Many blessings of sovereignty

Friday March 08, 2019 Written by Published in Church Talk
It was a vision of Him, not of a lesser god, that transformed Isaiah’s ministry. 19030704 It was a vision of Him, not of a lesser god, that transformed Isaiah’s ministry. 19030704

We find true freedom when we are willing to accept reality as it is (including God’s rightful and effective sovereignty over all his creation) and when we allow him to make us into all that he would have us be.  The matter of God’s Sovereignty, far from continuing to be an offence to us, can become a wonderful doctrine from which we derive great blessings.

 

What are these blessings? First, a realisation of God’s sovereignty inevitably deepens our veneration of the living and true God.  Without an understanding and appreciation of these truths, it is questionable whether we know the God of the Old and New Testaments at all. 

For what is a God whose power is constantly being thwarted by the designs of people and Satan? What kind of a God is he whose sovereignty must be increasingly restricted lest he be imagined to be invading the citadel of our “free will”? Who can worship such a truncated and pitiable deity?  A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.  On the other hand, a God who truly rules his universe is a God to be joyfully sought after, worshiped and obeyed.

 Such is the God whom Isaiah saw: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory”’ (Is.  6:1 3).  Such is the God of the Scriptures.  It was a vision of Him, not of a lesser god, that transformed Isaiah’s ministry.

Second, a knowledge of God in his sovereignty gives comfort in the midst of trials, temptation or sorrow.  Temptations and sorrows come to Christians and non-Christians alike.  The question is: How shall we meet them?

Clearly, if we must face them with no clear certainty that they are controlled by God and are permitted for his good purposes, then they are meaningless and life is a tragedy.  That is precisely what many existentialists say.  But if God is still in control, then such circumstances are known to him and have their purpose.

We do not know all God’s purposes, of course.  To know that, we would have to be God.  Nevertheless, we can know some of them because God reveals them to us.  For example, the aged apostle Peter writes to some who had endured great trials, reminding them that the end is not yet Jesus will return and that in the meantime God is strengthening and purifying them through their struggles. 

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, May redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:6 7). 

Similarly, Paul writes to those at Thessalonica who had lost loved ones through death, reminding them that the Lord Jesus Christ will return and will at that time reunite all who are living then with their loved ones.  He concludes, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess.  4:18).

Third, an understanding of the sovereignty of God will provide encouragement and joy in evangelism.  How can one evangelize without such confidence?

How can one propose to take a message which is so obviously unpalatable to the natural man or woman and have any hope of moving him or her to accept it, unless God is able to take rebellious sinners and turn them in spite of their own inclinations to faith in Jesus?

 If God cannot do that, how can any sane human being hope in himself to do it? He would have to be either oblivious to the problem or else ridiculously self-confident.  But if God is sovereign in this as in all other matters if God calls whom he wills and calls effectively then we can be bold in evangelism, knowing that God by grace may use us as channels of his blessing.  Indeed, we can know that he will use us.  For it is by human testimony that he has determined to bring others to him.

Finally, a knowledge of the sovereignty of God will afford a deep sense of security.  If we look to ourselves, we have no security at all.  The lust of the flesh and eyes, the pride of life, are stronger than we are. Yet, when we look to the strength of our God, we can be confident. 

Paul writes: “What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...  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 principalities, 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.”  (Rom.  8:31, 35, 37 39)

 

Reverend Vakaroto Ngaro

Ekalesia Avarua

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