03/19/18 Post: (part 1)
Let’s start with the 03/18 preview question we posted: Who or what is the basis for authority in your life? Every person on this planet has their own basis for authority in their life. For some, it will be that key influencer that they trust. For others, it will be the result of life experiences that motivate them to go in certain directions or believe key advice they have learned, but all have some basis for authority. The foregoing statements are based upon physical life events for most. Few have a solid spiritual basis for authority.
For a believer, God has sovereignty over us, by our permissive will when we had our salvation experience. How much thought have we given to the fact that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are the only basis we have for authority? This is true because our carnal nature will motivate us to do things that disagree with God’s Word and we get ourselves into trouble because we don’t heed what scripture advises us to do. Our sin nature must be subject to the sovereign will of God. The closer we are to following the advice of scripture, the less “sin” problem we will have.
Ryrie, under his “meaning” comment gives us the definition of sovereignty. “The word means principal, chief, supreme. It speaks first of position (God is the chief Being in the universe), then of power (God is supreme in power in the universe). How he exercises that power is revealed in the Scriptures.” If God is not the final authority in your life, you are in deep trouble. If you find yourself constantly swimming upstream, maybe you should think about who has final authority in your life and daily actions. Meditate on these thoughts and see where you need to be!
03/20/18 Post: (part 2)
In our last post, we made this statement: “If you find yourself constantly swimming upstream,…” There are normally two reasons that we find ourselves fighting challenges day in and day out. 1) We are focused on doing our own thing and not doing what God is showing us to do, or 2) We are doing what God wants us to do and the Evil One is trying to sabotage these things we do. This second reason is what is preferable. Why? Let’s continue with Ryrie’s comment and its second part.
The second part of Ryrie’s comment is: “A sovereign could be a dictator (God is not), or a sovereign could abdicate the use of his powers (God has not). Ultimately God is in complete control of all things, though He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural laws which He has ordained.” (Italics mine) We sometimes fail to consider that God may allow something to happen because of what it will produce in the future. We can’t see the future. He can. This is where we must have faith in God as our sovereign authority, that what He allows is that which is needed. We are human and we don’t always like negative things that happen to us. But, we need to rely on the fact (have faith) that God has our best interest in mind and also what is best for the work of the kingdom. We see time as only in the present and at times have a vague idea it sometimes might have a future impact. But God sees all, past, present, and future. This is His job as our sovereign Lord and King. When we get to heaven, He will have answers for all our questions!
“…God is Sovereign. He is the source of all wisdom and truth. He makes no mistakes. Error is not in God’s character.” This quote is found on page 90 of SpiritQuest 2. It states a truth about our Sovereign God. It also raises a question that Ryrie addresses under his comments about “The Problem.” Ryrie says “Man was created with genuine freedom, but the exercise of that freedom in rebellion against God introduced sin into the human race.” If God is sovereign and perfect in all He does, how can this rebellion against Him be allowed?
The full answer to this question would require quoting many passages of scripture. We will try to distill the answer down to some simple statements. 1) God has a plan, 2) He is directing how that plan unfolds, 3) God knew that rebellion and evil would arise when His creation would make bad choices, 4) As the All-Knowing God, He included in His plan a solution for overcoming rebellion and evil.
God’s Word lays out the full disclosure of Man’s bad decisions regarding the advice God gives him on how to overcome the “sin” tendency. Human beings are imperfect and therefore what sinful man concocts can never remove the rebellion and sin stigma. Only Our Sovereign God has the perfect solution to completely remove the sin, evil, and rebellion of humankind. His plan was to send Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice to overcome the human imperfections. The blood of the “sinless one” Jesus solves the problem. By His blood imperfect beings are made new creations and acceptable to the Sovereign Lord of all creation.
In yesterday’s post, we used an abbreviated quoted from page 90 of SpiritQuest 2 and the following is more of that quote: “One, God is Sovereign… His instruction to us is flawless. As God, He never changes the character that makes Him what He is.” We then quoted a comment from Ryrie’s “The Problem.” Further to that comment Ryrie’s last phrase is “Sovereignty must not obliterate free will, and free will must never dilute sovereignty.” This phrase seems convoluted but let’s see if we can unravel a little of his meaning.
If God restricts “free will” then it is no longer free. God is the Sovereign Lord of all creation. As sovereign, He exercises control, but not absolute control otherwise His control would eliminate the exercise of free will. If God were not All-knowing, He would not know when to intervene to guide decisions into the correct channel to accomplish His Will. God does not make any errors. God is perfect in all that He does, so He will not ever override the freewill of His created beings. Only our Sovereign God can act and move in such perfect unison with the plan that He has put into place. Just remember that He cannot interfere with the free-will of man that He created.
One of the problem issues that Ryrie mentions is “…if God is sovereign, how can the creation be so filled with evil?” Many pastors and theologians have tried to explain this seemingly complex and contradictory fact. It really is not that complicated if we look for our answer in God’s Word.
Ryrie has an explanation for this which makes sense and his reasons come out of scripture. The following is what he says: “Satan is called the morning star in Isaiah 14:12. The Latin equivalent is Lucifer, which, on the basis of this passage, became a name for Satan. However, the use of morning star with reference to Satan gives us an indication of the basic character of his plot against God. Since the same title is used in Revelation 22:16 of Christ, we are alerted to the fact that Satan’s plan was to counterfeit the plan of God, and indeed it was and is. How he initiated that plan is detailed in the five “I will” phrases in Isaiah 14:13-14.” Ryrie continues with the five “I will” statements:
- I will ascend to heaven….
- I will raise my throne above the stars of God….
- I will sit on the mount of the assembly in the recesses of the north….
- I will ascend above the heights of the clouds….
- I will make myself like the Most High….
Ryrie continues “Here his counterfeit is crystal clear. Satan wanted to be like, not unlike, God. The name Elyon for God stresses God’s strength and sovereignty (Gen. 14:18). Satan wanted to be as powerful as God. He wanted to exercise the authority and control in this world that rightfully belongs only to God. His sin was a direct challenge to the power and authority of God.” (Quote taken from SpiritQuest 1 page 83 and the excerpt from Ryrie’s Basic Theology, page 144.)
The above tells us that God created this guardian angel called Lucifer who though created in perfection became malignant and rebelled because of his evil desire to become “like God.” This is the starting source for rebellion and evil against God. The Shining One (Lucifer) appears in the Garden of Eden and is the tempter of Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God’s command to them and ate what God told them not to. It is these two events that are the source of all the evil in our world today. But the fulfillment of God’s plan will eliminate any and all evil “under the sun.” Jesus is the key component of God’s plan and He will subdue and eliminate all evil.
As our Sovereign God, He knew what would happen if He gave those (angel or man) he created free will. God worked things out in His fore-knowledge to contain and dispose of free-will decisions made by those He created that were out of His Divine Will. In Blueprint: God’s Law of Disintegration Explained we find this excerpt: “…This work will begin with what God had in mind before he started creation. Had he not done this, his position of being the “I AM” would have become at risk at some point because of decay. Giving his creation a choice introduced a risk. As the All Knowing One, he prepared for that risk. He therefore had to formulate the rules of engagement for the beings, both spiritual and human, that he created. God’s law of Disintegration is what occurs when choices develop that violate the sovereignty of God in His position as the Everlasting Creator and Sustainer of Life. As above I repeat, anyone who steps out of the will of God will step into His process of decay.” (Blueprint page xii)
Throughout God’s Word, we see that rebellion, disobedience, and sin all produce negative reactions from what God has laid out for human beings to follow. The Ten Commandments were the first “words” God gave to the Israelites with the instruction to memorize, obey, and pass on to future generations. Again and again, the children of Abraham went astray. God would punish them and draw them back to Him. But they could not obey and live by what God had given to them.
God knew this would happen. That is why He already had His plan worked out to make a way for sinful man to be reconciled to Himself. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection were part of that plan. He taught the Apostles the right way to live and believe. They were obedient and turned the world upside down by what they taught and how they lived and even by how they died. The Apostles passed on to the churches the plan that Jesus taught them. That plan has been passed on from generation to generation and is still being lived and taught by believers today. Those who refuse this plan will feel the full impact of God’s Law of Disintegration. Remember, God is Sovereign and knows exactly what He is doing. Don’t fall prey to God’s Law of Disintegration!