The sovereignty of God describes His supreme rule and perfect control over all things in Heaven and on Earth.
Does it feel a bit scary accepting that God is in control over all things including the details of your future? Are you ever tempted to place your sense of security in your plans and the works of your hands?
In this post on the attributes of God, we’ll learn more about His sovereignty, why it is essential to the Chrisitan faith, and how we are to rest in His good and perfect plan so we can know peace and joy—even during trials.
What is Sovereignty?
Sovereignty describes the right to exercise supreme and ultimate rule and power. Kings and queens are sometimes referred to as “Sovereigns” as an acknowledgment of their authority and position as rulers.
God is sovereign. He has complete power and ultimate control over all things, past, present, and future—nothing takes place outside His plans and purposes. This truth can be overwhelming and difficult to accept until we remember God’s attributes. He is good, unchanging, faithful, perfect in wisdom and knowledge, and He loves us with an unfailing love!
God’s Sovereignty Displayed in the Bible
In the Bible, we witness God’s supreme control over all that He has made and especially in the lives of those who place their trust in Him.
God is Sovereign over Creation
As the Creator, God is both the ruler and sustainer of creation. He is intimately involved with and aware of all that He has made. Life continues each moment by His will alone.
Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
In the Bible we see how God demonstrated His power and sovereignty over creation—in big and small ways.
- He flooded the whole earth but saved one family and the animals. (Gen 7:23-24)
- He parted the sea. (Ex 14:22)
- He rained bread from Heaven (Ex 16:4)
- He made a donkey talk. (Num 22:28)
- He shut the mouths of hungry lions. (Dan 6:27)
- He caused a fish to swallow a man and spit him out again. (Jon 1:17)
- He calmed the storm with His hand. (Matt 8:27)
- He multiplied a few fish and loaves to feed thousands. Twice. (Matt 14:21)
- He raised the dead. (John 11:43)
In God’s sovereignty and His omniscience (perfect knowledge) of creation, including the tiny sparrows, we are also reminded of His great love for us. If God cares for the smallest most insignificant creatures in the world, how much more will He care for you?
Luke 12: 6-7 (ESV) Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
God is Sovereign in the Lives of Believers
God is all-powerful and perfect in knowledge; He even has full knowledge of our lives before we are born. He truly is unfathomable. All glory to Him!
Psalm 139:16 (ESV) Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
God is intimately aware, involved, and in control of every single aspect of His children’s lives. Because of God’s goodness, we can know that His plans for us are good too—though we don’t always see things His way! What a comfort that is. We can approach each task and day with confidence knowing that God, in His sovereignty, brings all things, including challenges—and even suffering—into our lives for our good and His glory.
Lamentations 3:37-38 (ESV) 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?
Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
What God’s Sovereignty Means for Us
God’s sovereignty is a core truth of the Christian faith. After all, could we really trust or worship a god who wasn’t fully in control? No. As believers, God’s sovereignty has specific (and wonderful!) applications for us.
Because God is sovereign:
- we are to praise Him—He alone is worthy (Is 25:1)
- we can know true peace—He is perfectly in control of His perfect will and nothing can thwart His plans (Job 42:2)
- we can rest from the anxious toiling of our own works and trying to be good enough for God (Eph 2:9)
- we can have victory over sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection (1 Cor 15:56)
- we can have hope that everything will work out for our good and His glory (Rom 8:28)
Isaiah 25:8-9 (ESV) He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”