I have had the honor and the privilege of working with a staff that enjoys to dig into the Word and see God. Sometimes, while we are digging and conversing about what we are reading, we are often baffled because our finite minds have a difficult time grasping the infinite God (Deuteronomy 29:29). One of those things that brings us to our knees is the sovereignty of God. It is something that I take much comfort in, and see clearly on every page of Scripture. You cannot escape the sovereignty of God when you read Scripture, unless you are lying to yourself, or have a pastor teaching you contrary to what the Word says. I know I am usually heavy handed when it comes to the sovereignty of God. I love it. I love to see it. I love to read it. I love to know it. This also means that I have, on occasion, beaten people up with it, and for that I repent.
Not to make excuses, but I come from a liberal church background, where even the virgin birth was suspect and open theism was embraced. I push hard against such heresy, because I know the damage it can do, the sin that it allows to creep in, and the idolatry that is prevalent in places like that, and the Gospel it ignores. But, I take comfort knowing that God is sovereign.
This brings me to the next point. How can I say God is sovereign when there are “churches” that are heretical? This is nothing new. Paul dealt with false teachers proclaiming Christ, and even Jesus told us that false teachers would arise (Matthew 24:24). I fully affirm that God is sovereign, even in this, but that does not mean that God approves of it. This means that there are two definitions of God’s will, and this is clear in the Scriptures as well. There is the sovereign will, which cannot be broken. This is clearly exemplified in Acts 4:27, where God ordained the death of His Son by means of sinful men. God hates sin, but He used it and ordained it to bring about redemption. Those involved in the crucifixion of Christ were, at the same time, breaking a will of God (because it is sinful to kill the Son of God) and fulfilling the will of God (because it was His sovereign purpose to have Christ put to death). And there is God’s will of command which is exemplified in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) which are broken by everyone, every day.
A Christian has to have both understandings of God’s will. He has a sovereign will. He has a will of command. One cannot be broken (because God is never surprised, Daniel 4:35), and one is broken every day (because all fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23). God is not simply that big, He is infinite.
Here is a helpful sermon on this,