What does the phrase “God is sovereign” really mean?

Chip Ingram, Walk Thru the Bible

If you were to look up the word “sovereign” in the dictionary, you would find words and phrases like “superior,” “greatest,” “supreme in power and authority,” “ruler,” and “independent of all others” in its definition. But the way I like to explain God’s sovereignty best is simply to say, “God is in control.”

There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. As King of kings and Lord of lords, God has no limitations. Consider just a few of the claims the Bible makes about God:

  • God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is immortal, and He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him (Revelation 21:6).
  • God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16).
  • God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Romans 11:33).
  • God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
  • God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. Even Satan himself has to ask God’s permission before he can act (Psalm 103:19).
  • That’s what being sovereign means. It means being the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. Only God can make those claims; therefore, it’s God’s sovereignty that makes Him superior to all other gods and makes Him, and Him alone, worthy of worship.

    Just as peasants always bowed before their king for fear of offending the one who had the authority to take their life, God’s sovereignty compels us to bow before Him. But unlike corrupt earthly kings who abuse their authority to terrorize their subjects, God rules in love. He loves you and wants the best for you.

    Romans 8:28 promises that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

    That’s an amazing promise not only because it demonstrates that an all-powerful God cares about you and me, but because it cannot be fulfilled unless the One Who gives it is all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, and all-loving. The promise itself is a testimony to God’s sovereignty.

    But God makes that promise, and millions throughout history have testified to its truth because God has proven His ability to back it up time and time again.

    Think about the implications of that promise. Because God is sovereign and He loves you, nothing will ever come into your life that He does not either decree or allow. Consequently, no matter what you face in life, you can take comfort in the fact that God is sovereign.


    Answer taken from Why do You Worship God? written and used by Chip Ingram (c) 2004. Click here to read the entire article. 

     

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