Yes, This Is God's Sovereign Will

A shallow Christianity reveals its ignorance of God's will

A whole lot of people, including many self-described Christians, have decided to make controversy out of a tweet of mine that reflects basic 101 level Christianity.

Scripture clearly indicates that no leader comes to power except through God’s will.

To be clear, there are two wills of God: (1) His sovereign will and (2) His moral or permissive will.

In God’s moral will, he wills us to do certain things and avoid other things. God wills us to avoid sin. But, we have free volition of action and our wills are bent against God towards sin. God knows all of this. He contemplates it in His sovereign will.

God’s sovereign will means He is ultimately in charge of all things. He has planned out the history of the world in order to glorify Him and bring about the ultimate correction.

So, for example, in Genesis, Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery and tell their father that Joseph is dead. Joseph, in Genesis 50, declares, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

It was against God’s moral law that Joseph’s brothers should treat a child of God so terribly. But God, as part of His sovereign will, used that injustice by Joseph’s brothers to bring about the salvation of Abraham’s descendants.

Or consider this passage from earlier in Genesis as God reveals a bit of his plan to Abram:

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:13-16 (ESV)

God already foresaw and had worked into His plan the injustices of Joseph’s brothers, but had already contemplated using that act to get Abraham’s descendants to Egypt where they would stay for 400 years. During that time, God would keep them from the Amorites. 400 years later, God would use the Israelites against the Amorites.

In the New Testament in both Romans 13, and in 1 Peter 2, God makes it very clear that no ruler comes to power except as part of God’s sovereign will. The leader being referenced at the time was Nero, the Roman Emperor who would ruthlessly persecute and kill the Christians.

What is dismaying to me is that this really is Christianity 101. Seeing some Christians express shock and dismay or provide odd rebuttals shows just how shallow some people’s faith is. Some demand to know just how every bad and awful event in history could be part of God’s will.

Overnight, from the Holocaust to American slavery to [insert terrible act you despise here], people could not understand how that could all be part of God’s will.

Again, none of those things are part of God’s permissive or moral will. He does not want us to act like that. But God gives us the freedom to act and we live in a fallen world where we are all sinners with a will bent away from God and bound to sin. We will not disrupt God’s plan for our salvation and He allows us to act, using our sins and bad actions, weaving them into the tapestry of a history He already knows for an outcome He has already foreordained. We will not disrupt the will of God. Every good and bad deed is part of a plan, the outcome of which we know, but the path of which is only incrementally revealed to us.

We now know that Joe Biden’s presidency is part of that plan, just as Donald Trump’s was. We now know just how shallow American Christianity is that some have chosen to believe the end of Trump’s presidency could be Satan disrupting God’s plan.

For all the bad acts, from the Holocaust to slavery, to the things you personally see as bad that others may not, like the end of the Trump presidency, focus instead on the cross. There, an innocent man died taking on all the sins of the world. So many sins were piled up on that one man at that one time that the sun went dark as the Father turned His back on the Son.

It appeared manifest evil had finally triumphed over divine good. The Creator of all things who spoke the universe into being was nailed to a cross and died.

But there, in the garden, at the beginning of time, God had already spoken to Satan. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Gen 3:15 (NIV). Satan had struck Christ’s heel, but on that cross thousands of years later, Christ was crushing Satan’s head. He would conquer death and save mankind.

All bad things, every single one you can name, is already woven into the fabric of human history as part of God’s sovereign will to affect His plan for our salvation. That includes the awful leaders of mankind coming to power from Nero to Hitler. It includes all the bad acts of humanity from plague and genocide to the death of an innocent man on the cross.

It includes the election of the President of the United States.

All these acts push history along to its ultimate resolution in Christ’s return and “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV).

So yes, the election of Joe Biden is not an act that undermines God’s plan or obstructs God’s will. It is expressly part of God’s sovereign will. “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 (ESV).