Today’s reading: Romans 9 and 10
Sovereign – having the highest power or being completely independent (Cambridge English Dictionary).
Romans Chapter 9 is about God’s sovereignty.
The chapter begins with Paul expressing sadness that his fellow Israelites, God’s chosen people, had missed their long-awaited messiah. Jesus didn’t look or act like the Savior they had dreamt of, so when he showed up, they were too wrapped up in doing the “right” things that they didn’t recognize him.
Paul goes on to explain that it isn’t family lineage (physical descent) or good works that makes someone a child of God, rather, faith in Jesus is what makes them a “descendant of Abraham” or a child of God. You can’t earn God’s favor or salvation, it is the free gift of God.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
This is where God’s sovereignty comes in to play. If God is the highest power, he can decide what he is or isn’t going to do, who he is and isn’t going to bless, and who he is and isn’t going to save. How does this make you feel? Does God’s sovereignty give you hope or cause you concern?
Tyrant – a ruler who has unlimited power over other people, and uses it unfairly and cruelly (Cambridge English Dictionary).
Sovereignty often times makes us squeamish because it is usually connected with tyranny. Putting your trust anyone with that kind of power very likely will put you at the mercy of someone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind; someone who may try to harm you. As a result, we resist trusting anyone with absolute power over us. This makes sense until it comes to God. While God’s has the authority to do what he wants, his sovereignty is what gives us hope.
The apostle Paul pointed out that his hope came from understanding of God’s sovereignty in conjunction with the knowledge of God’s goodness. God, by his nature, is love. Here’s how the Bible describes it:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Understanding God leads us to recognize him as the ultimate authority. The real question is whether we can trust the sovereign authority of a God who is Love, and who has our best interest in mind.