What Does it Mean that God is Sovereign?


From the late R.C. Sproul. Find the full sermon here.

“If something happens in this world — by the power of men, by the power of nature, by the power of machines — God always has the power and authority to prevent it, at least, from happening. Does He not? And if He does not prevent it from happening, then that means at least this much — that He has chosen to let it happen.

“That doesn’t mean He applauds it. That doesn’t mean that He’s in favor of it, insofar as He gives His divine sanction to it. But He does allow — not in the sense of, again, approving all the time — but He does allow it to happen, and in so allowing, He is making a decision. And He is making it sovereignly. And He knows in advance what’s going to happen, and if He decrees that it shall happen, He is retaining His sovereignty over it.

“Now if things happen in this world outside the sovereignty of God, then that would simply mean that God is not sovereign. And if God is not sovereign, then God is not God. It’s that simple. And if the God you believe in is not a sovereign God, then you really don’t believe in God. You may have a theory of God. You may have theoretical theism, but bottom line, for all practical purposes, it’s no different from atheism, because you’re believing in a god who is not sovereign.

“Now what are the practical implications of a non-sovereign god? Think of it now from the perspective of those of you who are professing Christians. I like to explain it this way: if there’s one maverick molecule in the universe running loose outside of the control of God’s sovereignty, then the practical implications for us as Christians is that we have no guarantee whatsoever that any future promise that God has made to His people will come to pass.”

Lamentations 3:37-38 says, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” We read in 1 John 2:25, “And this is the promise that He made to us — eternal life” through Jesus Christ our Lord, when we understand the text.

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