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Misunderstand Sovereignty and Misrepresent God
by Timothy Smith
07/27/10
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If we misunderstand sovereignty we will ultimately misrepresent what God is really like. Here is why! Sovereignty does not explain motivation. Sovereignty explains God's right to do as He pleases over His creation, but it does not explain His motivation to rule over His creation the way He does. Therefore sovereignty does not explain God's motivation behind the way He chose to redeem man. Sovereignty simply explains that He had the legal right to do it the way He did. We must realize sovereignty is not a personality trait!
The heart of God is the most clearly articulated truth in all of scripture. It is from the heart of God that we understand motivation. Even we are to obey from the heart that form of doctrine delivered unto us. Why from the heart? Love is in the heart not the head. Therefore obedience from the heart is obedience from love. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.." It does not say, for God was sovereign over the world so He gave His only Son.
Any doctrine of redemption that does not have love as the foundational understanding of God's actions, will ultimately misrepresent who God really is. Sovereignty has no emotion, no compassion, no feeling. Sovereignty refers to the legal right of a king to rule over his domain anyway that pleases him. If we are not careful we will become legalistic as we try to explain everything that God does from a legal (sovereign) point of view. Is God sovereign? Absolutly! Is God love? Absolutly! Which one of those absolutes motivates His heart to act?
Will a very legalistic view of God ultimately make very legalistic people? If the king ruling over a people is only sovereign he may care nothing for them at all. He may be sovereign, doing as he pleases, while he has no real regard for the welfare of his people. Sovereignty does not rest in the heart or the head. Sovereignty does not explain His heart for us, or His thoughts about us. It is possible for a king to be sovereign over you and not care at all about you!
It is absolutely critical that we get this distinction. We cannot mistake sovereignty as a motivation. I believe that because of the lack of this distinction, many of God's people have become legalistic. They also find it hard to fellowship with God, and constantly live under the feeling of never measuring up. If we misunderstand sovereignty we will ultimately misrepresent what God is really like.

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