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Bible verses about Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Chronicles 29:10-16

This is part of King David's final prayer of thanksgiving, a portion of his benediction preceding the building of the Temple, as he had made provision for it so that Solomon could begin construction with everything in order.

The words should be meaningful, coming to us from the heart of one we admire, of whom even God said was a man after His own heart. It schools us in how David felt about God. It touches on His greatness, power, glory, majesty, rulership, headship, and strength. How puny we are by comparison! We are nothing, aliens and pilgrims in a world that gives us no recognition. Compared to His, our days are but a shadow, and despite this, we are able to make an offering to Him because He has given us all we have.

Who is this One to whom we pray, calling Him "Father," "Lord," or "God"? Who is this One whom we refer to as our Creator, Healer, Savior, or Sustainer? Who is the One who is referred to as the Almighty Ruler, Life-giver, and Forgiver of our sins?

He is the sovereign Ruler of all that He has created. The term "sovereignty" first speaks of supremacy of authority, but with the exception of personal evil, God reveals Himself in His Word as supreme in every aspect of life. He is the Most High. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth; none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will. Thus, Psalm 115:3 asserts, "But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases."

Can we accept this? Is this merely a listing of grandiose titles of One who is great in His being but distant and remote in the actual operations of our lives? Do we relate to Him merely as most people in this world do, or is His greatness truly personal to us, as it was to David, because we know Him personally?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 

Isaiah 55:1-3

Notice Isaiah 55's symbolic terminology: thirst, waters, eat, wine, milk, bread, satisfy, listen diligently, incline your ear and come to Me, and hear and live. Within the context, all of these things imply eating spiritually.

Jesus states in John 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." Jesus is the living Word of God. He adds in John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."

Thus, the symbolic connection is made between Isaiah 55:1-3 and "eating" of Christ. Sacrificing our lives to do this, through God's grace, leads to our making an everlasting one, to which the phrase "the sure mercies of David" alludes. The original recipients of this prophecy had already made the Old Covenant with God, but as Hebrews 8 proves, the Old Covenant was not an everlasting covenant. Thus, the covenant promised in Isaiah 55 was a future one. He is alluding to the New Covenant made with us, bringing the church directly into this context.

Understand that, even though we have made the New Covenant with God, it is not a completely "done deal" until we are in His Kingdom. This is a stern warning: Completing the agreement depends on whether we, by faith, allow Him to be sovereign over our lives.

God has greatly increased our opportunity to enter His Kingdom over what He gave to those under the Old Covenant through the gifts that He provides when we make the New Covenant with Him. These include the forgiveness of sins to justify us, access to Him in prayer, forgiveness of sin after justification, and the great gifts of His Holy Spirit—that is, His continuous grace and enabling to overcome. All are given to help us come to know Him better and be prepared.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Two)


 

Lamentations 2:1-9

Jeremiah is the likely author of Lamentations, writing after reflecting on the devastation of Jerusalem following the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian army. A number of prophets, Jeremiah being the most obvious, had thoroughly warned the Jews for many years. God even raised up a righteous king, Josiah, to provide godly governmental and religious leadership, but it was to no avail because the people were not truly repentant and sincere in any changes they made. The changes were only on the surface, not reaching their hearts, so idolatry—especially—continued to rage unabated.

The chapter continues with more of the same, leaving no doubt at all that God was directly responsible for His reaction to their sins. Jerusalem's devastation did not merely happen randomly in the course of history. God was directly involved. He brought on the horrific fear and pain. It was His warnings through the prophets that were ignored because they did not fear the Lord and did not truly believe that they were answerable to Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 

Zephaniah 2:1-3

Some in the church of God today teach that just because a person is part of a certain group, he will escape this wrath. However, the mention of fleeing implies a generality rather than a promise given as an absolute certainty. According to traditions retained from history, all of the apostles except for John suffered violent deaths from persecution.

Are we more deserving of safety than they were? Paul writes in Romans 14:12, "So then, each of us shall give account of himself to God." Revelation 2:23 confirms individual judgment during Christ's evaluation of the Thyatira church, without a doubt part of His church: "I will kill her children with death, and all the church shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works."

We must not allow ourselves to think presumptuously that we deserve to be hidden. God is the Master, and we are slaves bought at a price with Christ's blood. He is the Master Potter, forming and shaping us into the character image of Jesus Christ. If He determines that we need the shaping that Tribulation will bring, then He will not hesitate to set that path before us. If He believes we need to glorify Him before men, He will do the same.

Notice also Daniel 11:32: "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." Not only does this show that Christians will undergo intense persecution, but it also shows that they will be doing things to glorify God during that period of testing. God specifically chooses those who know Him to carry out these exploits before men.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty, Part Three: The Fruits


 

2 Timothy 2:10-13

The apostle gives this warning directly to God's children. Despite how we may personally relate to Him in how we live, God cannot deny what He truly is. We may be highly variable in our attitude and conduct because we are lackadaisical and tolerate human nature having its way. We may yield to this world's influence on us and backslide into the same careless way of life that dominated us before God called us into His church (Ephesians 2:3). Yet, our God and Savior is constant and faithful to what He is. His character and purpose never change. God loves, and because He does, He also judges. Does not Proverbs 13:24 instruct, "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly?" Our Savior will not overlook this need in us.

Sometimes His discipline can be very stressful (Hebrews 12:11), but that is the cost of following Him where He leads. He will act as He truly is regardless of what we personally think or fail to think or whether we allow Him to be closely or only marginally involved in how we live our lives.

This world's nominal Christianity has so wrongly overemphasized God's grace that it makes salvation assured if we will only accept Jesus Christ. However, it does so without equally teaching that we must meet the responsibilities that God also clearly reveals. We must faithfully walk to the Promised Land. To keep our part of the New Covenant, we must live His way of life to be prepared to live in the Promised Land.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 

Titus 1:12-16

The Apostle Paul mentions the Cretans, but then quickly shifts his focus to “Jewish fables.” Of what is he accusing these people? Of a practice that follows the Israelites throughout their history: believing that God indeed exists but showing by their conduct that they do not truly believe Him. He charges them with exposing in their behavior that they do not believe that they are truly, personally answerable to the sovereign God. In other words, they do not fear Him. The reality of what God truly is and requires has not affected them enough to make a difference in how they live their lives in actual day-to-day practice.

Since we live within this environment, it brings up a question for us to resolve: How can we live by faith if we do not have sufficient knowledge of the greatness, the closeness, and the awesome grace of God shown in the mercy He has already given? It is this mercy that allows us to begin even the barest of a relationship with Him, build on it, and come to know Him and fear Him.

A recent Barna poll revealed that over 80% of Americans believe God exists, but that belief has little influence on their conduct. Just about anything goes in this nation anymore. The great immorality of the American people reveals that they are not very concerned about being answerable to Him. Considering what has happened in Israel's history, should we not be concerned about what this might lead to in the near future?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 

Hebrews 3:15-18

In regard to faith, we must understand what the Bible means by its frequent admonitions to "hear." Paul writes in Hebrews 3:15, "Today, if you will hear His voice." He is not pressing us to hear the sound of His voice, but to understand what God wants us to learn through what Paul, the preacher, is expounding in his epistle. Paul is urging us to take the time now to "get" it, to "see" or "grasp" what God is teaching.

Hebrews 3:17-18; 4:2 will help us reach a conclusion about what God intends regarding hearing. Whether a person physically hears the actual voice of God Himself is of little importance. Whether "hearing" in our personal reading or "hearing" the preaching of a minister, what is critical is that we obey the godly instruction, because unless we actually obey, we have not yet truly heard. If a person continues to sin, he has not really heard, in the biblical sense, what God has taught.

Put in another way, if a person continues to sin because God's Word does not motivate him to obedience to what He teaches, then he, in a worst-case scenario, either does not believe God or at this point his belief is so weak that he cannot bring himself to trust Him. Such are the ones who died in the wilderness. The weakness is not that people do not believe that He exists, but that they do not trust what He says because, in reality, they do not know Him. Thus, in the biblical sense, they have not yet truly heard.

In Hebrews 4:2, Paul uses the Greek word pistis for the first time in his letter. He will use it 31 more times. Pistis is translated either as "faith" or as "faithfulness." I believe that "faithfulness" is better here because that is what the Israelites lacked. Faithfulness is trusting God in continuous fashion as shown by conduct. God has given us a great deal, but it is our responsibility to hold firmly to His instructions by living them. Living them engrains them into our characters as habits, and this is good. Through habitual use, they become so entrenched in our behavior that we do not even have to call them to mind.

The unbelief that Paul is speaking of here is that our weak trust results in weak Christian living because we do not know and "see" God with the clarity that we should have. It can be rectified, but that is not always easy and at times may seem costly.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Two)


 

Revelation 4:8-11

The One who receives continuous praise and submission from these awesome angelic beings is our Savior and Creator. Without directly saying it, this passage touches on a major issue in this great purpose He is working out: that, unlike Satan and His demons, will we be loyal, faithful, to our Creator God, as He works out and governs His purpose for each of us personally? Or in our impatience will we resist and rebel?

Verse 11 contains the key statement that is vital to our living by faith: He created all things in the first place and all—including us—is created for His purpose to be fulfilled. The King James Version translates this phrase, "For You have created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created."

Satan could not accept this. Consider deeply what has resulted! So we need to take this sobering thought down to our level and to our time and examine it in more detail against the issues of our own lives.

Can we live by faith that He is, that He knows what He is doing with our lives, and that by His merciful act He has included us as part of His good pleasure? Can we accept that He knows exactly where His creative efforts are headed and what it will take to form and shape us into what He pleases? At the same time, we know His goal for us only vaguely, yet we must fully accept whatever He brings to bear on us for His purposes.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 

 




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