The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! (Psalm 97:1). Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Ephesians 1:3-4).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30).
“You are not in charge!” she said. My teacher looked so frustrated that tears were beginning to form in her eyes. I had always been a good student, but somewhat hellbent on taking over the class, leading the discussions, etc. After some time not taking direction well, she had lost all patience and had to raise her voice to get my attention. Now, I don’t fault her for it. I readily admit that I really liked to be in charge. In fact, I think that all of us do.
It’s no surprise, then, that the sovereignty of God is a subject of debate among us humans. Sovereignty is the character trait of a sovereign—a Lord or ruler. Sovereigns reign, and rule, and we typically don’t like that. Ever since our first parents rebelled against God, we’ve been doing our best to run our own lives, being masters of our own destinies—or so we think. But when this attitude bumps up against the unchangeable rulership of God almighty, friction happens. But I hope to convince you that God’s sovereignty is a trait which shouldn’t make you rebel, but worship.
God’s sovereignty means that he and he alone rules over the affairs of the world. The book of Psalms is replete with praise for this fact. “God is in heaven and he does whatever pleases him,” the joyful songwriter sings. For him, that was very good news, worthy of writing a song about. “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!” sings another. It is an unspeakable wonder that we not only know that God rules the world, but that we know him. Because we’re in relationship with God through the grace of Jesus Christ, we are relationally connected to the one who holds the universe together and providentially oversees every part of it, from the greatest celestial body to the smallest subatomic particle.
However, God is not only sovereign in nature. His rulership extends into our lives as well. This is especially wonderful, because we are uniquely broken. Ephesians 2 tells us that all of us, apart from a work of grace, are dead in our trespasses and sins. Dead. Not sick, not hurt. Dead. But, God (who has more mercy than we can imagine) has reached down into our dead hearts and made them alive! Our response is repentance and faith, and we are made members of God’s family—adopted sons and daughters of the King of Kings. If God were not sovereign over such matters as our hearts, then we would not, indeed we could not, be saved.
For God’s people, his sovereignty continues to be a fountain of praise. Romans 8 reminds us that nothing can befall God’s children—not even the things which seem horrible—that will not ultimately work for our good and for God’s glory. Why? Follow the verse. God has foreknown us (which is a biblical word which means “loved before all time.”) He set his love on us as the bridge of Christ. And if he’s done that, then he is sovereign enough to carry us all the way through our calling, our growth, and even rising together with Christ in our future glory. In short, the sovereignty of God assures our salvation, our sanctification (growth in holiness), and our glorification, when we will be united with Christ forever.
The choice for our us is simple. Shall we go on insisting that we really run the show, like I did with the teacher, or shall we joyfully run to our sovereign God who rules the universe with unending love and wisdom. For my part, I want to choose worship.