The doctrine of the Sovereignty of God includes His preservation of creation. Grudem writes, “God keeps all created things existing and maintaining the properties with which He created them” (Grudem, p. 316). In Colossians 1:17 we read, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” The writer of Hebrews wrote, “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power…” (Hebrews 1:3). These verses are speaking of the doctrine of Divine Preservation. All things continue in their created order because God sustains the. All things hold together in Christ. He is the One who keeps the law of gravity in check. He holds atoms together. He keeps birds flying in the air and stops the caterpillar from floating off into space. He keeps the earth in its orbit—the exact orbit necessary for life. He is the One who holds the sun in its place and keeps it burning at the right temperature. He holds the moon in its place and keeps the oceans from swallowing up the land. All things consist in Him. And “if He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust” (Job 34:14-15; cf. Psalm 104).
Wonderful Blessings of Sovereignty
We find true freedom when we are willing to accept reality as it is (including God’s rightful and effective sovereignty over all his creation) and when we allow him to make us in to all that he would have us to be. The matter of God’s sovereignty, far from continuing to be an offense to us, can become a wonderful doctrine from which we derive great blessings (Boice, pp. 121-122).
Far from being a truth reserved for the mind, the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty is a truth for the human heart to embrace. Boice suggest at least four blessings of this truth to which I have added.
1.) It deepens our worship and reverence for God
A.W. Pink wrote, “A ‘god’ whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits naught but contempt.”
When we see the awesome power of our God in the doctrine of sovereignty we cannot help but to humbly bow before Him in deep reverence.
2.) It affords us comfort in the midst of sorrow and suffering, trial and temptation.
The Apostle Paul could confidently tell the Romans, that“all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose”(Rom. 8:28).
Joseph told his brothers, “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20).
Even the bad circumstances in our lives are not apart from God’s knowledge and not outside of His control. To the suffering believers of Asia Peter wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have bee grieved by various trials” (1 Peter. 1:6). The terrors and evils deeds of men cannot thwart the plan of Almighty God.
3.) It provides a deep sense of security as we trust in God. He is a God that can be trusted!
“What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
(Rom. 8:31). Scripture is replete with the security that is ours in the Sovereignty of God:
- 2 Cor. 9:8—He is ABLE to make all grace abound (financial blessing)
- Eph. 3:20—He is ABLE to help us grow spiritually
- Phi. 3:21—He is ABLE to save our bodies
- 2 Tim. 1:12—He is ABLE to guard what has been committed to Him
- Heb. 7:25—He is ABLE to save
- Jude 24-25—He is ABLE to keep you from falling
4.) It bolsters our prayer life.
God not only ordains the end, He ordains the means. “God has also ordained that prayer is a very significant means of bringing about results in the world” (Grudem, p. 334). To know that God is sovereign and that He is working all things together according to His will is to powerfully impact our prayer life. The Sovereign God calls on men to pray and thereby acts to work out His plans for the world and eternity. I am able to pray with confidence as I pray in accordance with His revealed will.
5.) Provides encouragement and motivation in evangelism
Through the years men have leveled their attacks against this Biblical doctrine and often the front line of attack goes something like this. “If God is in control even over the will of man then we simply have no reason or basis on which to conduct evangelistic endeavors.” Those who make such statements ignore the fact that some of the greatest evangelists to walk on earth have been fully convinced of God’s absolute sovereignty—The Apostle Paul, Augustine, Edwards, Whitfield, Spurgeon, etc.
To insist that the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty encourages man to be idle in the area of evangelism is pure ignorance of the Scriptures. “[T]o say that we are trusting God instead of acting responsibly is sheer laziness and is a distortion of the doctrine of providence” (Grudem, p. 335, emphasis original).
Rather than being an excuse for neglecting evangelism, the truth of Divine Sovereignty is a motivation to diligence in evangelism. While Paul was in Corinth and was discouraged because of opposition that he was receiving from the Jews, the Lord Himself appeared to Paul in a vision and said, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). What was to motivate Paul to faithful diligence in preaching the gospel? God has appointed a number of people to believe and the means by which they were to be saved was through the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 10:11-17; 1 Cor. 1:18-31). And what did Paul do? “[H]e continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” (Acts 18:11). Even imprisonment was not sufficient to stop the spread of the gospel and Paul understood that his ministry was being used of God to fulfill His eternal plan, “[B]ut the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:9-10).
The doctrine of Divine Sovereignty spurs action on the part of believers.