God has many attributes and among those attributes is His absolute sovereignty.
This attribute of Almighty God is one that His people seem afraid to admit to with commitment. To admit that God is sovereign is to realize that we must be in complete obedience to His will. It is to realize that He has the power of life and death over us just as the absolute monarchs of old had the power of life and death over their people.
This attribute is like an ocean that has neither bank nor bottom and one may not lightly launch out into it, no matter how strong one feels, without a divine compass, and an anchor in Christ.
The first witness of the sovereignty of God is: Our God has an absolute power and right of dominion over His creatures, to dispose and determine for them that which seems good to Him.
The above statement will not be popular with those who teach that man has an absolute "free will." How free is a man who has an absolute sovereign?
To admit that there is such power means that that power must belong to someone for the monarch who is sovereign over a country is not absolute, only He Who is sovereign over all things and all life is truly sovereign.
To admit that there is such power is to admit that it must belong to God and no other reason for this can be assigned, but that "...he is God, and there is none other beside him;..." (Deut. 4:35) there can be no other gods, because: 1) there can be but one Infinite, for such a being fills heaven and earth; and so there is no place nor any room for another; 2) there can be only one who is Omnipotent; for the Omnipotent has all others under His feet for if He does not then He is not omnipotent. Where there is one who can do all things and control all things and have in submission all things another would be not only unnecessary but impertinent. 3) There can be but one Supreme; supreme power may reside in many as in the Supreme Court of the United States, but as lawmakers and supreme they are but one. 4) There can be but one first cause from which all beings derive their origin,: That is, our God, the one of whom Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 8:6, "...of whom are all things ... by whom are all things,...." And if He is the author of all things, then He must hold sovereign right and power and determine all things, both as to their being, order, efficacy and end.
That sovereign power belongs to God is a truth so natural and obvious to reason that the need for any other proof seems to be as ridiculous as arguing as to whether or not the sun gives light. But even with what I have to write here, and with what many of our preachers say, most will question the absolute sovereignty of the Creator ignoring what the Scripture says in Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead,...."
Many will admit to His sovereignty but few will submit to it in their thought and their doctrine. To submit to it would seem to diminish them as persons before the world.
With this in mind let's consider how great a weight this divine attribute bears, an attribute that should concern since it has such a great influence on our lives. Because of this influence it behooves us to study closely and intensely scriptural instances of this absolute power to understand the great impact it must have on our personal spiritual growth.
The study of this attribute will bring us in touch with the true greatness of the God in whose hands our souls are, and will instruct us concerning our infinite distance from Him and our nothingness to Him. This will in turn teach us humility and self-abasement from which grows true faith and submission to Him. John the Baptist said, "He must increase and I must decrease."
In aid of this the scriptures have given us some ten witnesses or landmarks of that sovereignty so that if we follow them as we would stepping stones we may be led to the absolute will and power of God as the supreme cause and disposer of all that is.
The great act that forcibly demonstrates the sovereignty of our God is the decree that brought the world into being: In this was included all that He would do and all that He would permit to be done to the end when all that is to be done or permitted has been done.
When He created the world and decreed all that was to be there was as yet no living thing not in the heavens or the earth. It was at His pleasure whether He would create them or He would not, and if He did it was His pleasure what being they should have (and what use He would make of them and to what end and how that end would be accomplished.) Believe me all this is evident in the decree, think about what is said in Acts 15:18, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." The world did not begin with man so his works were not known from the beginning of man but from the beginning of the world, before ever man was.
Think about this, our God, the great God, the Holy God who possessed all positive attributes infinitely, that is, He is infinitely happy, infinitely good, infinitely blessed, all this within Himself, He wasn't lonely, or in need of something to do, but nevertheless what He decreed He promptly brought into existence both angels and men. To the angels He communicated His attributes so that He might manifest His sovereignty in some certain number whom He would confirm in their primitive state and leave the remainder to themselves, who failing from that primitive (innocent) state should be cast down and "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6)
When God created man He established that that first man would be not only the head but also the representative of all his descendents. He decreed that this first man should be created in the image of God, at least be fit to find pleasure in communion with Him, and that this first man had the power to retain that ability and pleasure. But in order to show the weakness of man, of all creatures, and to demonstrate their absolute dependence on Him He would give man a perfectly free will to either retain or throw away that which he had been given. However, God did tell man the result of either his good use or ill use of this choice, of His injunction concerning the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden, i.e., the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Man being exceptionally gifted and left on his own was tempted by the fallen angel, to disobedience, the fallen angel prevailed so that both the first man, Adam, and all of his posterity came under the curse.
God, being possessed of all positive attributes infinitely, for the declaration of His absolute sovereignty, would and did choose, as in the case of the angels, a particular number of man's posterity, all being alike in their depravity and unable to save themselves. He ordained, elected them to eternal life; and in like manner, in order to make known his anger against sin, He left the remainder in the state in which they were, in sin and depravity, and that of these Satan should be the overlord and head and that they should follow him into perdition.
Just as Satan is ruler of those that will follow him into perdition so he is also ruler over those that are the elect until such a time as Messiah, He into whom they have been chosen, should rescue them out of Satan's power at a time predetermined by His sovereign decree.
In order to do this, and that He might be seen to be just as well as merciful in His justifying of them, the Son, the second person of the Trinity must take on Himself the place of the Second Adam. He must take on Himself a body of flesh and blood and be born into the world as any man. In this body He would fulfill all righteousness and then by the incalculable virtue and merit of His death He would satisfy God's law in it's every demand, judge Satan and consign him to the place created for him and his angels, then dissolve His creation with the heat of His judgment and finally reconcile the elect unto God.
In His work He would also rise from the dead and be invested with all power as would certainly befit the Captain of their Salvation and He would do this that He might be an effectual minister to His elect in whatever way would be necessary to God that He might bring many sons to glory. (Heb. 2: 10)
Here then we have seen the sum of God's decree, the first great landmark of His absolute Sovereignty, and all that comes after are simply effects and consequences and certainly subordinate to it.
So the first great landmark of His sovereignty is creation. God gave the world an actual existence in time and this according to His decree that was from before everlasting.
He spoke, there was something from nothing, He spoke and that something became the heavens and the earth. He hung the earth upon nothing along with the sun, moon and stars. He then peopled the earth with every form of creature and growth. He assigned to each creature such and such a form, He gave them station, order, use and efficacy and impressed on them whatever laws and instincts of nature as seemed good and fit for that creature. But all was in a regulated subserviency to the good of the whole, and all was effected by His word. Everything was accomplished immediately by His word as if they had proceeded from His mouth with his very breath. Psalm 33:9 tells us, "For he spoke and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."