Is God Sovereign?

God’s Rule and Our Responsibility


A robot designed to vacuum the floor can’t decide to make a bed or wash windows. When God created us, He designed us and knows everything about us—what we’ve done and what we will do. If that’s the case, do we have free choice or are we programmed like robots? In this 2-part post, Christian leaders Phil Ryken and Ligon Duncan teach us about God’s sovereignty over humanity and creation. In this first section, Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary, uses the Old and New Testament to analyze God’s rule and our responsibility. 



God rules over everything—humans, creation, past, present, and future. He is supreme over all, but humans also bear the weight of responsibility in our everyday decisions.  

How did Ligon define God’s sovereignty? What did he mean when he said we aren’t robots?
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Ligon summarized two stories from the Bible about God’s sovereignty and human choice. The first story about Ahab being killed in battle is in 1 Kings 22 and the second about Paul being shipwrecked is in Acts 27.  

How did the stories Ligon mentioned from 1 Kings 22 and Acts 27 show the balance between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility?
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Acts 2:22-23 (ESV)

22“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


If we follow Ligon's explanation, how is Jesus’ death both an action of evil men and a part of God’s plan? What does this verse contribute to the conversation about God’s sovereignty?
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How do you approach God’s sovereignty and our choice as humans? Do you agree with Ligon? Why or why not?
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According to Ligon, why do our actions matter? How can our actions carry out God’s will?
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As you go about your week, how could you focus your actions on obeying God’s will? Is there anything He’s been asking you to do for a while? What could you do in the next few days to obey His commands in your life?
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Read 1 Kings 22:13–40 and Acts 27:13–44 this week. Process through God’s sovereignty over history, creation, and your life. Gear your actions toward obeying Him and promoting His will as you work, go to school, and hang out with your family. 

 
The Problem of Evil


The last section established the sovereignty of God over creation and humanity. If God rules over everything, why is there evil in the world? In this final section, Dr. Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton College, turns the tables on traditional objections about evil and points to Jesus as the solution to evil.  



Evil exists in this world, even with a sovereign God. However, Phil said the problem of evil poses more issues for non-Christians than Christians. 

What did Phil mean when he said the problem of evil is more of an issue for nonbelievers than believers? Why is this the case?
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How did Phil connect the problem of evil and the problem of good? How does the problem of good point to the existence of God?
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How does Jesus’ death and resurrection work toward redeeming this evil world? What hope do Christians have for the future?
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Do you agree with Phil when he said evil is our strength in Christianity? Why or why not?
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What could you do in the next few days to focus on the hope we have in Christ instead of on the evil in this world?
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When Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered sin, death, and evil. Our hope swells as we await His return. Though evil still exists in this world, we have a Savior who is greater. Praise Him for defeating evil and turn your eyes to the hope of eternity. 


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