The Luxury Of Limiting God

Soveregn GodMost professing Christians would affirm, without hesitation, belief in God’s control over every aspect of His creation. Yet various comments I read on social media or hear in church sometimes cause me to question the average believer’s faith in His sovereignty. Certainly, my own struggle with the sin of worry betrays that I have difficulty trusting His ability (or at least His willingness) to manage situations.

For example, we pray for loved ones to come to Christ, but then we devise all sorts of schemes to manipulate them into the Kingdom. We convince ourselves that their salvation depends on our testimony rather than God’s election.

On a bigger scale, we work tirelessly on political campaigns, desperate to reestablish America’s “Christian” heritage…even if it means voting for people outside the evangelical camp. (Donald Trump? Really?) We have convinced ourselves that Scripture gives us a mandate to fight for our religious liberties.

As American Christians approach a time of overt persecution, however, we desperately need to understand that God maintains complete control. We see our culture’s moral disintegration, and quite rightly grieve that sin seems to reign so defiantly. Although grief is indeed an appropriate emotional response, however, that grief must  never degenerate into despair. The same Lord that purified Israel and Judah by means of the Babylonian Captivity has His purposes for His Church through the impending opposition knocking on our door.

More than ever, Christians will need an understanding of God’s sovereignty. Let’s start with me. I can no longer afford the luxury of thinking that human will has the power to restrict His activity or dismantle His plan. Contrary to popular evangelical thinking, the Lord is not a Gentleman. If He does abandon us to our own rebellion against Him, He does so in order to bring about His great plan.

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
    and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” ~~Romans 9:14-26 (ESV)

We all too frequently regard circumstances as the whole story, neglecting the fact that God is orchestrating a much bigger picture. We forget that He not only has an eternal plan to display His glory, but He controls all the moving parts that bring that plan to fruition. Yes, He will judge sin, bringing all His wrath against everything that dares to shake a fist at Him, but even that terrible judgment will  magnify His glory. And He needs  no help from us.

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