“That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing which He will manifest in His Own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”
1 Timothy 6:14–16

Some would have us believe that trusting in the sovereignty of God in all things is unfounded faith. They teach that there are realms of God’s sovereignty, such as over sickness, world affairs, and heaven, while they generally shy away from believing that God is sovereign in absolutely all things, even in all matters concerning salvation.

I once heard a pastor teach that if you once admit that God is sovereign then you lose your argument concerning individual choice in salvation. His was a rather limited scope in discussion, but I remember him saying that nowhere in the Bible does the word “sovereign” appear.

While it is true that the King James Version does not translate our text using the word sovereign, it surely could have done so. The Greek word root is dunamai, to be able. It could be translated “the Mighty One.” He is “King of those kinging and Lord of those lording.”

Webster’s 1828 dictionary states that the word sovereign comes from the Latin word supernes and generally means supreme. The entry includes “supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe. Supreme; superior to all others; chief…. A supreme lord or ruler; one who possesses the highest authority without control. Some earthly princes, kings and emperors are sovereign in their dominions.”

Human versions of sovereignty take all kinds of forms. A woman is usually sovereign in her own kitchen, an artist is sovereign over his creative work, a king is usually thought of as sovereign in his own kingdom, and a socialist party structure allows the “chosen few” to constantly go grasping for supreme control in every area of their people’s lives. In every case, there are always limits to human sovereignty. This is certainly not the case with God.

It also must be said that there is no difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New. He is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever. The distinctions between the testaments are merely the distinguishing characteristics between God’s dispensational handling of mankind, not the principle nature and character of God.

The Old Testament begins with the words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Therefore, it is certainly not poetic license that allows the psalmist to say, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3, 135:6). Isaiah 43:13 states, “Indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?” Jeremiah 18:6 reads, “’O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the LORD, ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’”

The New Testament follows along in the same train of thought. 1 Timothy 1:17 reads, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Acts 17:24ff reads, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being….” Hebrews 12:2 states, “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

There is only one time-frame where God, or rather–His Son, Jesus Christ, purposely did not know everything. During the days of His “humiliation” (Philippians 2:5ff), He voluntarily chose not to exercise His divine power in submission to the will of the Father in order that He might redeem us. This is the meaning of Mark 13:32. Only during His first advent was it true that there were things that only the Father knew. Someone once said, “Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever ‘occurs’ to God?” God knows all; He is sovereign over all. There is no escaping this timeless reality!

Though God has established how this world works, in both time and eternity, in both God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, and in both divine decree and human volition, He is unstintingly sovereign. This fact is an incredible comfort in woe and in weal to every authentic believer. But to the unregenerate man, God’s sovereignty is a deterrent to evil, and accountability to the sovereign God is a terror to be avoided as long as possible. Trust and obey.