The Sovereignty of God’s Word

By | 3 Dec 2010
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Lately I’ve been making the case that the God of the Bible does not go around killing His children, inflicting them with diseases, or causing disasters.

In this post we’ll tackle another way God has self-limited His sovereignty: His Word and His promises contained within it.

In a previous post, we covered how God is indeed sovereign, but He has limited His sovereignty in this earth by His own will. There, we discussed the first way He had limited His own sovereignty: delegating His authority to mankind, how we lost that authority by Adam bowing his knee to Satan, how Jesus won back that authority by His death and resurrection, and how He has re-delegated that authority back to His followers.

Now we will address the second way in which He has limited His own sovereignty. That is by His promises, all of which are also contained within His Word.

We will be covering this issue from the foundational fact the Bible is infallible, inerrant, and the absolute Truth, the document which addresses and controls virtually every aspect of the life, faith, and practice of Christ-followers. If you don’t agree with that premise, we’re not going to dig into a defense of that here. You’ll need to explore the issue elsewhere because I’m not addressing unsaved folk who are questioning the claims of Christ upon them, but Christians who have been misled by centuries of misguided religious dogma.

The Virtue of Integrity

God’s Word is incredibly important to Him. He has declared in multiple passages in both the Old and New Testaments how His Word is inseparable from Himself. In fact, Chapter 1 the John’s Gospel describes Jesus Christ as God’s Word in human form.

I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Psalm 138:2 (emphasis mine)

We as human beings tend to place a high regard upon people who keep their word to us and fulfill their promises. We look up to and honor those who keep their word despite opposition or adverse circumstances. We call such folks “people of integrity.”

We also look down on those who don’t fulfill our trust in their words, who, for various reasons ranging from fear of consequences to mere convenience to simple laziness, simply decide their promises are not going to be kept. We intrinsically despise those who cheat on their wives, embezzle funds entrusted to their care, treasonously betray their countries, desert in the face of the enemy, or abuse the innocent — to wit, those who cannot be trusted.

So we have an ingrained human-racial belief/assumption that other humans should keep their word. I believe this comes from the verse in Genesis 2 where God said, “Let Us make man in Our image…” According to this verse, God created mankind with the intrinsic characteristics of His own being.

Since Newton’s 3rd Law of Thermodynamics (the Law of Entropy) demonstrates how nothing can spawn or develop into something greater than itself, we can safely conclude that we didn’t come up with this racial value for integrity on our own spin, but in fact it was imparted by our Creator. Indeed, the Living God values integrity so highly He ensured all of us humans possess a similar value for it, though in some societies that innate sense has been suppressed through sin or false religious dogma (e.g., Islam).

So why should we respect and honor any god who cannot be trusted to keep his own word? And why should the One True Living God be exempted from that standard?

The Impartiality of God

The Bible also repeatedly states God is no respecter of persons, meaning He is completely impartial, therefore His Word is true and dependable for every man, woman, and child on the planet.

The one thing we can always take to the bank is the Word of God. We are what it says we are, we can have what it says we can have, we can do what it says we can do, and we are going where it says we are going! It is not subject to God making exceptions whenever He theoretically takes a notion to do something different for some reason only known to Himself.

Yes, No & Wait

There’s a very pious-sounding saying running around the organized church for a few years now which goes something like this: “God answers our prayers with yes, no, or wait.” While there is some truth to the saying, many Christians take it way outside of its scriptural limits. Here’s why I say this.


God in the OT and Jesus in the NT repeatedly promise affirmative answers to our prayers. Just a few examples:

Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
James 4:2b

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.2 Corinthians 1:20

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
John 14:14

So that’s the “yes” portion; no problem so far.


Often there is a timing issue involved where God has already answered our prayers in the affirmative, but has some circumstances to arrange, or some character development He needs to complete in us before we see the manifestation of that answer. Sometimes, as exemplified by the prophet Daniel, there is opposition to our answers being delivered to us, demonic powers who oppose the angels tasked with delivering our answer to us. Sometimes, it’s all of them.

That covers the “wait.”

The problem is many people turn their “wait” into a “no,” abdicating their answer by giving up, then blaming it on God by stating He said “no” when the only problem was their adopting an “add-water-and-stir” mentality towards the process. We as a postmodern society have a very short attention span and little or no patience for anything not as quick and easy as a microwave oven or a drive-thru window. Unfortunately, that attitude has permeated the Church, as well, and such an attitude serves us badly.


There are only two times when the Bible says we’ll get a “no” answer to our prayers.

The Epistle of James specifies the first one: when we ask selfishly for the fulfillment of our own flesh.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
James 4:3

The second has to do with the passage in I John 5:14-15 I’ve already quoted above where it says that when we pray according to God’s will He hears and answers us. By corollary, when we pray over a matter against the will of God, He neither hears nor answers.

Many people take that verse in James as a blanket rule proscribing every prayer which would deal with God meeting our own needs and with great — but false! — piety proclaim that, “It’s selfish to pray for ourselves, we should be praying for others.”

Others use that verse as an excuse to give up on their prayers for healing, financial assistance, or other personal issues despite the fact there are numerous promises in the Word where God specifically proclaims His willingness to meet those types of needs in our lives.

The Promises of God

Let’s explore some of these promises, specifically ones concerning salvation, health/healing, divine protection, and financial provision.

Promises of Salvation

First, let’s discuss salvation and what that entails. There are numerous verses in the OT which collectively predict salvation would come to God’s people, the Jews, as well as the Gentiles (the rest of mankind) through a Messiah Who would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem and suffer for the sins of the world. The NT also contains verses collectively stating in no-uncertain-terms that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but these two sum it all up quite nicely:

…there is no other name under heaven given among men by which by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:9-10

No mature Christ-follower contests the Truth and validity of such verses. Indeed, all of them would shout, “Amen!!” to a proclamation that it is impossible to have a vital faith in the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ without accepting these verses as absolute Truth, quoting the verse, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (see Romans 10:17), among others.

Promises of Healing & Protection

However, the theological ballgame changes whenever we start addressing verses such as where it says,

…Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by Whose stripes you were healed.
1 Peter 2:24

Most believers will not even remotely question the first part of the verse as being subject to God’s whims to save or not, but will immediate start waffling on the second half where it starts talking about healing, saying, “Well what if it’s not God’s will to heal me?” instead of taking Him at His clearly written Word it is indeed His will to heal us.

In The Book of Psalms, it says:

No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:10-11

Calvinists who vociferously rise to defend the Truth of salvation in Jesus would say, “Well, God is sovereign and sometimes He lets evil come our way to teach us to be humble or to depend on Him.” or some other such pious-sounding drivel. Again, why would God promise His angelic protection against evil and sickness if He isn’t going to do it?

Elsewhere in Psalms, you will find:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

Again, many would agree that God always “forgives all our iniquities,” “redeems our lives from destruction,” and “crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies,” but when pressed on the issue of “heals all our diseases,” they start hemming and hawing over whether it is always God’s will to heal us.

Promises of Financial Provision

Many of those same folks would also erroneously say, “God keeps me poor in order to keep me humble” despite the fact dozens of times throughout the OT and NT God states He will not only meet our needs, but actually prosper us financially. The following verse promises:

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need, be self-sufficient — possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation.
2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP

Some would explain this away as some sort of spiritual blessing only. But if you follow proper Bible hermeneutical principles, the context of this verse is a monetary offering, so applying this verse to finances is a perfectly — indeed the only — legitimate interpretation.

So Where’s the Line?

Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy and double-standard here? These are just a few such cases. I could cite far more!

So where can we safely draw the line between where God will sovereignly keep His Word and honor His promises, and those where He is permitted to take a notion and not honor them?


Why? Because to believe otherwise puts us squarely in the same seats as those liberal-denomination theologians who water down the Word and say some or all of the Bible is simply mythology and legends, or there are paths to God other than Jesus, or Jesus saved everyone and it doesn’t matter what we believe, or Jesus was just another great teacher like Buddha or Mohammed, or miracles never happened, etc., etc., using human reason to determine what part of God’s Word is true and what is not.

As finite, fallible, and mostly clueless human beings, we don’t have the freedom to make those distinctions. We have only 2 choices:

  1. Believe all of it, or;
  2. Believe none of it!

Thanks for reading!