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God’s Sovereignty: Its necessity for our good

Why is God in control of His universe? As we read through the Bible, we see that God reveals Himself to people in love (Exod. 34:5–7). He also desires us to love Him because of Who He is. Slowly but surely, from Genesis to Revelation, we find out about a God Who is just but merciful, powerful but gentle. But why is God in control? Why does He have authority? What is the nature of His authority? To answer these questions we must delve into Who God is.

We find out that God is, in fact, three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Each of these persons possess the nature of God. I like a definition of what we call the Trinity from B. B. Warfield:

There is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal persons, the same in essence and nature but distinct in necessary existence. —B. B. Warfield (italics—updated language)

How is God’s rule revealed in the Trinity? A look at God the Father

The best reason for why God is in control of His universe and why He rules over it is found as we study how the Persons of the Godhead relate to one another. In Psalm 2 the Father declares that He will set His King (also called His Son in this passage) over the nations. Jesus, in coming to this earth, claimed to be God’s Son. Notice Christ’s response to the Father’s rule in Matthew 11:25: “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.’ ” 

Here, where Christ is trying to minister to people who are rejecting Him, He rejoices in God’s rule over that rejection. Jesus as God’s Son did His Father’s will. In fact, God shows us that Jesus will always do His Father’s will even into eternity: “Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God [the Father] may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).

Even though there are three Persons in the Trinity, one Person, the Father, is ultimately in charge and does not give up that authority even when there are no challenges to that authority or dangers to His rule. Why is this important? In a day when authority is questioned, maligned, and misused and when people demand autonomy for themselves, we must see that authority’s nature is not just temporary to ensure proper behavior or to maintain status.

Why is God the Father the absolute authority?

God the Father is the absolute authority because He is using His authority to love us. In His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, He knows best how to love us and He is seeking to ensure our care by His rule. John Owen put it this way: “I come now to declare what it is wherein peculiarly and eminently the saints have communion with the Father; and this is LOVE—free, undeserved, and eternal love.” [1] Even Jesus, God’s Son, relates to God this way in John 15:10, where Jesus says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  The revealing of God’s attributes such as His holiness, righteousness, goodness, and truthfulness shows us the kind of authority He is using over His universe. In combining the two ideas, John Piper puts it like this: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Authority, then, is not something necessary because of evil but is essential in relating to God and each other in love. Jesus, God’s Son, related this way to His Father. Notice John 14:31: “But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” This is how we need to relate to the God Who is creator and sovereign of this universe. In love He rules over us, and in love we submit to Him. No one else can provide for us like the Father can, and no one loves us more. This is why He makes covenants and promises, because He uses His authority to love us.

We should view the nature of authority as a responsibility to care for those under the authority’s rule—setting the direction those under the authority need in order to experience the provision sovereignly set up to care for those needs. What is our greatest need?  To know God. Nothing else will satisfy us completely. No wonder, then, that the greatest commandment is to love our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength! Also, it’s no wonder that one of the greatest sins God hates is complaining and murmuring against God’s provision, which exposes hearts of pride and discontent with God’s rule.

A beautiful picture of God’s rule over us is the nature of the authority from marriage in 1 Corinthians 7; the husband has authority over the wife’s body and vise versa. Each spouse has the responsibility over the other’s body—not to take what he or she needs from the spouse but to give what the other spouse needs. What a beautiful picture of God’s rule. Is there anyone else who has made us and knows what we need? Is there anyone else who can provide what we need?

Into eternity God will rule and show His love for us, and we will be provided for as we experience His love. What a great God Who rules over us!

[1] William H. Goold, ed., The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: On Communion with God (Edinburgh: Banner, 1965), p. 19.

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