The sovereignty of God refers to the fact that God is in complete control of the universe. A belief in God’s sovereignty is distinct from fatalism, which denies human free will. Humans are able to make genuine choices that have real consequences. God does not directly cause everything to happen, yet He does allow all that happens to happen. And, ultimately, God’s will is going to be accomplished. At first blush these statements may seem unimportant to one’s daily life and better suited for an esoteric theological discussion. However, the sovereignty of God is quite practical and has a significant impact on our daily lives.
The sovereignty of God impacts everyday life in that it removes all cause for worry. We can trust that what the Bible claims about God’s character is backed up by His ability. Not only does God love us, but He has the ability to care for us. Those who are part of the family of God can claim the promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We can rest in the fact that our God is actually able to work all things for our good, even when we cannot readily see how that may happen.
The sovereignty of God impacts everyday life in that we can trust God’s sanctifying work in us. Many times Christians feel that maturing in the faith is completely up to them, as if God saves us and then expects us to do the rest. Christians do play a role in their own maturity. We are certainly called to obedience, and what we do matters. However, in recognizing that God is sovereign, we also trust Him to bring us to maturity (see Galatians 3:3 and Philippians 1:6). Looking to Romans 8 again, we read, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:29–34). Our salvation has been God’s sovereign plan from eternity past. Rather than focus on our own performance, we can rest in the character of God and focus instead on actually getting to know Him.
The sovereignty of God also affects how we make decisions. We recognize that God is in control, so we need not be paralyzed by decision-making. If we make the wrong decision, all is not lost. We can trust in God’s faithfulness and His ability to set us back on the right course. On a related note, we can and should make decisions. God’s sovereign control does not mean that we sit idly by and allow life to happen. It means that we can go bravely into life, trusting that our loving Father sees the larger picture and is faithfully working everything for His glory.
That God is sovereign impacts our sense of identity. When we understand how powerful God is and how much He loves us, we can know we are secure in Him. As the objects of God’s sovereign love, we allow God to define us and give us our worth rather than look to the changing ideals of the world to do so. When we understand that God is in complete control, we are freed to live our lives. We need not fear ultimate failure or final destruction (Romans 8:1). We need not fear worthlessness. We can be confident that God will have His way and that it will be good. We can trust that the One who says He loves us is fully able to act on that love in all ways. We can trust that, even when the world seems completely out of control, God is in control. We know He has the big picture covered, so we can trust Him with our daily details.