What We Believe
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August 28, 2020 Q & A

Does God do as he pleases?

Question

Does God do as He pleases? Is this related to God's sovereignty?

Answer

Your first question puts me in mind of our First Catechism #13:

Q: Can God do all things?
A: Yes. God can do all his holy will.

God is able to do whatever he pleases, but we must remember that all he pleases to do is holy and good.

Psalm 147:5. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Jeremiah 32:17. Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Daniel 4:34 has Nebuchadnezzar’s confession after God humbled him: “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;  all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’”

Ephesians 1:11. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.

And yes, this is related to his sovereignty, but is not the same thing. God can do all things because he is almighty; that is, he has the power and ability to do them. His sovereignty has to do with his authority; that is, he has the right to rule over all persons and things because he is our Creator.

By way of negative example: a big boy may successfully force a little boy to give him his lunch money, but he does not have the right to do so. The big boy has power and ability, but not authority.

Thank the Lord that this is not our God! He has the authority and power to do all his holy will. And his will is always a “holy will,” without sin or error or injustice. He exercises his sovereignty and might not to exploit us, but instead to serve us by giving his Son to die on the cross for our sins and be raised for our justification. The holy will of our sovereign and almighty God Jesus Christ is to save us by his grace and the power of his Holy Spirit.

Thank God he does as he pleases!

 

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