Two Infinitely Strong and Tender Truths

Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isaiah 46:10)

The word “sovereignty” (like the word “trinity”) does not occur in the Bible. We use it to refer to this truth: God is in ultimate control of the world from the largest international intrigue to the smallest bird-fall in the forest.

Here is how the Bible puts it: “I am God and there is no other. . . . My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isaiah 46:10). “God does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” (Daniel 4:35). “But he is unchangeable and who can turn him? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:13, 14). “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

One reason this doctrine is so precious to believers is that we know that God’s great desire is to show mercy and kindness to those who trust him (Ephesians 2:7; Psalm 37:3–7; Proverbs 29:25). God’s sovereignty means that this design for us cannot be frustrated.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, befalls those who “love God and are called according to his purpose” but what is for our deepest and highest good (Psalm 84:11).

Therefore, the mercy and the sovereignty of God are the twin pillars of my life. They are the hope of my future, the energy of my service, the center of my theology, the bond of my marriage, the best medicine in all my sickness, the remedy of all my discouragements.

And when I come to die (whether sooner or later), these two truths will stand by my bed and with infinitely strong and infinitely tender hands lift me up to God.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

The presence of the Holy Spirit can always be recognized by the way He moves us toward what Jesus would be and do (John 16:7–15). When we inwardly experience the heavenly sweetness and power of life—the love, joy, and peace—that Jesus knew, that is the work of the Spirit in us.

From The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship. Copyright © 2006 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.