How should we think about God’s control?

Many people feel that life is a matter of good luck and bad luck. “Que Sera, Sera” — “whatever will be, will be?”

  • Are we really victims of a fate without purpose or design?
  • Or, is there a God who is the ultimate and final power controlling all things?

According to Christian Scripture, God is the supreme being of the universe. God is the only sovereign authority.

The God we encounter in the Bible does whatever he chooses; whenever and wherever he chooses, and He involves whomsoever he wishes in what He does. 

  • “The Lord works out everything for His own ends, even the wicked for a day of disaster” (Proverbs 16:33; Ephesians 1:11).

The sovereignty of God answers the question, “Who or What is in control?”

How does God description describe His sovereignty?

“… I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done. Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure’; … Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isaiah 46:8-11).

Every history book could have the preface of God’s word from II Kings 19:25: “Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass …”

According to Scripture, God “does according to his will in the host of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off his hand or say to him, What has Thou done?”  (Daniel 4:35).

The God revealed in the Bible is repeatedly recognized as absolutely sovereign over everything. The Psalmist, for example, declared that “the Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in their depths” (Psalms 135:6).

How extensive is God’s sovereignty?

 According to Jesus, if the birds are fed, it is the Father who feeds them; if the flowers grow, it is because God grows them. Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29).

God’ sovereignty is also exercised over man’s salvation. Our choice to receive Christ is preceded by God’s choice of us for His salvation — a choice that does not include everyone. Scripture specifically says, “All who were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).  The apostle wrote, “… God has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires” (Romans 9:18).

How do you respond to God’s sovereignty?

It should be encouraging to know that God has a plan that will conquer what appears to some to be the chaos of human history. It should cause us to worship our great God.

Although some feel that a sovereign God is too threatening and humbling, the alternatives are rather discouraging. How could one resist a sense of fatalism or despair if he concludes that there is no God, or that God does not care, or worse, that God stands helpless on the sidelines?  

But others complain, “If God has control over everything that happens — is he not a cosmic puppeteer pulling our strings when he wants us to dance?” The important thing to understand is that this not the way the Bible describes God’s control. Although it involves a degree of mystery on our finite side, Scripture does not present God’s sovereign control in a way that diminishes human responsibility.

A great summary

“At no point whatsoever does the remarkable emphasis on the absoluteness of God’s sovereignty mitigate the responsibility of human beings who, like everything else in the universe, fall under God’s sway. We tend to use one to diminish the other; we tend to emphasize one at the expense of the other. But responsible reading of the Scripture prohibits such reductionism.” (D. A. Carson). 

Human responsibility:

Here’s what is interesting. Like God’s sovereignty, the responsibility of human beings extends to the details of life.  Jesus said that, “every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).  

According to Scripture, our decisions constitute real causes that produce real effects — for which we will be authentically held accountable.

The wise teacher wrote, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Steve Cornell 

This entry was posted in Discouragement, Evil in the world, God's Patience, God's control, God's Protection, God's Will, Sovereignty. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How should we think about God’s control?

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