The Sovereignty of God – Part 4

As I mentioned in my last post on the Sovereignty of God. To say that “God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme,”  is to say nothing if He does not exert His sovereignty over all things.  Rather, as Arthur Pink puts it;

“The Sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite. When we say that God is Sovereign we affirm His right to govern the universe which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay, i. e., that He may mold that clay into whatsoever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.”[1]

You cannot just SAY God is Sovereign. The reason for that is His sovereignty is not only “absolute, irresistible,” and “infinite,” it also must be all-powerful.  His sovereignty must be expressed in His power and his will.

One way that this is clearly seen is in God sovereignty in creation.

  • Revelation 4:11 (NKJV) 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

God is the Lord of creation, the source of all things, who brought the world into being and who guides His creation toward a meaningful end. God’s creativity is not the result of chance or randomness. It holds promise and purpose which God intends.  God’s purpose is to bring His creation—His whole creation—to fullness and completion, to fellowship with Him: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). The kingdom of God is the end toward which God moves His creation.  God, as the creator of all things visible and invisible, and the owner of all, has an absolute right to rule over all (Matt 20:15; cf. Rom 9:20) and He exercises this authority in the universe.

  • Ephesians 1:11 (NKJV) 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

Hodge put is well when he writes:

 “If God be a Spirit, and therefore a person, infinite, eternal, and immutable in his being and perfections, the Creator and Preserver of the universe, He is of right absolute sovereign… This sovereignty of God is the ground of peace and confidence to all his people.  They rejoice that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; that neither necessity, nor chance, nor folly of man, nor the malice of Satan controls the sequence of events and all there issues.

  1. The Scriptures abundantly teach that God is sovereign in the universe.
  • 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NKJV) 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all.
  • Psalm 115:3 (NKJV) 3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.
  • Psalm 135:6 (NKJV) 6 Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.
  • Isaiah 40:17-18 (NKJV) 17 All nations before Him are as nothing, And they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
  • Isaiah 45:9 (NKJV) 9 “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
  • Ezekiel 18:4 (NKJV) 4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
  • Daniel 4:35 (NKJV) 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
  • Revelation 4:11 (NKJV) 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

God has not just created the universe, with all its properties and powers, but is also preserving all that he has created and as a holy, benevolent, wise, and omnipotent being, exercises sovereign control over it.  He is not as the Deists of old pictured him.  He did just create and set things in motion and then step away. No, He is ever present, ever active, ever, powerful and every working His will in creation as well. We often call this God’s providence. Providence refers to God’s independent superintendency of the universe through the operation of normal and natural processes and events.[2] God’s providence is the continuous activity of God whereby he makes all the events of the physical, mental, and moral realms work out to his purpose. The revelation of His sovereignty in creation is overwhelming and instructive.  Let me illustrate:

Physical Uinverse

  1. Sunshine (Matt 5:45)
  2. Wind (Ps 147:18)
  3. Lightening (Job 38:25, 35)
  4. Rain (Job 38:26; Matt 5:45)
  5. Thunder ( I Sam 7:10)
  6. Waters (Ps 147:18)
  7. Hail (Ps 148:8)
  8. Ice (Job 37:10)
  9. Snow ( (Job 37:6; 38:22)
  10. Frost (Ps 147:16)
  11. Sun (Matt 5:45)
  12. Stars (Job 38:31-33)
  13. Mountains removed (Job 9:5)
  14. Earth quakes (Job 9:6)
  15. The ground yields her increase (Acts 14:17) at his mandate
  16. Plants and animals
  17. Every living creature is in the hand of God (Job 12:10)
  18. God provides for and controls all plants (Jonah 4:6; Matt 6:28-30)
  19. Fowl ((Matt 6:26; 10:29)
  20. Fish ((Jonah 1:1`7; Matt 17:27)
  21. Beasts (Ps 104:21, cf.27; 147:9)
  22. Nations of the earth
  23. God “rules over the nations” (Ps 22:28
  24. Her increases and destroys them (Job 12:23)
  25. Observes and judges them (Ps 66:7; 75:7)
  26. Establishes and dethrones rulers (Dan 2:37-39; 4:25)
  27. Sets national boundaries (Acts 17:26)
  28. Uses nations and their rulers in the exercise of his will (Isa 7:20; 10:5-15; 45:1-4)
  29. There is no authority excepts from God, and those which exist are established by God (Rom 13:1)
  30. Over all areas of each man’s existence
  31. God is actively involved before one is yet born (Ps 139:16 Jer 13:1)
  32. He works out his purposes in one’s life (I Sam 16:1; cf. Gal 1:15) this is the case whether one recognizes it or not (Isa 45:5; Esth 4:14)
  33. God provides for man’s needs (Matt 5:45; 6:25-32; Acts 14:17)
  34. God determines the time and circumstances of man’s death (cf. Deut 32:49; John 21:19; 2 Tim 4:6-8)
  35. The Lord promotes and demotes people (Ps 75:7)
  36. Puts down princes and exalts the lowly (Lu 1:52)
  37. Makes rich and poor (1 Sam 2: 6-8)
  38. He is involved in the very thinking process of man (Pro 21:1)
  39. He can give and withhold sleep (Esth 6:1)

Over the needs of his people

  1. He cares for his own (1 Pet 5:7)
  2. Gives safety and protects (Ps 4:8; 121:3)
  3. Provides good (Ps 5:12)
  4. Sustains (Ps 63:8)
  5. Supplies needs (Phil 4:19)
  6. All things work together for good for those who love him (Rom 8:28-29)

Over the destinies of the saved and the unsaved

  1. He will bring the believer through this life to glory (Ps 73:24; (Rom 8:31-39)
  2. Even when we fall he will uphold us (cf. Ps 37:23).
  3. Judgment will come to the unbeliever (Ps 11:6; Rev 20:1-15)

From this list we get a glimpse of the extent of His sovereignty and his providence. We see that God is active, purposeful and deliberate. It may at times be difficult to see those purposes of His will in His sovereign actions, but we can be assured that he does noting that does not bring Him glory. His action in creation and in the affairs of men are always right and ultimate declare His person and His perfections.  Nature, itself, declares the eternal power of His Godhead.

  • Romans 1:20 (KJV) 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

-Michael Holtzinger

[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Sovereignty Of God, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 21.

[2] John MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 24-28, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 289.

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