I had a good friend respond to my last post via email and I wanted to address some of things he brought up. In that post I clearly petitioned for the sovereignty of God, because I believe He is completely sovereign. But this friend asked me about the response of man to sovereignty. To sum up what he questioned: “If God is sovereign why is there a need for fervent prayer? What is man’s role in sovereignty? And if God is sovereign, why would He put evil men in office who destroy our nation? Could it just be that He is letting us reap the results of our being complacent?” WOW! Tall order, huh?! (Treading where angels fear to tread, anyone?)
The Sovereignty of God and My Free-Will
It is obvious in my last post and the post to follow this one that I emphatically believe that God is God and that He is sovereign but this friend asks great questions. Who doesn’t want to know the answer to them or in fact hasn’t had these questions arise themselves? If you are alive and aware of your heart, how could you not at some point have these questions? Man has been asking them since the beginning of time.
My answer, to ALL of it, is yes. God is sovereign, nothing happens apart from Him. Man has free-will to let his world go to rack and ruin through malicious willfulness or complacent neglect. I am required to pray for Godly leaders and vote my conscience. And when His choice of my leaders are elected, I am called to pray for them to have wisdom so all will go well for me. This is the great paradox, one you will have to embrace in its entirety. I can’t do it with one fist. I can’t hold free-will as a single entity. Nor can I relegate myself to God’s sovereignty; I have a choice. So again, my answer is yes to all.
Either or Sovereignty or Free-Will
Western Christianity typically wants our scales to tip to a single side but God is not limited to a single aspect of our reality. Why? Why is this the case? Because He is God. My only true struggle is about His Lordship. Is He God or am I? The answer to my friend’s question is God is God! If my complacency has earned me the result of an evil leader, God is God. If my prayer for godly leaders is to no avail, God is God.
The paradox is that there are two seeming contradictory realities and He is still Lord. God installed both Obama and Trump and has used them both for His purpose. God is God! If we have a blue wave or a red wave or no wave at all, God is God and sovereign. It will never make sense while I demand a satisfactory answer for why. Here is the truth from Martha: “You can’t figure it out, you can only believe it. Sovereignty is a scriptural fact!” Faith is the only way you can please God, even in dealing with sovereignty and free-will.
Scripture: Effects of Sovereignty and Free-Will
Here then is my charge: First, supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings should be made on behalf of all men: for kings and rulers in positions of responsibility, so that our common life may be lived in peace and quiet, with a proper sense of God and of our responsibility to Him for what we do with our lives.
1 Timothy 2:2 Philips
Obey every man-made authority for the Lord’s sake—whether it is the emperor, as the supreme ruler, or the governors whom he has appointed to punish evil-doers and reward those who do good service. It is the will of God that you may thus silence the ill-informed criticisms of the foolish. As free men you should never use your freedom as an excuse for doing something that is wrong, for you are at all times the servants of God. You should have respect for everyone, you should love our brotherhood, fear God and honour the emperor.
1 Peter 2:13-17 Philips
My child, respect the Lord and the king. Don’t join those people who refuse to obey them.
Proverb 24:21 NCV
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.
Romans 13:1 HCSB
In my next post I will give you a key in how to accept sovereignty.