping the title the same, but I will have you know I had no intent of posting so many words when I started this article! I am not trying to mislead anyone through some “form of cruel irony.” (Movie reference?) 😉
This post finds its roots in a book I was reading on humility. The author suggested an avenue of further study: the incommunicable attributes of God. What a great way to learn humility – being humbled by the knowledge of a great and powerful God!
The first attribute I chose to study is God’s sovereignty.
[Sovereignty = Supreme power, authority, and/or excellence]
God’s sovereignty is unique. He alone is sovereign over all things.
I’m not writing to present a fancy theological viewpoint on God’s sovereignty…that has already been done by several learned godly men and I know I wouldn’t present the topic as well as them. My main purpose here is to post a few comments about an article I read by Barnhouse on the sovereignty of God.
Much of Barnhouse’s article discusses God’s sovereignty in light of His choosing certain people to save. We were all enemies of God…equally wicked and lost in His sight. He chose to save some and condemn others. It is by nothing we were or could be that He chose to save us.
Another major theme throughout the article was God’s sovereignty over health and diseases. God has a plan and a reason for bringing trials into the lives of His children. One of the best Biblical examples Barnhouse uses is the man who was blind from birth. The disciples ask Christ, “‘Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ and the Lord Jesus said, ‘Neither: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.'” Barnhouse continues, “Do you mean, you say, that God Almighty let a man be blind for thirty or forty years so that Jesus could perform a miracle on him? Certainly.”
For reasons outside of our finite knowledge, God chooses to allow some people to go through severe trials. I know a few brothers and sisters who are going through very difficult and painful health issues. I pray that God will give them the grace and strength to allow these trials to stretch their faith in Him. As easy as it would be to grumble and complain about the “unnecessary difficulty” added upon this already complicated life on earth, God truly deserves honor and praise for the trials He places in our lives. We are to trust in Him with all our hearts. (Proverbs 3:5-6) He is our sovereign; we are His slaves.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How is THAT for perspective?! I need to be reminded of this constantly.
I am very grateful for the health God has given me. I recognize that it is a gift from His gracious hand. But God owes me nothing. Should He choose to take away my good health tomorrow morning, He would be completely right to do so. May I always remember Job’s response to the Lord’s work in his life:
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21
One final remark – God is sovereign over the direction of my life.
At this stage of my life there is a lot of uncertainty.
I don’t know what career I want. I don’t know if I want to stay where I am. I don’t know whether I should remain single or not. I don’t know what tomorrow holds.
The trouble with these statements: “Ah! Pronoun trouble.” (Looney Tunes, anyone?) 🙂
I find a huge relief in being reminded that God is in control…He is sovereign. I’m not here for me. I’m a slave of Christ…I’m here to serve Him. I am to deny myself, take up my cross daily, and follow Him!
What is required of us is that we be so yielded to God that we can understand the nature of the place where He has put us, the nature of the assets He has put at our disposal; and that we should say to Him, “Lord, I would be faithful as I am, where I am, for Thee.” (Barnhouse, “The Sovereignty of God”)