What Does It Mean that God Is Sovereign?

By Chip Ingram

In this article based on Chip Ingram’s sermon series The Real God, you’ll explore how to experience true peace and explore God’s sovereign character. 

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The Bible describes God as one who is sovereign. But what does that really mean?

I don’t know about you, but the first time I heard the word sovereign, it didn’t register with me. I was a new Christian in a Bible study in college, and some tragic news had come to us about a member in our group. One girl in the Bible study said, “I know it’s a terrible situation, but I know God is sovereign.”

And being the smart, intelligent, spiritual guy that I was, I thought to myself, “What in the world does that mean?” I had never heard the phrase “God is sovereign” in my life.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, I discovered that if someone is sovereign, he’s “the boss.” He calls the shots and has the authority. He’s “the king.”

Ready for more? Watch The Real God series on YouTube.

God Is King

As I investigated further, I learned that God makes numerous claims about himself in the Bible and points to himself as the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. God claims to be the King, not just of this planet, but also of the entire universe.

He is without equal: he is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, without limitation in any way. He is outside of time. He is infinite. He had no beginning and he has no end. He is the ruler of everything.

He existed before anything else and He holds all creation together.(Colossians 1:17)

God Is In Control

When I think of sovereignty, the phrase I like best is that “God is in control.” And that’s such a comfort.

Here’s why. When a loved one lies in a hospital bed, God is in control. When we think of our most difficult times with a child, God is in control. When a close friend is in ICU, God is in control. When the economy — national or personal — is on a slide, God is in control.

God’s sovereignty means that there isn’t anything that will enter your life that God does not either decree or allow. And nothing will ever enter your life that, if you are willing to trust in him, he cannot work out for your good.

In light of this, how do you typically respond when things are out of your control, when stuff happens you don’t like but can’t do anything about?

When you’re in a jam and you need to ask God for something in prayer — are you aware of whom you’re talking to?

The one to whom you pray has power over the entire universe, over every single atom, and yet he is infinitely loving and he cares about you. That’s who you’re talking to.

That’s also why we worship him.

God is more powerful, more loving, and more in control than we’ve ever imagined. The more we begin to see God as he longs for us to see him, the more our prayers will change and our faith will be transformed. We will experience peace like never before.

To learn more about God’s character and his sovereignty, take advantage of our Real God Family DevotionalThis free resource offers a series of videos along with a downloadable discussion guide to help you and your family begin to explore who God really is, what He really thinks about us, and how we can know Him better.

Watch the third video in The Real God Family Devotional series: Micro Macro.



Written By

Chip Ingram

Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge

Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

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