Does God control everything?

We’re prone to think that if God is in control, He must do it in opposition to our choices. What if in His wisdom and providence He takes all of our choices — for good and for bad, for healing and for harm — into account as He unfolds the Story of the world?

» Feel free to listen to my small take on that big question: Does God Control Everything?

More importantly, the Scriptures speak:

“We know that all the events of our lives are orchestrated by God’s sovereign will for our ultimate good, the salvation which belongs to all who love God, to all who have been called in His plan. That plan began in eternity past, carries on into eternity future and guarantees our full salvation.

For all whom God chose long ago, the same ones He also predestined to become perfect images of His son, so that the Son would be first in rank within a huge family. And all whom God predestined, the same ones He also called to faith. And all whom He called to faith, the same ones He also justified. And all whom He justified, the same ones He has also begun to glorify. No one is lost along the way.

What lesson then should we take from all of this? One thing. If God is on our side, who can deprive us of our full salvation? If God did not even spare His own Son but gave Him up at the cross for us all, how could He possible withhold anything else? Won’t He give us everything we need for salvation?

Who could mount an effective attack against the very people whom God has already chosen to be on His side? God is Himself the One who clears us of all our guilt by the merit of Christ. So who could argue against that defense? We have no one less than Christ Jesus, who died, who was also raised and who is now positioned at God’s right hand where He pleads for us.

So what would have to happen to cut us off from the saving love of Christ? Affliction? Anguish? Persecution? Starvation? Exposure? Danger? Execution?

The Scriptures acknowledge that these terrible things do happen to God’s people:

‘For your sake we are put to death all day long, we are treated like sheep ready for slaughter.’

But in all our sufferings we achieve total victory through Christ who loved us, for He will not let our faith die. It keeps springing back, overcoming whatever adversities we encounter.

In fact, I am convinced that nothing can rob us of our salvation—neither the terrors of death nor the enticements of life, neither angels nor demons, neither present-day troubles nor future crises, nor cosmic powers, nor anything in heaven above nor anything in hell below, indeed, nothing in the entire created order will be able to separate us from the saving love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Romans 8:28-39 in the wording of a new translation by Ray Ortlund, Jr., found in A Passion for God: Prayers and Meditations on the Book of Romans. Compare with Romans 8:28-39 (ESV).