Reflections on Sovereignty and Grace of God
We begin by reminding ourselves the Lord God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, visible and invisible. All that we see and experience, including ourselves, thus rightly belong to Him. He is sovereign over everything and has the right to work out His original and ultimate purpose in all that He created and at the right time (Ephesians 1:4-11).
God’s Sovereignty Over History and Nations
God is sovereign over history. God can and does use evil nations to punish His covenant people. He has the right. He is sovereign over them in judgment as well as in mercy.
He used Assyria and then Babylon to punish Judah, calling them His servants. He can dispose of them both in judgment as well as mercy (Isaiah 5:26).
“The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I purposed, so it will stand” Isaiah 14:24 “This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him?” Isaiah 14:26-27
While God is Holy and will not tolerate wilful sinning, it is assuring and comforting to be reminded that God meant us good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). But He would use discipline to bring us in line with His purpose (Proverbs 19:21). At the potter’s house He will continue working on His masterpiece. “O House of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” Jeremiah 18:5-6 I have the right, the Lord said.
He was not satisfied with His covenant people who did not met his own standards. He chose to destroy them and begin again.
God’s Sovereignty and Grace In Election
In Exodus 19:4, God says “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and carried you on eagles’ wings to myself”. God chose Israel over others as His people and punished those who sought them harm. It is His Right. Romans 9:10-25 further elaborates His choice. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” Romans 9:15.
“I will call them my people who are not my people and I will call her my loved one who is not my loved one”. We an alienated illegitimate children will belong to God! It is Mercy, all so rich and free!
“Nothing makes clearer the ultimacy of grace than the doctrine of election” – Don Carson.
Indeed tension between God’s Sovereignty and Man’s responsibility is not to be despised nor rejected, but seized with gratitude. It will preserve us from denying the reality of evil and from imaging that evil could ultimately triumph (Isaiah 10:15, also Acts 2:23, 4:27-28).
God’s Sovereignty and Our Responsibility
While God is Sovereign, we are still responsible. We have been given the moral bearings, His Law and Commandments and His Holy Spirit enablement to live in line with them. We sometimes do not understand, we need not understand God’s dealings and ways. Still we trust and obey.
God in Sovereignty is withholding His Hand in order to allow room for His plans of free will to work itself out.
Justice will finally prevail when the curtain falls on the present stage when the Lord Himself will judge all evil (thinkers and doers), and when they one day will bow to Him (Philippians 2:10-11; Revelation 19:11-21).
By Dr Leong Chee Lu (YCKC Bulletin 31 October & 1 November 2015)