Thursday, September 10, 2009

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD: Part One

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

God, who exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is sovereign and exercises supreme and absolute rule over all creation as a part of and consistent with the essence and attributes of Deity. The biblical teaching is that God is the source of all creation and that all things come from and depend upon God. Sovereignty means that "God is in all and over all".

A Psalm of David. 24:1-9 1.The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein 2. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. 3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4. He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. 7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER EVERYTHING BECAUSE:

GOD CREATED EVERYTHING
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. Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

GOD IS MORALLY RIGHTOUS AND HOLY AND GOOD
God’s sovereignty, His authority over creation, is grounded in God’s essential nature which is moral. God is to be obeyed not simply because He is mighty but because He is righteous Ps. 50:6. God judges His creation on the basis of His profound moral character. He is both the source of all creation and the source of all goodness.

Psa 50:3-7, 14-17 3. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. 4. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. 5. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. 6. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. 7. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. ......14. Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: 15. And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

16: But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17. Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.

GOD IS HIGH OVER ALL AND UNTOUCHED BY EVIL
God’s sovereignty is transcendent, beyond our complete comprehension. Isa. 6:1. God is separate from His creation and works in ways that human beings do not always understand. "Transcendence" is closely related to God’s holiness, His surpassing moral purity and essential otherness.

Isa 6:1-8 1. In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

GO HAS A DEFINITE PLAN FOR THE UNIVERSE CONSISTENT WITH HIS CHARACTER
God’s sovereignty moves toward a particular end, a specific purpose. God’s purpose is to bring His creation - His whole creation - to fulness and completion, to fellowship with Him: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself". The kingdom of God is the end toward which God moves His creation.

2 Cor 5:17-20 17. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Phil 2:5-13 5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

SOVEREIGNTY AND FREEDOM TO CHOOSE
Divine sovereignty does not mean that everything which occurs in the world is God’s will. God has created a world in which freedom is a real possibility. His permissive will provides for human freedom and the laws of nature. This freedom means that sovereignty must always be distinguished from "fate" or "destiny," the belief that everything which occurs in the world has been predetermined, scheduled in advance, by God. That view, carried to extremes, makes human beings pawns or puppets of a mechanical universe in which all choices are made in advance and where freedom is not possible.

Deu 30:19-20 19. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20. That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Josh 24:14-16 14. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

FREEDOM COMES FROM SUBMISSION TO GOD
Yet the gospel suggests that human beings find genuine freedom, not in doing everything they wish, but in submitting themselves to the sovereign will of God, the rule and reign of God in their individual and collective lives. The sovereignty of God involves God’s self-limitation in order that His creation might also choose freedom in Him.

Gal. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Psalms 51:12-13 12. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Isaiah 61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

John 8:31-32 31. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

SOVEREIGNTY AND PROVIDENCE
God guides, sustains, loves, and longs to have fellowship with His creation. He reveals himself as a parent in love and in relationship with humanity His children.

Isa 53:4-6 4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

GOD HAS SHARED OUR WEAKNESSES IN CHRIST
God, in Christ, has chosen to participate in human history to care for human beings in their strengths and their weaknesses.

Rom 8:28-32 28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Phil 2:5-11 5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

GOD HAS SHARED OUR SUFFERINGS AT THE CROSS OF CHRIST
Those who belong to God will not be immune from suffering; they will not be spared the brokenness which life brings to all persons. The sovereign God of the universe chose to identify with His creation in the cross of Christ. There is no greater example of his care for His creation. John 15:20-24 20. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

2 Tim 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

IN CHRIST, THE PEOPLE OF GOD MAY FIND SPIRITUAL RESOURCES TO OVERCOME PAIN SUFFERING AND PERSECUTION

Mat 11:28-29 29. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Rom. 8:35-39 35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Chron. 29:10-13 10. Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 13. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

Eph. 1:3-12 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8. Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9. Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12. That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Agape
Craig and Zelma

No comments: