The Sovereignty Of God
Ephesians 1:1-6 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Paul was Called and Chosen. He did not choose God. He fought against him.
Struck down on the Road to Damascus on his way to kill Christians.
Did You Choose God? No, God chose you, if indeed you are in Christ…
There is Great Peace in knowing God has chosen you, not because of your good deeds, but because of his Love for you and his Mercy towards you. You did not earn his favor any more than Paul did by his murderous rage and rebellion; yet God has mercy on him. In fact Paul says that because he was the “chief of sinners”
1 Timothy 1:12-17 “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
What then, are we free to receive God?
What does it say:
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
What about sin? If God is in control, why is there sin in the world?
God is indeed sovereign, but in his sovereignty, he allows us freedom to resist his will and to sin. It is not what he desires, but what in his sovereign power he allows.
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
We are his ambassadors of peace.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; medication behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
But what of those who refuse?
Even Judas had an opportunity to repent. While Jesus got down on his knees and washed Judas’ feet, even then he made an appeal for his repentance:
John 13:11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.”
Yet He gives faith to whom he chooses.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Is God unjust to give faith to some and not to others? Does God decide on a whim? No!
In our effort to make God friendly towards us, we forget that he is the sovereign judge of human souls and he knows what is in man’s heart.
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
God revealed his judgment of the Pharisees in their judgment of Jesus!
Those who rejected saw JESUS and Refused HIM… they saw the face of God and wanted no part of him. For Jesus said, “he who has seen me has seen the Father,” and “I and the Father are One.”
But He has mercy towards all who want Him and are broken!
He knows if there is a longing for righteousness and for love, where there is compassion or hate… what’s more he knows if there are wounds or circumstance that drive one to sin and rebellion. The abused child, the loss of a spouse, the victim of rape or war or disease or disaster.
To one on the cross next to him, he gave grace, but to the other who despised him, he went to hell in his own hatred. To the prostitute he has mercy, but to the religious in their pride he sent empty away.
Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’’ And he said, ‘‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’’ And he said to him, ‘‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’’
One saw an innocent man being killed for a crime he didn’t deserve, but saw his own guilt; the other mocked his suffering and had no compassion on the innocent…
Which one are you? If you have not received Jesus, will you continue to hold off?