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Pointers along the way #698

Blown up sovereignty

- Jacob Ninan

When someone says God is completely in control of everything and everything that comes to us is from the hands of God, it appears to magnify God as supreme. As can be understood from itself, it is wrong! If we think about the practical implications we can see how this distorts the true nature of God. It would imply God not only does good things, but He is also responsible for all the evil in the world! In seeking to magnify God's infinite power and sovereignty, it ends up caricaturing Him as a partly evil person whom we can't adore but only live in fear of, wondering what He will do next!

We mustn't forget the limited sovereignty (free will) God has given us in His sovereignty! It is this sovereignty Adam and Eve misused in disobeying God and submitting to Satan. It is this people use to do evil to one another, and everyone suffers. If we abdicate our sovereignty thinking that God will do everything according to His will, we can even blame Him for our sins! We need not lift even our finger to do things rightly if we believe anyway it is God's will that will get done. We need not preach the Gospel to our children (or others) if we think they will anyway get saved if God has sovereignly elected them! But truly, God works in us, therefore let us work out (Php.2:12,13). He has given us everything, so let us 'add' (2Pe.1:3,5).

Why do Christians get this kind of understanding? I would say that one major reason is a misunderstanding of the inspiration of God. They take each sentence in the Bible as the word of God without considering that it is written in man's language with its finiteness of expression. As a result, God's truth has to be gleaned from all over the Bible. If we do this we will find that truths in many verses are balanced by other truths in other parts of the Bible. So when we come across verses that tell us about the absolute sovereignty of God we need to see them side by side with truths about the freedom of choice that God has created us with.

An absolutely sovereign God who is responsible for everything that happens, including evil of the worst kind, ceases to have any attraction for man. Isn't it the love of God that prompted Him to give His Son to die for us that draws us to Him? If we were to think that this God may send the worst kind of sicknesses or accidents our way tomorrow because of some inscrutable part of His nature, would we fall before Him and adore Him? If any calamity comes our way should we simply submit to it as a gift from our Father?

I know that a cold reading of some verses can give such ideas. That's why I am emphasising the need to look at all the truths in the Bible together as different dimensions of God. Our worldview must include not only God but also demons and people of all kinds. Our understanding of inspiration must also include the part man had as the joint author. In our zeal to exalt God and His works let us not insult Him by ignoring some parts of His truth.


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