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All Authority

“And Jesus said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).

This passage of scripture is one that is familiar to the majority of Christians. It is known throughout Christendom as The Great Commission. More often than not, the part of these verses that most often camped on by preachers and teachers of the gospel, is the “Go therefore…” section. But before those word, Jesus stated something that ought to be the root and motivation and confidence for all Christian living, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”

What Jesus is saying in this passage is that there is no situation and no location outside of His sovereign rule. He wanted us to understand that everything in heaven and on earth is under His ultimate command. God’s promises can only reign in places where He has control. In light of what Jesus said, there is no place, to time, and no event outside of His control.

I point this out, because many people, Christians among them, are questioning God’s sovereign control of the events that presently grip our country and the rest of the world, social, political, racial unrest, wars, etc. If God indeed is in control, then we must understand that even the present events surrounding us are being allowed by Him for His ultimate, eternal purposes, as well as His ultimate glory.

When I am convinced of God’s sovereignty, I can rest in political outcomes, even though I may not have voted for the party who eventually wins, because ultimate authority does not belong to political leaders but to God. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).

I remember the first time that I read and pondered Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” The Bible tells us that both the Pharaoh of the Exodus and Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, were instruments of God’s choosing and using for His ultimate purposes in the history of Israel. He even went on to call the brutal Nebuchadnezzar, who carried of the nation of Israel into Babylonian captivity, “My servant” (Jeremiah 43:10).

One of my favorite preachers and writers was the late R.C. Sproul, who helped me to wrap my mind around the fullness of God’s sovereignty and ultimate authority. He once said, “God has not left one maverick molecule in the universe.” Meaning: there is nothing that can ever or will ever upset God’s perfect plan for the history of mankind. Just because we do not understand how God’s sovereignty and authority mesh in the big picture, does not mean that it is not so.

At this point in my life, after walking with Jesus for fifty years, I am content to let God be God, resting in the words of Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things He reveals belong to us…”

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