Who is sovereign?

by Matt Slick

In the context of Christianity, sovereignty means that God has the right to exercise supreme and final authority over all things.  This is so because God is all knowing, all powerful, and all present.  There is nothing that is outside of God's knowledge, ability, and presence.  Of course, God cannot sin or stop being God since that would violate His own nature.  But, God can do all things that He desires to do.  This means that He always does what is right.  It also means that He is sovereign over you and over me.  The problem is not comprehending that He is supremely in control.  The problem is how we work that out in our lives and the lives of others when we are faced with great difficulties.

If God is sovereign and in control, then why does He let cancer kill people?  Why is it that there are wars, famine, floods, and fire?  Why do we see children suffer.  Why?  These questions are good ones and different answers can be offered.  But basically it comes down to knowing that we live in a fallen world where the effect of sin is working its way through history.  Like a grenade thrown into a crowd, the effect of sin hits one person with a disease and not another.  Why?  Because that is what happens sometimes.  Yet, by faith we understand that God is in control of all of this.  He has a plan and a purpose for what is happening in the world and for what He permits to happen.  In this, we need to trust Him beyond our ability to understand.  That doesn't necessarily make it easy.  But, it is true.  It means that we Christians walk by faith (Hab. 2:4).

This is crux of the Christian walk through trials:  Faith.  We must trust God in His sovereignty, in His absolute right to rule His creation as He sees fit.  In this, we must humble ourselves and trust Him.  We must prepare our hearts to trust Him.  We must practice trusting Him so that when the time of true testing comes, we will trust Him to carry out His sovereign will.

How do you think the disciples felt watching their Lord Jesus being beaten and crucified?  Do you think they were all smiling through the ordeal with great confidence because they knew the sovereign plan of God?  Hardly.  They fled and they doubted.   It didn't make sense to them to see what was happening to Jesus until AFTER the resurrection of Christ, until AFTER they had seen what God was doing by providing a sacrifice for sins so that we could be saved from the righteous judgment of God.  You see, God has a plan for things and we must trust Him in His sovereignty and we must trust that He will accomplish His divine plan.  Sometimes we get the answers to our questions here in this world and other times we do not.  But, we know that God is in control and that things happen for a reason, even if we simply are bewildered by what happens.

Consider briefly Acts 4:27-28 from the NASB, "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur." Do you see how God was at work even in what seemed to be a horrible event, the death of Christ? Do you see that even though Herod and Pilate, along with others, put Jesus to death, it was in the predestined will of God that it occur?  The point is that even though things sometimes absolutely make no sense until after we see how things work out, God is in control.  We must trust Him beyond our ability to understand.  We must trust that His sovereignty is exercised both wisely and lovingly.

It is easy to say and it is easy to read.  It is not so easy to do.  But, by God's grace all things are possible.





About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.