The Sovereignty of God, a Troubling Doctrine.
A Nation With a Wealth of Bibles
So Few Actually Read the Word.
American homes are filled with beautiful editions of the Bible and all too often they remain in their original pristine condition, due to the lack of any constant use. It is all too easy with today's technology to use your phone, tablet or laptop for convenience sake and we have removed the need for hymnals and bibles in church services by the use of the overhead displays. The lack of hymnals has removed a great deal of harmony from our congregations, not only the music but the spirit of the music. We are left with rhythm and melody alone while the harmony, a spiritually binding feature of music, is abandoned. As for the lack of the use of an individual's bible in our Christian assemblies, we are missing the relationship of the Scriptures to one another. An overhead displays only a set number of verses but the people do not see the relationship of the words of adjacent verses or pages and the marginal notes, either printed or penned by hand. I dislike digital watches for they only display a single solitary moment in time whereas a analog watch displays the time and its relationship to the entire day. I love my printed Bible and I relish the passage's relationships to one another; it helps define context and stirs my aging memory to an ocean of other passages. My wonderful rabbit trails stirs my spirit into a deeper union with my God.
What does all of this have to do with our understanding of the sovereignty of God? Being that we are very emotional creatures, we need every tool at our disposal to balance out our emotions with some Spock-like logic. We, as Christians have a tendency to live and act by what another person in which we have strong confidence writes, preaches or teaches. The Bible commends those who search out the Scriptures to prove the validity of another's teaching, using the written Word as the final authority. Having the written Word at hand helps us not to take Scripture out of context and as 2 Peter 1:20 states "...no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.", to keep everything in perspective. That which I write and teach is open to reproof and correction, when another rightly uses the Word in its entirety as their basis. We must have a teachable spirit about us; sadly I find this lacking in many believers and the social media has become a haven for the un-teachable.
Danger: putting your faith and trust in another: shelving the one weapon in your arsenal that will keep the Devil and spiritual sloth at bay.
It is His Way or Your Way, Your Choice.
Which Percentile Are You?
Honor God, Honor the Weak
His Ways and Purpose are not Ours.
It is interesting when God directly confronted Job, the Lord did not even attempt to explain the foregoing suffering and pain but went to the absolute crux of the matter. God demonstrated that He alone is sovereign in all matters of life and death through a series of rhetorical questions, such as: were you there when I created all things?; who are you to explain my workings in the affairs of man and beast?; and are you able to instruct and reprove God? Job, a righteous man, responded in pure humility when he uttered "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." A great problem with the Western believer is that we seem to have the less than humble response to the questions posed to Job.
- Carnal man must believe in evolution for he knows no one was present and since there is no God, he desires a scientific explanation. The carnal Christian tries to wed evolution and creation into a theistic evolution. In reality the only thing missing is the leading letter "a".
- Notice how Mother Nature has worked its way into a Christian's vocabulary, as if nature operated under its own laws apart from God. To the carnal man, it is the survival of the fittest which we see quite dramatically in business, sports and in the entertainment industry. Look at the mega-churches; they compete with one another by offering more perks for the for those who attend, such as Starbucks, incredible social opportunities and being more user friendly. Didn't you know that bigger is better.
- It is the carnal man, one who rarely gives any meaningful consideration to death, taking solace in that if there is a hell, they will not be without friends and they will shake their fists in the face of a so-called god. It is here that the carnal Christian troubles me most.
I can understand why many Christians are confused about creation and a nature that is suffering from the effects of man's sins. The Devil owns the school systems and has been working overtime with propaganda contrary to Bible doctrine for the single purpose of weakening the testimony of believers. The question; which came first, the chicken or the egg is simple to answer if you believe God but difficult if one is not sure about creation. The enemy knows this and when they choose to debate or should I say argue against a salvation message, they like to use questions that could possibly cause someone who is witnessing for Christ to stumble. Once I was in this very circumstance and my only response was, "once I was blind, but now I see." After nearly 48 years, I pray I am more solidly prepared to lovingly give an answer to the Hope that lives within me.
Nebuchadnezzar, The Head of Gold
You Must Choose Whom You Shall Believe.
First things first: if we believe the Bible we have today, in whatever version, IS the inspired Word of God, the Truth, the final authority for how we shall live in the present and for what awaits us in the future: why, oh why do we live as unbelievers? For those who do NOT believe, little of what follows will make sense but you might find it interesting.
When Nebuchadnezzar, the proud and arrogant heathen king, the golden head of Babylon was brought low, very low by God but saw his sanity returned to him by this same God; made one of the most profound acknowledgements of God in all of Scripture.
Daniel 4:35 "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest thou?"
Remember this was said by the most powerful sovereign, a god on earth, who completely understood how much power he wielded over his subjects. He was brought to a place where he had to acknowledge that he was hopeless before the Almighty God and knew that our God alone is worthy of all glory and praise. No one can alter His course nor question His doings. I have heard many times over the years, Christians who plan to question God when they come into His presence, as if they have a right to know. It will be a very difficult task to accomplish when we all are on our faces with a true fear of our Lord of Lords and King of Kings, totally overwhelmed in His presence.
It Is Written
Hath God Not Said?
His Word, not mine:
- Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent.
- Isaiah 55:11 "So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
- Psalm 119:89 "Forever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in heaven."
- Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
- Matthew 4:4 "...It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
- Hebrews 12:2a "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith:..."
Life is Made Up of Choices.
Is Your God Sovereign or Not?
A few simple questions to ask yourself to see if the God you think you worship is truly sovereign or if you belong to the "God is sovereign, but...." crowd.
- Do you believe that God is able to save anyone He chooses at any time?
- Do you believe that God is able to keep one's salvation secure, though at times one may act unfaithfully?
- Do you believe that God is able to present you faultless before the presence of the Father with great joy?
- Do you believe your salvation was a work of God alone and you,being found without faith, by His grace imparted His faith to you, that you should believe in Him?
- Do you believe that God's work of salvation was complete in you and that your works are a testimony of your belief, not a requirement to keep your salvation?
- Do you believe that the Word of God is foolishness to those who are lost and that if one should lose their salvation, the Word would again become foolishness?
- Do you believe that the Word of God is the final authority for how we should live this side of heaven?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, you resemble a doubting Thomas and the joy of your salvation is darkened by an unsure belief in the faithfulness of a sovereign God.
I believe in a perfectly sovereign god who chose me before foundation of the world and has promised that my name in the Lamb's Book of Life is un-erasable. I was one without faith who in due season was made to address my severe sin problem and my need of a Savior. I received the gift of faith from God and was born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of God. I was drawn to Jesus by the Father (John 6:44) and my Lord promised to raise me up on the last day. I am kept secure, not by my strength but by the faithfulness of God alone.
It is difficult at times to muster up the understanding needed to meet with the trials of this life but this I do know, I will have no questions for my God for I shall see Him as He is. Believing in an absolutely sovereign God is a source of great joy and peace and that is a testimony that the world cannot deny or ignore.