God’s Sovereignty Over His Souls – Pt.1

May 14th 2024

God’s Sovereignty Over His Souls – Pt.1

“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” – Matthew 20:15

In my last blog, I discussed and established God’s Sovereignty Over Death. This time, I would like to focus on God’s sovereignty and the salvation of His souls for the Christian community. As a biblical counselor, I have often been asked about whether or not a loved one was in heaven, especially when the waters are murky. My response(s) has been to help comfort and offer hope through the passages of (Ezek 18:4, Gen 18:25, and Rom 10:9-10). The truth is, only God knows and sees the heart, and only God knows His own. What becomes more relevant in discussions is helping believers comprehend the sovereignty of God. When believers are able to grasp the sovereignty of God in every aspect of their lives, it brings hope to those who are suffering, going through trials, or experiencing the weight of a potentially unsaved loved one. Believers who struggle with understanding or seeing God’s sovereign hand in every aspect of their life will struggle to have hope and may fall prey to victimhood.

Every one of us, in some capacity of our intimate world, has a loved one who is not saved. For true believers, this is a weight that we can all feel. Just as the Apostle Paul experienced when he stated, in Rom 9:2-3, “the great sorrow and unceasing grief” he felt in his heart, to such a degree, that he wished he could give up his own salvation for the salvation of his kinsmen, the Jews, to whom he was tirelessly preaching the Gospel. How many of us have felt the pain of a loved one reject the gospel, turn to the world, turn to another religion, or just plain love their sin too much to give it up no matter how much knowledge and exposure they have been given? Paul’s pain is our pain, yet even Jesus felt sadness and pain, as He wept over Jerusalem due to their utter rejection of Him and what was coming their way, as described in Matt 23:37 and Luke 19:41-42.

So there are two questions I’d like to address to believers:

1) Why do believers avoid addressing and applying God’s sovereignty to their own lives?

2) How does a believer rest in their heart knowing a loved one may not be chosen by God?

To answer these questions, we must first lay some basic foundational points that address Who, When & Why to illuminate the width and depth of God’s sovereignty.

God the Creator—(Who)

As believers, we know that God is the Creator, and we are His created creatures. So, this is not meant to be a duhmoment, but rather, to emphasize the very basic foundation that God is the Supreme Being, and that absolutely nothing exists, nothing is permitted, nothing is carried out, and nothing is completed outside of Him and His spoken word. All too often we can lose sight that He is the Creator, and we are His creatures. Grasping and applying this basic foundation begins the journey for each of us in understanding the enormity of His sovereignty. Let’s look at the Westminster Confession of Faith, section 2.2, and its definition of who God, the Creator, is.

“God hath all life, (John 5:26) glory, (Acts 7:2) goodness, (Ps 119:68) blessedness, (1 Tim 6:15Rom 9:5) in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He hath made, (Acts 17:24–25) nor deriving any glory from them, (Job 22:2–3) but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things (Rom 11:36) and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleaseth (Rev 4:111 Tim 6:15Dan 4:2535). In His sight all things are open and manifest (Heb 4:13), His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature (Rom 11:33–34Ps 147:5), so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain (Acts 15:18Ezek 11:5). He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands (Ps 145:17Rom 7:12). To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them (Rev 5:12–14).”

Throughout scripture God is affirmed as the Creator of everything, beginning with the first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1…“In the beginning, God…”, to John 1:1–3 where the Apostle John affirms the Creator, the second person of the Trinity, Jesus, to numerous other scriptures such as Neh 9:6, Isa 45:7, 46:9­–11, 66:2, Col 1:16, Rev 4:11. But, perhaps the most profound affirmation of God being the Creator is found in Job, chapters 38–42 when God speaks directly to Job affirming Himself by asking him “Where were you?”, “Where were you?”, “Where were you?” Job, a righteous man, believing that he “knew” God, was so utterly humbled and crushed beneath the weight of God’s eternal power and greatness, that all he could do was repent and admit that God is sovereign. In verse 5 of Chapter 42, Job states, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” What does he mean that now his eyes see God? I believe that Job now sees God through the lens of a deeper knowledge of the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise God. But most importantly, he sees that God, above all, is in control of it all, even down to the most minute detail. The God he had heard of his whole life, and that he now sees, is far greater than he could have ever imagined. Like many of us, I’m sure Job had heard a lot about God growing up, whether it was through family, traditions, laws, or stories. But the reality is that none of us comes to truly “know” God, unless He has given us the faith to open our eyes to truly “see” Him. He removes the blinders and gives us the sneak preview (this side of Heaven) to see His power, His greatness, His majesty, His sovereignty, and His sheer all-sufficient independence as the Creator, just as He did for Job.

The Souls He Has Created

To add to the magnificence of who our Creator is, as described above, I believe it is equally important to touch briefly on how God is intimately involved with His creation, and specifically human beings as found in Gen 2:7, Ps 100:3, 139:13, Isa 42:5, Acts 17:26–28, especially since the topic of this blog is about the souls He creates. The most wonderful expression of His intimacy is found in Psalm 139, specifically verses 13–16, which says, “For you formed my inward parts…in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Notice the last sentence of this verse, as David accentuates God’s divine sovereignty in the life and death of every soul created.

Lastly, to bring this section all together, in Ezekiel 18:4, God clearly states to the prophet that all souls are His. God determines the who, what, when, where, and why of every soul created. He decided our parents, and He decided our gender. He decided the day of our birth and the day of our death (Job 14:5. He decided the why, or the purpose, of every soul created. Look again at Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:15. Every creature He created (including the devil) had no say so as to their existence. When you stop and soak this in, it is extremely humbling. You can almost feel how Job felt after God was done with him.

Challenge Questions

Do you have a clear understanding of who God really is?

Have you ever lost sight as to who God really is?

If so, who or to whom did you replace Him with? Why?

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Author: Dawn Thomas