The Sovereignty of God Glorified in Human Freedom

God is in control. No one can thwart His purposes. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” Whatever happens, happens because He has willed it so.

Amazing, right?

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the ruler over everything that happens, in all its largeness, in all its smallness.

This is glorious. This is wonderful. It is part of what it means that God is God. It is what we mean when we say that God is King over all the earth.

God did not just create things like rocks or trees, which simply exist – because He sustains them – and can do neither right nor wrong. God also created angels and humans, beings to whom He gave the amazing power to do right or to do wrong, to love or to hate, ultimately, the choice whether they would love Him or love themselves. He gave them wills, for the purpose that they should love Him, adore Him, and that He should share His divine life and joy with them, but with the very real possibility that they would rebel, loving and adoring themselves instead, and preferring self-contained death and misery to Him. This is the crowning glory of Creation, the manifestation of the effortless power of God to make beings other than Himself and capable either of loving Him and enjoying participation in His divine life, or hating Him and suffering everlasting death.

The creation of angels and men, beings to whom God gave the power to choose whether they would love Him and share His life or hate Him and die of their self-desired isolation, shows forth the Almighty Power of God. Nor did He simply, at one point in time and space, give these beings wills. Just as He maintains the rock in existence and causes the tree to grow by the active power of His ever-present word which is the expression of His will, so He actively sustains and empowers these creatures. Whatever you do, whether you love God or hate Him, you are doing it with a soul which He actively, continuously creates in love. You are doing it with a mind, with energies, with a body, which God is keeping in existence. The very thoughts you think with which you love God or hate Him, the very feelings you feel with which you love God or hate Him, are sustained and kept in existence by God Himself. You love God or sin against Him with powers actively maintained by His power and actively given to you by Him even in your worst moments. Human beings are free (though never free as God is free, and truly free only when we are baptized into Christ and set free by the Son) because God is sovereign.

This is what it means that God created. This – the very free will of angels and men – glorifies the Omnipotence or Almighty Power and the Sovereignty of God. It would mean little to say that God is sovereign over and perfectly governs the rock and the tree. It would be little praise to His Kingship to say that things which can only ever do what He has willed them to do always work in accordance with His plans and fulfill His purposes. It is very meaningful to say that God is sovereign over and perfect governs beings which are free either to obey Him or to rebel against Him. It is great praise to His Kingship to say that beings which are able to (and often do) defy His will never thwart His plans, but their actions always fulfill His purposes.

Thus, to say that God is sovereign and to say that men are free are but different ways of stating the same truth.

 

Copyright 2018 Raina Nightingale

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