The Attributes of God: The Supremacy of God

supremacyTHE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
A.W. Pink

THE SUPREMACY OF GOD

In one of his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son; nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. We too, though having no standing among the religious leaders of this degenerate age, prefer the same charge against the majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teaching of others. The most dishonoring and degrading conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even among those professing to be Christians, the God of the Scriptures is quite unknown.

Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, Thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself. (Ps. 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against an apostate Christendom. Men imagine that the Most High is moved by sentiment, rather than actuated by principle. They suppose that His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s “free will” and reduce him to a “machine.” They lower the all efficacious Atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere “remedy,” which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to; and they enervate the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an “offer” of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.

The “god” of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The “god” who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible Conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form “gods” out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a “god” out of their own carnal mind. In reality, they are but atheists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely supreme God, and no God at all. A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.

The supremacy of the true and living God might well be argued from the infinite distance which separates the mightiest creatures from the almighty Creator. He is the Potter, they are but the clay in His hands to be molded into vessels of honor, or to be dashed into pieces (Ps. 2-9) as He pleases. Were all the denizens of heaven and all the inhabitants of the earth to combine in revolt against Him, it would occasion Him no uneasiness, and would have less effect upon His eternal and unassailable Throne than has the spray of Mediterranean’s waves upon the towering rocks of Gibraltar. So puerile and powerless is the creature to affect the Most High, Scripture itself tells us that when the Gentile heads unite with apostate Israel to defy Jehovah and His Christ, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Ps. 2:4).

The absolute and universal supremacy of God is plainly and positively affirmed in many scriptures. “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory and the majesty: for all in the heaven and all in the earth is Thine; Thine is the Kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as Head above all. . . .And Thou reignest over all” (1 Chron. 29:11, 12)—note reignest now, not “will do so in the Millennium.” “O Lord God of our fathers, art not Thou, God in heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none (not even the Devil himself) is able to withstand Thee?” (2 Chron. 20:6). Before Him presidents and popes, kings and emperors, are less than grasshoppers.

“But He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13). Ah, my reader, the God of Scripture is no make-believe monarch, no mere imaginary sovereign, but King of kings, and Lord of lords. “I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought of Thine can be hindered” (Job 42:3, margin), or, as another translator, “no purpose of Thine can be frustrated.” All that He has designed He does. All that He has decreed, He performs. “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115.3); and why has He? Because “there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord” (Prov 21:30).

God’s supremacy over the works of His hands is vividly depicted in Scripture. Inanimate matter, irrational creatures, all perform their Maker’s bidding. At His pleasure the Red Sea divided and its waters stood up as walls (Ex. 14); and the earth opened her mouth, and guilty rebels went down alive into the pit (Num. 14). When He so ordered, the sun stood still (Josh. 10); and on another occasion went backward ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz (Isa. 38:8). To exemplify His supremacy, He made ravens carry food to Elijah (1 Kings 17), iron to swim on top of the waters (2 Kings 6:5), lions to be tame when Daniel was cast into their den, fire to burn not when the three Hebrews were flung into its flames. Thus “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psa. 135:6).

God’s supremacy is also demonstrated in His perfect rule over the wills of men. Let the reader ponder carefully Ex. 34:24. Three times in the year all the males of Israel were required to leave their homes and go up to Jerusalem. They lived in the midst of hostile people, who hated them for having appropriated their lands. What, then, was to hinder the Canaanites from seizing their opportunity, and, during the absence of the men, slaying the women and children and taking possession of their farms? If the hand of the Almighty was not upon the wills even of wicked men, how could He make this promise beforehand, that none should so much as “desire” their lands? Ah, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov. 21:1).

But, it may be objected, do we not read again and again in Scripture how that men defied God, resisted His will, broke His commandments, disregarded His warnings, and turned a deaf ear to all His exhortations? Certainly we do. And does this nullify all that we have said above? If it does, then the Bible plainly contradicts itself. But that cannot be. What the objector refers to is simply the wickedness of man against the external word of God, whereas what we have mentioned above is what God has purposed in Himself. The rule of conduct He has given us to walk by, is perfectly fulfilled by none of us; His own eternal “counsels” are accomplished to their minutest details.

The absolute and universal supremacy of God is affirmed with equal plainness and positiveness in the New Testament. There we are told that God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11)—the Greek for “worketh” means to work effectually. For this reason we read, “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). Men may boast that they are free agents, with a will of their own, and are at liberty to do as they please, but Scripture says to those who boast “we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell…Ye ought to say, If the Lord will” (Jas. 4:13,15)!

Here then is a sure resting-place for the heart. Our lives are neither the product of blind fate nor the result of capricious chance, but every detail of them was ordained from all eternity. and is now ordered by the living and reigning God. Not a hair of our heads can be touched without His permission. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9). What assurance, what strength, what comfort should this give the real Christian! “My times are in Thy hand” (Ps. 31:15). Then let me “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

______________________
*TheologyGirl-ReformedWomen, Editor-Publisher Copyright: Selections from God’s Attributes & Devotions From The Heart ©1984-2017

Advertisements

The "Why" Question and the Providence of God

The “Why?” Question and the Providence of God
~ ~ ~
The “question” exposition bears a repost since its first posting in 2008. Tolle Lege…
As creatures, especially as women ministering to our children, we are well-familiar with the “why” question. Whether a question of life, death, illness, personal events in our lives or the details of history and life in our world as we know it, we have questions and those questions need answers. This is especially so when it comes to the questions of God’s providence in His universe and His “working all things for good” in the life of His people.  As women ministering to women, we are constantly responding to those questions as it relates to their personal lives in the every day events of work, home, family, personal history and gifts in the church. Often there is bewilderment marked by unhappiness and a resolve of discouragement because their “why” questions are not answered for them due to their lack of understanding of God’s providence in working in and through them for His glory and their good. They do not understand God’s sovereignty and providence from His Word and doctrine and thus have no comfort and peace about their lives. Their biggest question is “who’s in control” and when their theology is incorrect or they have no knowledge of what God’s Word says about His providential control of His world, they are tossed about and do not have that peace that passes understanding.  God is our “peace” and “gives peace” and that “peace” includes “all things” and when we know Him as He declares Himself in Scripture, His peace is ours and the foundation of the “why” question is answered.  No, we may not know what tomorrow will bring and God’s eternal purpose in His providence specifically for us but we are at peace in our hearts and minds that our God loves us with an everlasting love and that He has designed and ordained the “whatsoever” for us and that knowledge gives us “peace” with God now and forever. The Bible is filled with this wonderful doctrine and thus we must answer those “why” questions with God’s Word, study His providence, sovereignty and attributes and then we will experience peace and rest for our souls and be able to apply it in a practical way to daily life.

One of the most important books to read is Loraine Boettner’s “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” which is an easy read and will open your eyes and understanding. To whet your appetite, here is a snippet:*_TheologyGirl

“Throughout the Bible the laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attributed to God’s providential control. All things, both in heaven and earth, from the seraphim down to the tiny atom, are ordered by His never-failing providence. So intimate is His relationship with the whole creation that a careless reader might be led toward pantheistic conclusions. Yet individual personalities and second causes are fully recognized,—not as independent of God, but as having their proper place in His plan. And alongside of this doctrine of His Immanence the Scripture writers also present the kindred doctrine of His Transcendence, in which God is distinctly set forth as entirely separate from and above the whole creation.

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature. “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point. God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He was only in one place, and had but one object of attention.” And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do. The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.”1414 Systematic Theology, II, pp. 583, 585.

It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others are left to perish in unbelief. And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight.” Only the Scripture doctrine of the fall and redemption will give us any light on what we see about us.” __Loraine Boettner**

“A man’s goings are established of Jehovah,” Psalm 37:23

______________________
*TheologyGirl-ReformedWomen, Editor-Publisher Copyright: Heavenly Notes & Devotions From The Heart ©1984-2017
** “The Providence of God,” Chapter V, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, pp. 35,36 

Law And Jesus

TheologyGirl Spiritual Selections
“Law and Jesus”
April 24 , 2017

What a beautiful description and thoughts that raise us up from the depth of discouragement to the heights of glory that our God, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law for us, in our place so that we are forgiven, free and born anew to a glorious life of victory in Christ now and forevermore.  He is with us, in us, leading and directing us, hearing us, controlling all events regarding us both now and forevermore.  We are His focus, His love, His glorious blood-bought adopted children for His purpose and glory.  How can we His children not give Him the glory and every breath, moment of our lives living, breathing and glorifying Him in our bodies, minds and life?  We must, we can, we will because He has willed us to love and obey Him in all things.  Rejoice my friends, you are His and He is yours and you are His now and forever.  Thanks be to God. _TheologyGirl-ReformedWomen

Law & Jesus

“The law in the hands of Jesus becomes alive with God’s own personality. Majestic and authoritative, he is present in every commandment, so absolute in his demands, so observant of our conduct, so intent upon the outcome, that the thought of giving to him less than heart and soul and mind and strength in the product of our moral life ceases to be tolerable to ourselves.”**

_______________
**Geerhardus Vos, “Hungering and Thirsting after Righteousness”