Sovereignty of God

The word sovereignty reflects the rule of a king. When applied to God it is a theological point to say God is the boss. But this by itself may be less descriptive than some people think. I believe in the sovereignty of God. However, what I believe about the sovereignty of God is may not be the same as what other people believe in the sovereignty of God.

For some people this means God is not only in charge of everything, but also ultimately He is making every decision whether we realize it or not. His sovereignty means He always gets His way in everything, right down to the minor details of life. In this model He not only decided to redeem man from their sins, but He also decided for them, when and how they would sin. I just don’t believe this and probably neither do you.

For other people this means God is ultimately in charge of everything, but mankind being capable of making decisions, are responsible for their own choices. Therefore God is not always getting His way in every little thing. But the framework of choices man is capable of making is strictly controlled by God, and He will get His way in the most important things. Especially, man, who is capable of making other decisions, is incapable of making a decision for salvation. Therefore, no one can be saved except for God’s decision that the one individual person would be saved. I don’t exactly believe this either. The explanation for why we cannot make a choice to be saved is inadequate to my understanding.

For me, and probably a lot of other people, God is sovereign. In His sovereignty He chose to make humanity with decision making capability. He knew this meant He would not get His way in every little thing, and in some cases not in larger things. He does, however, exercise the freedom to intervene whenever and however He chooses. I do not believe sovereignty is lessoned when someone else is allowed to hold subordinate authority. I do not see adequate reason for the ability to choose God to be outside of man’s capability. And finally, I do not see it as taking glory from God when mankind makes this choice, love means more when it is freely given.

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  1 Timothy 2:1-4  (HCSB)

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8 thoughts on “Sovereignty of God

  1. Thank you Pastor for this wonderful and awesome message!

    May GOD richly bless you and Stephanie!

    In His Love, peggy

  2. If it is acceptable I would like to push back a bit on some of your thoughts here. I don’t understand why it is necessary to create another category of “sovereign”. I think the bible is pretty clear that God is in control of ALL things. Not a hair falls from our head. Moreover, I see absolutely no contradiction is God decreeing that I choose X and me freely choosing X of my own accord based on what I wanted most in the moment. Christ had to be crucified, are you telling me that it was just lucky that they decided to do it? Certainly not, or was this one of those times where he “intervened”?

    People don’t Go to hell against their will. Just like people don’t go to heaven against their will, though the bible is clear God has decreed both.

    Thank you for you desire to actually write and discuss our Lord and Savior

    Grace and Peace
    -Anon

    • I don’t mind discussion or push back. I will attempt to answer your questions, but I admit I am not always sure I see what you mean.

      I am not trying to create a new category of sovereign, I am observing that not everyone means the same thing when they use the term. In regards to choosing X if God decided that you would choose X later, then you might think it was of your own free will, but logically you only did what God decreed, therefore you only think you chose it freely. If God made you choose it by making you want it, well that is the same thing, its just a further description of the method. This descriptive is of a puppet on a string, not a true free will. However if what you mean is God saw in advance you would make choice X and responded to your choices that is not Him decreeing but using foreknowledge. The fact that Christ came to take the penalty for our sin, was indeed God intervening in history. He knew how people would respond to Jesus, He knew the crucifixion would result, but this could have been done through foreknowledge, it doesn’t logically follow the only other alternative is luck. (Because of God’s foreknowledge and intervention there is no luck)

      People do not go to heaven against their will, I agree. I am not so sure I will say everyone in hell chose to go there. Neither would I say God has decreed both. The verse I quoted at the end of the blog was very intentional. It says God wants all men to be saved. If this is what God wants in the absolute definition of sovereignty, then hell must be empty. Some resolve this by saying the context of the word all must mean He wants all the elect to be saved. But this is nonsensical in context. It would imply every king, ruler and governing authority was a part of the elect. Look carefully at the wording of 1 Timothy 2.

      I know not everyone will agree with me on this point. Some will get violently angry with me. But I would rather they simply show me how 1 Timothy 2 makes sense if their definition of sovereignty is correct. If they are willing to read their favorite passages with another definition of sovereignty, will all of the passages make sense?

      There are a few ideas around the point I think are important. God does not surrender His role of king of the universe just because He gave us free will. In my mind that makes Him a greater God, not a smaller or corrupted God. Think of a good manager, he will empower workers in different areas of responsibility. He is still the boss, despite sharing responsibility. Another thought, I think is important. Consider in your life. Given two choices, that you made your spouse love you, or that your spouse chose to love you freely. Which would you prefer? Which would you think would speak more highly of you? I think love only means something when it is freely given.

      Thanks for responding and thanks for your time to discuss this.

      • Awesome, thank you for interacting, I will try to keep this compartmentalized so it is easier to follow.

        You imply that if God decreed X and I chose X of my own volition that I would be a puppet. This is not accurate because puppets don’t choose, they don’t think, they don’t have desires. In addition I don’t think you solve the problem of “true free will” with your example of God simply knowing what they would do from eternity. For example, If God knows that Person Y is going to reject Him, then Y have no choice but to do exactly what God has known. Y cannot choose otherwise because God knows what He will choose. Moreover, If God knew they would reject Him why would he allow them to be created, especially according to the plain reading of 1Timothy 2.

        The next two paragraphs revolve around 1 Timothy 2. Being a pastor you know many people will yank texts out without giving weight to the other texts in the scripture. As you also are aware of there are other conclusions of this text. I think that there are 3 primary understandings: 1. The ideas that you are presenting (one that has weight) 2. The idea that God has a two wills, an ideal and a decreed. 3. The idea that Paul was making clear that God even wanted those in authority to hear and receive the Gospel. I will call it, some of all types. I tend to the 3rd understanding. I do so for a couple of reasons, one I believe Paul goes on to demonstrate just what he means when he says “desires all to be saved”.

        Perhaps this will help illustrate the possible inconsistency: Verse 8: I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling

        Do you believe that Paul desired people to literally be in each and every place in the world lifting holy hands? Bathrooms, showers, boats, the marriage bed? Or was Paul again using language to illustrate a point. I think while at first glance it is compelling, if we are to remain consistent choice 3 becomes the most viable. Here are a couple of more verses that I think you would agree with me on. Mt 21:10, Mt 3:5, Luke 8:39 Luke 21:36, Mt 4:23 I think you catch my drift. It is not as simple as saying well the text simply says.

        In your last paragraph you raise the spouse question. Again I think this analogy fall short because we are not neutral to God. We are enemies with God, haters, children of wrath, at one point mankind’s heart was only evil all the time. A more appropriate example might be your son ran into the street you have two choices:
        1 Yell at him and say son I love you please come back to the sidewalk(then cross your fingers he listens/or worse know he isn’t going to listen but you don’t have the power or the will to actually do anything about it)
        2 Sprint into the traffic grab him and yank him to safety. As soon as he feels the wind of the car rushing by he will know just how close he was to death and at that moment will know just how much you truly do love him. Why because at the right time you entered into his world and saved him.
        I surely hope you haven’t seen all of these responses before :). I would like to think you are being forced to think as much as I am.
        Thanks again brother for your interaction,

        Grace and Peace
        -Anon

  3. Comments can only be three levels deep here, so I will put my response into a new comment.

    The basic problem is still if God decides what choices you will make before you are born than you are not deciding, you only think you are. Its different for God to know what will happen in advance, but you are saying He decides it all in advance, if this is the case, as in it would therefore be impossible for you to choose differently, then you do not have free will. If God decided everything in advance did he decide you and I would have this conversation? You ask at the tail end of that paragraph, why would God make people whom he knows will not choose to be saved. But that question is even more pressing if He made people, chose they would sin and chose that they would reject Him. Remember if God decided everything in advance, He chose we would sin.

    Considering 1 Timothy 2 you must decide who is included in the word everyone. The third choice is basically that God wanted to emphasize some of the elect were kings, leaders etc. But this really stretches the wording. Its much more sensical to think God wanted all people to be saved.

    In the section where you bring up raising hands, you are breaking tense. In Greek tense conveys not only time but also continuity. And the way you go about it is silly. Every place as in every city, not every place in the city. But also not every moment in every place, just every place.

    In your last section your argument boils downto say, remember we are incapable of choosing good therefore we will not choose good. But I don’t agree with the foundation fo the argument. It is not free will unless we have the ability to make different choices. If you believe we cannot choose good, then you are saying we do not have free will. My statement about the spouse is only to help you see God wants to be loved by choice, rather than by His coercion. Your illustration about the child in the street kind of works, but if God foreordained everything then He must have thrown the children in the street and then only rescued half.

    I don’t believe God is the author of sin. We did it with our free will. God knew it was coming but it was our choice, not His.

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