Tag Archives: sovereignty

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How Great is Our God?

Over the years I have asked a lot of Christians, “Do  you believe people are basically good or basically bad — 0r perhaps you believe people are a mixture of good and bad?” An amazing number of Bible-believing, Jesus-loving people will say, “I think most people want to do good.” People have the idea that they should “think the best of people,” “give them the benefit of the doubt.” If you think that, the Bible says you are wrong!

The apostle Paul tells us, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” (Romans 7:18) .We could all make that same statement about ourselves and about everyone else. We all need saving! “There is none righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10) It was not that God looked down from heaven and saw in you and me something worth saving. No, God saw us in our utterly depraved state, separated from Him and helpless to improve ourselves. He had created us and we had rebelled against Him, defaming His character and rejecting His goodness, but out of His great love and mercy He sent His Son to die in our place, to take the punishment we deserved, and to restore us to fellowship with Himself.

Here is the problem: if we don’t believe in the depravity of man, we cannot appreciate and understand the majestic sufficiency of the atoning blood of Jesus. We have to see how utterly bad the human race is in order to see the powerful, saving goodness of God. Only as I understand and accept what I was before Christ can I comprehend the magnitude of what He has done for me in Jesus Christ.

Christians should never be surprised (or intimidated) by the evil that is in the world, not because we are cynical but because of the reality of the atonement in our own lives. Jesus Himself, “was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25) Jesus was not cynical, but He was not surprised by iniquity and He certainly was not fearful of it! He believed in the depravity of man, but He also believed that His Father was greater.

Yes, we live in a world full of depraved men and women.  Self-seeking, self-centered, self-indulgent, egotistical, greedy, lying, cheating, stealing, ruthless, vengeful, God-hating . . . we could go on and on with the adjectives describing men without Jesus. And such were some of us before Jesus. (I Corinthians 6:11) But because we have experienced in our own lives the reality of the redemption of Jesus, we do not lose hope. Before Christ I was capable of any evil I see around me. Therefore I know there is no one and nothing too hard for God!

Christians are not allowed to give place to despair. Our God is that big. So while we resist evil with whatever tools God provides, let us also affirm the greatness and deuteronomy-32_3sovereignty of our God. He is in control. He is always good.  And He wins.

 

“I’m Right Here”

HEARTToday marks the second anniversary of my open-heart surgery. I am so grateful to be here! There were complications that arose during the surgery and I almost died. I did not wake up for three days, but sometime during those three days something very significant happened to me. God spoke to me, only three words, but they changed the way I think about Him.

I remember only a little from those three days. I remember hearing familiar voices though I could not get to where they were. I remember being confused and frightened. I didn’t know where I was or what had happened to me, but I knew God. I knew He promised never to leave me or forsake me, but I couldn’t find Him. I cried out to Him, “Where are You?” And immediately He answered me, “I’m right here.” It was the same quiet voice I had heard many times before, entirely loving, utterly void of condemnation. I was confused and troubled but He was not anxious, not surprised, not confused, not concerned. I said, “I thought You’d be different.” I thought because I was upset and confused and frightened, He would at least be concerned about my condition. It’s funny how we equate anxiety with love. But God was not anxious about me. He had me and nothing was out of control. I cannot tell you the peace that gave me.

I had forgotten that God never changes. He is never worried about me. He is never surprised or upset or confused. He is not even concerned because He is God and He already has a plan for everything. He knows the end from the beginning and holds it all in His hands. He cannot be overwhelmed by anything! He is the One fixed center around which all creation turns. He is the One absolute in the midst of universal wavering. His sovereignty is so unquestionable that with three words He quelled my fear and straightened out my perspective.

“I’m right here,” He said. and His Presence made everything alright. The circumstances were the same — I still did not know where I was or what had happened to me — but the reminder of His Presence with me settled my soul.

Today, two years later, I am so very grateful my heart still beats and there is breath in my body.  But I am even more grateful that God is in control and that His love for me is as unchangeable as His sovereign power.

. . . for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, . . . Hebrews 13:5-6 (NAS)