Jumping Into the Deep End of Divine Sovereignty

By Brian Chilton

I have never been a great swimmer. Quite honestly, I swim like a rock—I sink to the bottom and do not resurface. My parents signed me up for swimming lessons when I was a kid. The swimming instructor asked all the kids to jump into his arms while treading in the deep end of the pool. One by one, each child jumped into the instructor’s arms. One by one, the instructor would help the child swim to safety out of the deep waters. When it came to my turn, I was unable to accomplish the task. On the one hand, I was afraid of deep water. On the other hand, I had not known the instructor long enough to build trust in him.

Jumping Into the Deep End of Divine Sovereignty

In Christian and religious circles, the term faith is frequently used. But what does faith mean? Biblically speaking, the term faith is used to describe a trust that a person had in another person or being. In the case of one’s faith toward God, it is meant that a person trusts God to do the right thing.

Concerning this conversation, another term is of immense value—the term sovereignty. While Calvinists employ the term more frequently, the sovereignty of God holds tremendous applications for Christians from all walks. The term sovereignty denotes that a person or a being holds supreme and complete control or authority over a group or locale. The Bible relays three areas in which God is sovereign.

  1. God is sovereign over creation.

God is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists. Without God, nothing would exist that exists. The prologue to John’s Gospel notes this well, saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him, not one thing was created that has been created” (John 1:1–3).[1] The New Testament also describes the sustaining power of God as he sustains “all things by his powerful word” (Heb. 1:3).

When a person understands the scope of God’s sovereign power over creation, then worries and anxieties tend to depart. No pandemic is greater than God’s power. No disease, distress, or trouble is beyond the power of God to control. The One who spoke creation into existence still rules from on high.

  1. God is sovereign over history.

            Scripture indicates God’s sovereign power over history. Romans 8:28 holds that God constructs the events of history to work in favor of his children. Paul writes, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). At the command of God, nations rise and fall (Ps. 22:8; Hab. 1:6). If God controls the direction of history, then why are we so fretful over political issues? God is still in control.

  1. God is sovereign over redemption.

As noted earlier, people hold various conclusions concerning election, free will, and salvation. All orthodox Christians should still believe that God is the One who saves and is sovereign over the redemptive process. People cannot save themselves. Rather, salvation is fully a work of God. Paul writes, “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:9–10). If God saved us, then we do not have to worry about obtaining his approval. We already have it.

I am honestly amazed at the amount of hostile and critical posts that Christians have made during the COVID-19 pandemic. While our world has been divided for quite some time, the level of anxiety that is demonstrable in our posts and interactions illustrates the lack of faith that we as modern Christians have in God’s sovereign rule. One day, our soul will be called. When we step into the portal of death, we will have no choice but to trust God’s sovereign power. Do we trust him to catch us? If God were in the deep end of the pool, would we have the faith to trust him to catch us?

Recommended resources related to the topic:

What is God Really Like? A View from the Parables by Dr. Frank Turek (DVD, Mp3, and Mp4)

What is God Like? Look to the Heavens by Dr. Frank Turek (DVD and Mp4

How Philosophy Can Help Your Theology by Richard Howe (DVD Set, Mp3, and Mp4)  

 


Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com, the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast, and the author of the Layman’s Manual on Christian Apologetics. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for nearly 20 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

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