I started going to church at the age of 17 in a small church in Southeast Missouri. That was a little over 30 years ago. The sad thing is that I spent 26 years of my life “playing” church. I attended, I payed my tithes, I got involved in various ministries, I even read my Bible and prayed fairly consistently. But, God was not sovereign in my life. He was just someone that I acknowledged, but I certainly did not want him to intrude on my life and make demands of me. I was certain I knew how to do what I needed to do to get to heaven.
Understand that I don’t have one of “those” testimonies of how something tragic, or something major happened to me that turned my life around. My turning from my legalistic pharisaical life came about through a conversation with the associate pastor of the church I attended at the time. We were just talking and I mentioned that “God” just didn’t seem to be all that he should be in my life. We were discussing the fact that I felt dead and dry, all the while thinking I was a tried and true Christian, when a word popped into my head. I knew the word, but really had no idea what it meant. But for days, I could not get it out of my head. So, eventually I looked it up to see what it meant. It is a word that doesn’t get a lot of airplay in today’s entertainment oriented church. The word is sovereign and the definition is as follows:
1. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:a. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.b. A national governing council or committee.2. A nation that governs territory outside its borders.3. A gold coin formerly used in Great Britain.
1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.
4.a. Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.b. Unmitigated: sovereign contempt.
Just that quickly, almost everywhere in the Bible that I turned to read, God’s absolute sovereignty jumped off the page. Genesis 1:1, 2 Chronicles 20:6, Psalm 103:19, Proverbs 16:33, Isaiah 43:13, John 3:27, Acts 2:23, Romans 4:17, Ephesians 2:4-5, and the list could go on. These are just 9 places in scripture out of thousands that show that God is sovereign. This realization was transforming in my way of thinking. No longer was God a burden that interrupted my carefully laid plans. Suddenly, my plans began to be conformed to his will. I found myself studying the scriptures and actually wanting to be the new creature that God has revealed to us by his Word.
Am I perfect? Not even close! Am I sinless? Seriously, can you think that that is possible in this life (I have met a few who think they can be and are, but that is another story)? No, my adamic nature is still alive and well and I fight and struggle every day. I inherited that nature from our ancestor, Adam, when he fell into disobedience in the garden. But, by God’s grace and love, Christ’s obedience and death that brought justification, and the Holy Spirits sealing and working of sanctification, my heart is changed. In the past, sin was no big deal. I willfully sinned and felt no remorse for it. How could I, it was my nature and it was all I knew? It’s like a prize pig at the county fair. You wash it, you brush it, make it all clean for the judging, but given the chance, that pig will go roll in the mud. That is the pigs nature. It was the same with me. Ephesians 2:1-10 is so real to me. It is the story of my life:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
I am a new creation, made alive and raised up by God in Christ Jesus. This is my story of stepping out of the darkness of sin into his marvelous light. If you are a Christian, I hope that this encourages you. If you are not a Christian, or think you are, but have no idea what the sovereignty of God means, I hope that this blog will be a witness to who God is for you. If you have questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Jesus Christ has turned my life around, given me peace, assurance and hope (Romans 5:1-5) that is incomparable to anything I ever knew before. And I am convinced that this world will not be able to give me even a tenth of a percent of the joy I will experience in eternity. Again, if you want to know more, send me an email at thom at ratedrforreformed dot com. I’d love nothing more to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you so that you might be established in the faith, or even strengthened in the faith.
May the Lord bless you richly.