Friday, June 25, 2010

An Abuse of the Sovereignty of God

By S. Michael Durham

Could it be that you rely upon the sovereignty of God in a way that God did not intend? Let’s take prayer for example. Do you pray thinking, “Why am I doing this? God’s will will be done.” Have you prayed and asked yourself the question, “What if this is not God’s will?” and then cease to pray? We all have done so.

Or have you felt uncomfortable when you realized you were not fulfilling your responsibility to share your faith, but then felt relieved because you believed that no sinner’s conversion was dependent upon your fulfilling your responsibility? Your hope was that in the end God’s sovereignty would ensure the elect’s salvation.

These are two examples of a misuse of the beautiful truth that God is sovereign. Jonathan Edwards said, “The sovereignty of God is His absolute, independent right of disposing of all creatures according to His own pleasure.” God’s sovereignty means He has authority to rule over all of His creation and the power to do so; thus, He controls all things according to His wisdom. If this is not true, then nothing is true or sure. Unless the Lord God sovereignly rules then all is helter-skelter. Romans 8:28 couldn’t be true and none of us could be sure that we have been delivered from sin by the blood of the Savior. It is necessary that one be in control who can do all things as He sees best. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone can pillow his head at night and not believe that God is sovereign.

But such confidence in God does not give license to disobey God. It seems throughout the centuries that there have been men who perverted this aspect of God to cover for their laziness or slothfulness. To say that men will be saved regardless of our efforts is absolutely absurd! It is overtly unbiblical. To use this blessed truth to excuse prayerlessness cannot be considered anything other than sinful.

God has ordained that men will only be saved through the preaching of His gospel and through the prayers of His redeemed (Romans 10:14-15). This is the absolute rule of the sovereignty of God. And any man who would use sovereignty to cancel out this divine rule is completely illogical. It is the law of the Divine Ruler of all creation.

Whatever God has decreed to come to pass, He has also decreed the means by which it is to come to pass. Isn’t it an amazing thing that we who are called “God’s fellow-workers” would think there is nothing for us to do in the economy of God, and that without us, the work would still be done? Does it not cross your mind that He may have sovereignly chosen you to ask for certain things according to His will? Have you considered that God has decreed you to bear forth His Son’s glory and that if you do not, you have violated the sovereign purpose of God?

One may argue that our failure to obey was decreed. Decreed because it was God’s desire for you to disobey? Nothing could be more absurd! Simply because God in His infinite wisdom allows sin does not in any way make our Holy God desire sin. What good are His commands to be holy, if He desires something contrary? Is He guilty of double talk? Again, preposterous! Leave to God how He works out the intricacies of these difficulties. And let us do what we are commanded to do, refusing to hide behind our good God’s sovereignty in order to shirk our duty.

HT: Real Truth Matters Blog