- Why is It so Hard to Accept the Sovereignty of God?
- Surrendering to the Sovereignty of God
- Submitting to the Sovereign Will of God
- Obeying the Sovereign Word of God
- Enduring in the Sovereign Word of God
The Perception of the Practice
(1 John 2:6) “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
The First Step in accepting the Sovereignty of God is for the sinner to be given Regeneration by the Spirit of God. This process allows you to know of your Position in Christ, because the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives one the ability to understand spiritual things of God (1 Cor. 2:9-16). However, knowing your Position in Christ is different than Surrendering to the Sovereignty (or absolute rule) of God.
In the devotion titled “Surrendering to the Sovereignty of God,” the First Step in total Surrender to God comes in the acknowledgement of:
- First, Salvation is of the Lord; He is the Cause, and the believer is the effect; Salvation is by the Grace of God, and not based on any merits of the believer. In regeneration, the sinner is given a “new will” motivated by the Love of God being shed aboard in his heart by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 5:5b).
- Secondly, not only coming to the knowledge that he is now “in Christ” (which means he is not under condemnation; Rom. 8:1); but also coming to the knowledge that he is the “Temple of Christ,” which means that Christ is in him. This means that Christ is on the throne in his spirit, and Christ is now the absolute ruler of his life. He is now a slave of righteousness – therefore Christ is his Lord and Master – and as a slave, he is to Surrender to God’s Rule and Reign; and he gladly does so, when he comes to this knowledge.
Therefore, the converted sinner knows that he is not his own any longer; that God owns his body, soul, and spirit. Now he is a slave of Righteousness; and he is to bow to God as his Creator, Controller, and Consummator. It is God that made him, gave him his characteristics, gave him his talents, even placed him geographically; and all this was done for the glory of God and for his good.
Therefore, being given this “understanding,” or perception, that Christ is in him (as he is the Temple of God), and that he is in Christ (he is a new creature; a slave of righteousness) – then he Surrenders to God as Sovereign in his life. He surrenders to God as the One who has a plan and purpose for his life. No ‘ifs’ or ‘ands’ or ‘buts’; for he confesses, God you are in control of my life, my breath, my days on this earth, and all in between. The regenerated then comes to Surrender to the Sovereignty of God, and say: ‘I am yours and You are mine; do as You please with me.’
This knowledge of the Position in Christ also allows the believer to know that he has a New Will; one controlled by the love of God in his spirit, and not controlled by his flesh, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lust. The believer now knows that God is his Savior and Security, and is Sovereign over his life. The believer now loves God, and desires to please God, and bows to the absolute rule and reign of God in his spirit. He knows that God is all-powerful (omnipotent); and has all knowledge (omniscient); and is everywhere (omnipresent). He knows that God, from before the foundation of the world, had a Plan and a Purpose to honor God Himself, and has ordained good for the believer. Therefore, he knows God owns him in body, soul, and spirit. He knows that God has ordained the days of his life, and has set his bounds, and that His Promises are sure and certain in Christ Jesus. He knows God (Jehovah) is the Sovereign because the Bible records in (Gen 1:1) that He is First: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” He is the Creator of all matter, inanimate and animate. Therefore, God is Controller and Consummator of His Creation, to do with as He pleases. Thus, the believer is to Surrender to the Sovereignty of God no matter what his circumstances may be; no matter what others may say; and no matter what his own flesh tells him – he is to bow to the Rule of God in his life.
The Second Step in accepting the Sovereignty of God is to have the Perception of What is the Will of God, and the Submitting to the Will of God. The first thing is to know that God is Sovereign, and to surrender to this fact. Secondly, the believer is revealed, in the Written Word of God, that God has a definite Will for the believer; and the believer must, not only come to Surrender to the Sovereignty of God, but he must also Submit to the Will of God.
Some may ask, ‘What is the difference in Surrendering and Submitting?’ The answer is two-fold:
- Surrendering has to do with giving up to God, that He is the Creator, Controller, and Consummator; and as such He (God) has done, and can do, as He has pleased with His creation.
- Submitting has to do with the believer coming to see that God is not only the Absolute Ruler of His creation; but also, God has a definite Purpose for each individual child of God; and God has the Plan for each individual; and in this Plan, God has ordained what he is to do as a child of God, and where he is do it, and how it is to be performed (Ps. 37:23; Prov. 19:21).
Submitting is a mental knowledge and acknowledgment of what God’s Will encompasses for the believer. Therefore it is two-fold:
First the What: the Perception of (to be given the knowledge of) the Will of God
What is the Will of God?
The New Testament defines the Will of God for the believer: The first step to submitting to the Will of God is to know what the Will of God is.
Jesus Christ is the Example: Walk as Jesus Walked (1 Jn. 2:6); [How did Jesus Walk?]
- In Agreement to the Purpose of God:
- (10:7) “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” This is why Jesus came and He…
- (Jn. 17:4), “…I have finished the work thou gavest me to do;” What was the Work of God that Jesus came “to do”? Jesus was God in the flesh; He came to reveal the attributes of God in the face of Jesus Christ; He came to “declare” or be a witness of the Father (Jn. 1:1-18; 2 Cor. 4:6). And Jesus did this in His office work as: Prophet, High Priest, His Sacrifice for sin, becoming our Substitute on the Cross, Our Resurrected Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords. He said on the Cross, “It is finished”; that is, He completed His purpose for coming to the earth; and this was proven by His resurrection and ascension and baptism of the Church on the Day of Pentecost, and His intercession in heaven for us.
- In Agreement to the Practice:
- (Matt.26:39) “…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (See Jn. 13:34-35; 2 Peter 1:17.) Here is revealed the “How” Jesus carried out His Purpose on earth; in total Submission to the Father.
Therefore, the believer must first learn his Purpose, or the Will of God for him, as he lives on this earth; and…
Secondly, the How: or learn in What Manner he is to do the Will of God
- The Believer’s ordained Purpose is to be a Witness of the Saving, Sustaining, Satisfying, and Securing of the Grace of God – first to the believer; then to other people (Acts 1:8). That is, the believer is to be a witness of his internal change from being a slave of unrighteousness to now being a slave of Righteousness, by being regenerated by the Holy Spirit – from being dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1), to having been raised from this spiritually-dead position, to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4) – from his fruit coming from the flesh, to his fruit coming from the indwelling Righteousness of Christ (Rom. 6:5-23). This requires a mental Submission to the fact that the believer is to be a Witness for Jesus Christ; a witness of the believer’s change, of his new will (his desire) to be led of the Holy Spirit, and not led by his flesh. This witness will be evidenced in the believer’s word and deed.
This devotion’s primary goal is to identify The Will of God for the believer, and the how (or the practice, the manner) the believer is to carry out his purpose on the earth. But first, the believer is to know that he is to be a Witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Next, he is to submit to the knowledge of how (or in what manner) the believer is to carry out his purpose as a witness of Jesus Christ:
- The ordained Practice, or Walk, of the Believer: The believer is to walk as Christ walked; and that is in total Submission to the Will of God.
- The believer is to acknowledge in his spirit that he is walking in his God-ordained Purpose as the sanctified temple, or dwelling place of God, on earth. And this walk, in his God-ordered Purpose, is to be done in the Practice of Christ. That is, to carry out his assigned purpose on the earth in the same manner that Christ walked (or performed His purpose); and that is, Christ was completely Submitted to the Will of God, as revealed in the manner in which He performed His purpose.
Question: How did Jesus carry out His purpose?
- In Total Submission:
- (Matt.26:39) “…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (2 Peter 1:17); Here is revealed the “How” Jesus carried out His Purpose on earth. (John 12:27)
- In that which Pleased God:
- (Joh 8:29) “ And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”
- In the Love of God:
- (Joh 13:34) “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
- In the Holiness of God:
- (1Pe 1:15) “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”
- (1Pe 1:16)“ Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
- In the Power of God:
- (Lk. 4:1, 14, 36; Mt. 28:18; Jn. 17:2; Acts 10:38)
- (Lk. 4:36) And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
- (Mat. 28:18) “ And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Therefore, the believer is to Walk as Christ walked (1 Jn. 2:6): (1) In Total Submission to the Will of God; (2) In that Pleased God (Jn. 8:29); (3) In the Love of God (Mt. 22:37-40; Jn. 13:34-35; 3); (4) In the Holiness of God (1 Peter 1:15; 1 Thess. 4:1-3-23); and (5) In the Power of Christ (Acts 1:8).
However, the Surrendering to the Sovereignty of God; the Submitting to the Will of God; and the Obeying the Word of God and the Enduring in the same; comes to the New Man by the Holy Spirit revealing to the New Man – not only his Position in Christ (Rom. 8:1) – but also the Will of God, which is revealed in the Practice, or the walk of the New Man (Jn. 14:15). It is one thing to know of your Position in Christ (your Eternal Justification, your Judicial Justification; and your Experiential Justification); and it is another to know the Practice you are to perform as a child of God, and then come to submit to the Will of God, which reveals the Practice. Coming to submission to the Will of God for the believer, which is a mental submission to God that the Walk of Jesus is his walk also, is a must to actually do the works of faith; which is the next step to be discussed in the next devotion: Obeying the Word of God.
The path, or the walk, for the New Man (the regenerated child of God), is having the knowledge of what God commands for His servant; which is called Sanctification; and by this, the New Convert is revealed the Will of God. The new convert does this by studying the Word of God to know what the Will of God is; then in obeying the Word of God and enduring in the same. Paul instructed Timothy the first step in knowing the Will of God is in 2Ti 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In so doing, the New Convert will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; and in so doing will learn of his responsibility as a child of God (2Pe 1:3-11); and of how, or the manner of performing the Will of God.
(2Pe 1:3) “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” This verse alone stands as a mountain peak of the Sovereign Grace of God in the sinner’s regeneration. (It is God’s Divine Power that has given all things that pertain to eternal life and Godliness; it is God Who has called us to glory and virtue.) But take note that all this is done “through the knowledge of Him that hath called us…” It is the Knowledge of God; not of the sinner; but of God as to the Source. The key word is “knowledge,” which comes to the sinner by being “made alive” in the regeneration of the sinner by the Holy Spirit of God. This is how the quickened sinner comes to cry, “Abba, Father.” That is, he now knows (he knows by experience) (Gal. 4:5-6) that he is a child of God. He now has the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). That is, he knows who God is, and he knows that God is in him, and he knows that he is a possessor of Eternal Life (1 Jn. 5:20). The same God that gave the sinner life and understanding of his position as a son in Christ (1 Jn. 5:20); also has given His child “promises”:
(2Pe 1:4) “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” That is, through the knowledge and the application of the truth of the “exceeding great and precious promises,” you are taught by the Holy Spirit of who you are in Christ. The more you learn of Him, the more you have the knowledge of the Divine Nature living in you. The more you learn of God, the more you grow; and the more you grow, the more fruit you will bear in His Name. The more you learn of Him, the more you desire to please Him. The more you learn of Him, the more you learn of His commandments, and that you are to keep His commandments; of which the keeping of His commandments proves that you love Him (Jn. 14:15).
(2Pe 1:5-7) “And beside this, giving all diligence add (or being fully supplied in regeneration), to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (All these things being abundantly supplied to you in regeneration)
Then, Peter said, in (2Pe 1:8) “For if these things be in you (What things? Life, godliness, the Promises, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity) and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The key is the word “knowledge.” How do the children of God grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer, “study to shew thyself approved unto God.”
(2Pe 1:9) “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
(2Pe 1:10) “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” How do you make your calling and election “sure”? The answer is in studying the Word of God and increasing in the knowledge of the Grace and of the Savior Jesus Christ. As the New Convert studies, the Holy Spirit (The Teacher) reveals to the New Convert more and more of his Position in Christ; and reveals more and more that he was called of God to “Glory,” that is to be One with Christ (Jn. 17:21-24), and to Virtue (or Moral excellence). Christ is the believer’s example; He is Holy, Perfect, Preeminent, Righteous, and He is Love. The believer’s responsibility is to “walk as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:6b); that is in love, peace, holiness, righteousness, and in the power and joy of the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17; Heb. 12:14; 1 Jn. 3:11-24; 4:7-21).
Therefore, the New Convert is to study the Word of God (of “the exceeding great and precious promises”) to learn more of; (or of “partake of the Divine Nature of God”); to grow.
- Of his Position in Grace in Christ. His position in Christ is in Eternal Justification (Eph. 1:4-11; Rom. 8:29-30); that he was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. And in Judicial Justification (Rom. 3:24-24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24;2 Cor. 5:21); that Christ came, and was his Substitute, or stood in his place, on the Cross bearing the sinner’s sin debt; that the sinner be made the righteousness of God. And in Experiential Justification (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5-6); that is, in time, the Holy Spirit of God came to the dead sinner, dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1); and quickened him (Jn. 6:63); and gave him faith (Eph. 2:8-9); and granted him repentance (Acts 5:31); and drew him to Christ (Jn. 6:44-45,65); and brought him to confess Jesus Christ as his own personal Substitute, Sacrifice and Savior (Rom. 10:9-10).
- As the New Convert studies the Word of God; he learns not only his Position in Grace; but also of his responsibility (or of What God expects of him; even of Christ’s commands for him) or his Practice; (Jn. 14:15) “if you love me; keep my commandments.” That he is to separate from this evil world in fellowship (2 Cor. 6:14-18); and to bring his body and spirit into subjection (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Cor. 10:3-5). That he is to walk in love (Jn. 13:34-35); in the Light; Circumspectly; filled with the Spirit of God; in praises to God; in submission one to another; in peace, holiness; and in the power and joy of the Holy Ghost (Eph. 5:1-21; Rom. 14:17; Heb. 12:14). Also, the new convert learns there is a command, and a cost, to discipleship (Lk. 14:26-33); he learns he is to count the “cost” and then take up his cross and follow Christ.
The First Step to Surrendering to God as Sovereign (devotion – Part One) is to surrender to the truth that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) and not of the works of himself or of any of his merits; for Christ is the Life; Eternal Life (1 Jn. 5:20). It is Christ and Him alone that has the power to call the dead sinner in trespasses and sin to life; and it is God alone that teaches the converted sinner of his Position in Christ now and forever and ever.
The Second Step, the Submitting to the Sovereignty of God (devotion – Part Two), is a mental bowing (or Submitting) to the Will of God, to the truth that Christ teaches the sinner of his commanded Practice as a slave of righteousness; and his fruit will be of holiness and not fruit of the flesh (Rom. 6:4-22; Jn. 15:16; Gal. 5:19-23).