“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” -1 Chronicles 29:11-12
Human nature is very independent. It naturally appears to your mind that you alone determine the whole course of your life. From a young adult, or thereabouts, you decide for yourself what to eat, how to dress, when to sleep, who you spend time with, what you say, what you think; so, much of your life appears to be in your own control. You probably put it this way: “I am the captain of my own ship, the master of my own fate.”
But is this really true? Or is it just your illusion? Are there forces around you which you do not and cannot control? Is cancer or disease a personal choice? Did you choose to be born blind or to be an American, African-American, Hispanic, or Asian-American? Did you really choose these things and create yourself with your own imprinted and unique personality?
There are many honest questions raised in an introspective, inquisitive, observant mind. Life can be a real enigma. You could just roll with the punches and not think much about it, or you can think, meditate, and wrestle with objective and complex questions about who you are, why you are here, what real purpose you serve, and what is the true makeup and result of all of this that you call your life.
The Bible, for example, reveals to you what your mind does not and cannot conceive on its own. What it says does not conform to what your own mind imagines apart from the input of supernatural revelation. Consequently, you can reject out of hand what the Bible does say, or you can receive its claims, the truth about what really is, from the mouth of the One who caused all these things to be. Of course, it is your faith which is the reason you accept His words as true – a faith which also happens to be a gift to you from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
This all leads to the question of whether you are the sovereign determiner of your life or whether God is sovereign. It cannot be that you are sovereign in some things and God in others, which only really means neither is sovereign. The sovereignty of God is the pillar of truth which lies at the center of all being, all knowledge, all reality.
October 31 and November 1 are All Hallows’ Eve (whence the word “Halloween”) and Reformation Day respectively. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, launching a reformation of the Christian Church that would reverberate throughout the ages. The touchstone of this entire reformation is the sovereignty of God. Soli Deo Gloria is the foundational “sola” of all the “solas” – that is, “sola scriptura,” by Scripture alone, “sola fidei,” by faith alone, “sola gratia,” by grace alone, “solo Christus,” through Christ alone, and “soli Deo Gloria,” all glory to God alone. Soli Deo Gloria is the clarion call of God’s sovereignty. To say God is sovereign is simply to say God is God.
The sovereignty of God with all of its manifestations causes many questions to rise in believers’ minds. Furthermore, if that is so, it completely throws unbelievers for a loop. Satan has a field day raising problems in saints’ minds concerning God as all-sovereign. Peace only settles in your mind as you focus on the nature of God and on His attributes drawn from Scripture and believe.
You appreciate God’s sovereignty even more when you look closely at yourself through the microscope of faith and not the filter of your own inclinations. Even when convicted of sin, your tendency is to make better of yourself than you really are apart from God’s grace and mercy.
Questions will arise constantly about God’s true sovereignty, especially in a world where sin, evil, and Satan are realities (the problem of pain, for example). These questions will not be completely answered until you stand with Christ in glory and see no longer “through a glass darkly.” Until then, your faith alone trusts in a truly sovereign God!
Your mind will not figure it all out, but neither will such faith be unreasonable. Faith and reason abide together in majestic and eternal harmony. The sovereignty of God is compatible with the reason of all that is. As the Scripture and reason say, “Let God be God (true), and every man a liar.”
“Whate’er my God ordains is right; His holy will abideth. I will be still whate’er He doth and follow where He guideth. He is my God, though dark my road. He holds me that I shall not fall, and so to Him I leave it all.”
(First verse of Samuel Rodigast’s hymn, “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right,” 1675)
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