God’s Sovereignty

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It’s probably quite obvious that Nora and I are both insanely passionate about the sovereignty of the Lord – it’s honestly my favorite attribute of who He is. To think, God predestined for His children to choose sin over His Glory in the garden and planned the most beautiful story of redemption through the Cross, it never ever ever gets old.

To define God’s sovereignty, A.W Pink says, “The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of his supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases as He pleases.” God’s sovereignty is necessary for our salvation, but I wanted to discuss why it gets even better through a life’s process of sanctification.

One of my most favorite things to say whether I am praying over someone, reminding myself of the sovereignty of the Lord, or explaining the doctrine of predestination is – “We are never outside of God’s Will.” I feel like those 7 words hold so much weight, so I wanted to unpack them a bit. As sinful human beings, it can be quite intimidating to know someone is ordaining every single one of my actions. I love being in control of what I do, where I go, and who I am — but isn’t that the essence of total depravity anyway? I think the basis of God’s sovereignty has got to begin with salvation; if we don’t believe He’s sovereign and in complete control over our salvation, than why would we believe He controls all other aspects of our lives? So, yes God is indeed sovereign over our sinful little hearts, softening them and opening our eyes to see His Glory. But let’s check that with scripture first; Ephesians 1:5-7 —”He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Pretty clear ;) 

Sooooo every little thing we do, even sin, is predestinated by the God of the Universe? Yes, yes it is. But yes, we have responsibility over our choices. The Lord graciously provides us with wisdom — “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:6-7. As Christ followers, there is this constant tension of knowing God is sovereign over our choices, but also being wise. It’s dang hard. The first thing to agree on is that God is in control of our wills, desires, and motives. John Piper coined the term “Christian Hedonism” (I have my own thoughts about that term, but it fits for this argument). Essentially, Piper’s argument is we will make a god out of what we take most pleasure in. So, God transforms our hearts, and places specific desires in our hearts. Obviously, the main one is His Glory above all. Say I have two choices in front me, UGA or Harvard — the one I pick is the one God has given me the greatest desire for. I am not in control of my desires, God is. Our choices come back to that each and every time. So, we are redeemed, still tainted by sin though. In understanding this, we recognize that sometimes our desires will be very sinful — acknowledging whose in control, we go to the Lord in prayer, understanding the depth of our sin, and beg Him to replace that sinful desire with holiness. Accountability, prayer, scripture, and the local church are such necessary remedies for such desires. 

I know you remember me saying that I believe God ordains our sin — so confusing, I know, but so.dang.good!! God plays no part in sin and hates sin — but he does ordain sin for such greater good. Hear me out. Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Joseph literally spoke this doctrine clear as day alllll the way back Genesis. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him, God wanted to save a ton of people. So, God ordained their sin, knowing the sinful desires of their heart — but ultimately their sin would bring about Joseph saving a ton of people and becoming the ruler over Egypt. I bet his brothers never had that intent when they were trying to kill him. 

 Sit in this truth, wrestle with it, and cling to it. 

 “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation — the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands — the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne . . . It is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon the throne whom we trust.”

—- Charles Spurgeon



For more on this subject, check out the book, What About Free Will: Reconciling Our Choices with God’s Sovereignty.


Resting in God’s Love

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Without God’s love we have no breath in our lungs.

Without God’s love we have no ground to stand on.

Without God’s love we have no joy in our hearts.

God is love. Without him we have nothing, gain nothing, are nothing.

God’s love is satisfaction, joy, peace and goodness. What He sent His perfect son to do on the cross was for no other reason than that he loved each and every one of his children so deeply, so intensely, so perfectly that he would do whatever it took to reconcile them to Himself. For our good, and HIS glory. Romans 8:28 — “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Is it just me or is it hard to balance the understanding of our sin, yet the reality of God’s love for us in spite of it? It is much easier to be hyper aware of my sin, fighting it with every fiber of my being, than to walk in the reality of His love for me. I forget to give God the glory that the battle against sin has already been won -- and praise Him all the more for it.

Christian, I plead with you to rest. Do not hear me say to stop fighting, hear me say to REST in the love God bestows upon his children. When He looks at you, He sees HIS work through Jesus on the cross, not your filthy sinful heart. He sees the you He created for His glory and the you He will spend eternity being worshipped by.

So, how do we walk in both?

Acknowledge your wretched state before Christs work, weep over it, mourn your sin. James 4:9 — “Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.” Then acknowledge the state the cross puts us in. Romans 8:1 — “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

For the regenerate Christ-follower the two go hand in hand, and by His daily grace to us we find the balance in seeking him daily, hourly, minute by minute. The gracious, loving God of heaven and earth did not send his son to die on the cross for us to mope around wallowing in our sin. His love sets us free, His love is our new identity. Find the balance and get comfortable there. Fight your sin always, yet trust with your whole heart that God is a God of love.

I leave you with this sweet verse of to rest in, Psalm 90:14 — “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” His love is satisfying, His love is joy, His love is a gracious gift to all who confess and believe that Christ Jesus is Lord. If you are in Christ, your Heavenly Father has credited all of Christ’s righteousness upon you — He loves you. The Creator of the Universe chose you and loves you.

-Nora

“If you have true faith that Christ is your Savior, then at once you have a gracious God, for faith leads you in and opens up God’s heart and will, that you should see pure grace and overflowing love. This is it to behold God in faith that you should look upon his fatherly, friendly heart, in which there is no anger nor ungraciousness. He who sees God as angry does not see him rightly but looks only on a curtain as if a dark cloud had been drawn across his face.”

— Martin Luther

Words. 

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According to Language Log, the average person speaks 13,500 words. 13,500. 13,500. Let’s really break this down – the average day is roughly 15 hours, that means you are speaking 900 words per hour. You really have an impact on people. I am not trying to say that to build you up and make you feel all good inside, I am saying that to show you that the words you speak really do matter. 

 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

 Proverbs 15:1 – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

 James 1:26 – “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” 

 Proverbs 15:4 – “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” 

 Proverbs 16:24 – “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

 Matthew 15:11 – “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

 Proverbs 18:4 – “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”

 Colossians 4:6 – “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” 

 Proverbs 18:21 – “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

 1 Peter 3:10 – “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”

 Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

 Proverbs 10:19 – “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”

 Psalm 141:3 – ‘Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

 This doesn’t even come to close to the amount of times scripture mentions the power of the tongue 

The first words that come out of your mouth in the morning are directed toward your husband, wife, children or roommates. Every single morning – those are the people that hear you talk to them every day. You talk to the cashier at the grocery store. You thank the man that made your coffee this morning at Starbucks. You are short and maybe even rude to the waitress that isn’t waiting on your table the way you expect her to. You are in a bad mood when you get home from work and choose to walk past your roommates without saying a word to them, or even worse, you’re harsh with them. Your child throws there 36thtemper tantrum today, and so yelling is how you choose to handle the situation. The list could go on you – you have dozens up dozens of interactions per day. Some of these interactions may be with the same people, while others are with people you may never see again. Either way, they are impacted by the words that you speak. It’s insane to me how careless we are with our words. In one moment, I tell my roommates how much I appreciate them, and literally 10 minutes later, I am speaking quite rudely to them because there are dishes in the sink.  

 The claim you make as a Christ follower is evident in the words you speak. John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Scripture is pretty cut and dry – if you make the claim that you love the Lord, and Jesus died on the cross for your sins, those 13 Bible verses above will really resonate with your soul. Your desire with the stranger you pass on the sidewalk, your husband, or your roommate will be to speak words of encouragement because that is what glorifies the Lord. If this is not your desire, because on most days it probably won’t be because of how prone to selfishness we are – beg the Lord for the desire to glorify Him in your speech. Don’t believe the lie that it’s just ‘a’ word. You speak 13,500 a day. Words matter. People are affected by them. 

 The very next word that comes out of your mouth will either glorify the Lord or not, lead you to sin or not, encourage whose listening or not, or share the gospel or not. I challenge you to mediate on those Bible verses above, ask the Holy Spirit to convict you and give you a gentle spirit. Be really careful with your words this week. You are an image bearer of the Creator of the universe. He has given you standards for speech. 

— Sam

For more on this topic, go watch Paul David Tripps sermon ‘War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake’