If You Are A Christian, You Believe In God’s Sovereignty – Here’s Why

Posted: May 30, 2014 in Christian Living, Theology

prayer_0The idea of God’s sovereignty raises many questions for Christians. In fact, one of the central “in-house” debates among Southern Baptist is regarding the extent of God’s sovereignty in the salvation of man. I do not here want to wade into those waters and discuss the merits of both sides; however, I would like to show why I believe all Christians do in fact believe in God’s sovereignty over the world.

There are two specific ways in which Christians, despite their doctrinal proclamations, show their belief in the sovereignty of God. First, you pray for God to do things in your life. You pray that he will take action over some event, whether it be a situation in your life or the conversion of someone. Your prayer indicates that God can do something about your petition. Here the words of J.I. Packer: “The recognition of God’s sovereignty is the basis of your prayers. The prayer of a Christian is not an attempt to force God’s hand, but a humble acknowledgement of helplessness and dependence. When we are on our knees, we know that it is not we who control the world; it is not in our power, therefore, to supply our needs by our own independent efforts. Every good thing that we desire for ourselves and for others must be sought from God, and will come, if it comes at all, as a gift from His hands.” If God does not have the power or authority to act, then why would you even pray?

Second, you give thanks to God for your conversion. True believers thank God for the mercy that has been shown them in Christ. As we look inward, we know we have no right to take any of the credit for our salvation. Our salvation is a gift of God. Here again Packer is helpful.

You give God thanks for your conversion. Now why do you do that? Because you know in your heart that God was entirely responsible for it. You did not save yourself; He saved you. Your thanksgiving is itself an acknowledgment that your conversion was not your own work, but His work. You do not put it down to chance or accident that you came under Christian influence when you did. You do not put it down to chance or accident that you attended a Christian church, that you heard the Christian gospel, that you had Christian friends and, perhaps, a Christian home, that the Bible fell into your hands, that you saw your need of Christ and came to trust Him as your Savior. You do not attribute your repenting and believing to your own wisdom, or prudence, or sound judgment, or good sense. Perhaps, in the days when you were seeking Christ, you labored and strove hard, read and pondered much, but all that outlay of effort did not make your conversion your own work. Your act of faith when you closed with Christ was yours in the sense that it was you who performed it; but that does not mean that you saved yourself. In fact, it never occurs to you to suppose that you saved yourself.

Now for those who those of you who want to also maintain a high view of man’s responsibility and free will (of which I do), there is no reason for you to object to what has been said. Man must labor for his salvation, he must evangelize, and he must be obedient to God’s commands. We labor knowing the outcomes are in the hands of God. So upholding this high view of sovereignty does not rope you into denying man’s responsibility. Embrace both, for they are both true.


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