Just yesterday, we had the pleasure of having Rob Reimer, President of Steinbach Bible College, come and speak to us about the Sovereignty of God. It was a wonderful presentation and one that brought up a whole set of questions for the community. One such question was, “So what? How does acknowledging God’s sovereignty affect my life today, tomorrow, and beyond?” There were some great suggestions given during our discussion time and from those suggestions, I have found myself further reflecting. What follows is part of that further reflection.
In the most simple terms, we might say that if God is truly Sovereign, then we must live under his rule or else live a life in opposition to the true ruler of the universe. But some fair questions we might ask at this point are: “what IS God’s rule?” “What does it look like?” And “what does it look like to “live under” that rule?”
While there may be numerous biblical ways to describe God’s rule, we might say that God’s rule is most effectively and definitively displayed in the New Testament as Jesus hangs on a cross.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-19, the Apostle Paul says that “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” God’s rule, his power and authority, according to Paul, is seen in the cross. In a world where power and authority are established and sustained through military, economic, and political prowess, God’s power, as displayed in Jesus, is seen in His suffering love. God rule’s through weakness and this is the radical nature of God’s rule. Of course this weakness was displayed throughout the Gospels and not just in the moment of the cross. All throughout Jesus’ ministry, he displayed his rule through the weakness of welcoming the rejected and socially outcast; he displayed his rule through obeying no other rule than the love of God and so often clashed with the rules of the political and religious rulers of the time; he displayed his rule through calling and journeying with faulty, frail, and incompetent men and women as he lived out his ministry.
So, if the above words reflect the “what” of God’s rule (what is it? and what does it look like?) then I think we begin to see the picture of what it looks like to live under that rule. As a community, are we welcoming the rejected and socially outcast? Are we obeying the rule of God’s love, even in the face of pressures from the political and religious authorities of our time? Are we practicing the patience of calling and journeying with faulty, frail, and incompetent men and women in the work of God’s ministry in the world?
If we truly believe that God is sovereign, then we do well to not confuse the sovereignty of God with the sovereigns of our world. For, as Jesus has shown us, our God reigns in weakness and rules in being rejected. May we see God’s sovereignty at work in every place we find ourselves and may we choose to submit to that rule in every day by doing simple and common acts; acts like welcoming others different from us, standing up to those who are knowingly hurting others, and patiently spending time encouraging each other and drawing out the potential and beauty in everyone even when we, as fickle people, are incredibly frustrating to live with.