Enthroned over the Cross

There are hard things that happen in the world. Though the gospel has had a great affect on many peoples, many other peoples haven’t heard the gospel or received the gospel. Sinful men, left to themselves, destroy themselves, destroy one another, and destroy society.

God sent a flood to destroy the destroyers and, to David, this was a reason to sing about God’s sovereignty. It was also a reason to sing about how the same God gives strength and peace to His people.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!
(Psalm 29:10–11)

The sinfulness of man was hard, so was God’s punishment. The LORD was in charge before, during, and after the global flood; the flood sat at His feet, so to speak. This heightens our fear of the Lord and, even more, deepens our faith in Him.

The apostles preached about the crucifixion with the same affirmation of the Lord’s control.

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23)

The unjust torture and murder of Jesus was hard. But the Lord was in charge before, during, and after Good Friday. It was carried out according to His plan. And it is hard but good news for our faith. We could sing today:

The Lord sits enthroned over the cross; The Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to His people! May the Lord bless His people with peace!

Not one hair of your head, one sparrow in the sky, one drop of rain, one drop of Jesus’ blood, falls apart from your Father (Matthew 10:29-31). He has purchased your strength, not a story that doesn’t require it. He has purchased your peace, not a life without enemies or hard things. Eat and drink in remembrance of His authority and His gifts to you.

Motivation for Obedience

We believe that God is God meaning that He does whatever He pleases (see Psalm 135:6). We believe that He controls everything, from ants in driveway cracks to the color of lights on the White House. We also believe that God writes all things into existence for His glory, and in light of His unmatched wisdom and power, we would be right to conclude that what we see around us is ultimately the best way for Him to be seen as great.

One practical sanctification question for those with straight theology about God’s sovereignty is this: If God is in control, and if He gets glory whether I obey or not, then why should I pursue obedience or be concerned when I sin?

Most Christians who are savvy enough to ask this already know that God commands righteousness. He explicitly said, “Don’t sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1) even though more grace would seem to bring Him more glory. Yet sometimes this simple order doesn’t satisfy all the way down. We still might question if the sovereign God isn’t at least a little disingenuous.

God does desire His glory. He also desires our obedience. He also gets glory when we don’t obey. But when we don’t obey, we don’t have joy.

God told Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). God was and still is honored through Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness but this didn’t make Pharaoh feel better. God wrote Judas’ part in the gospel story (Matthew 26:24) and must be praised for it, but Judas did not get joy. God gets glory, in some way, even when we sin, but we do not get joy.

This is yet another evidence that we are not robots, that God desires more from us than a warm body to play a part. If you are holding onto sin, especially if you are trying justify it theologically, confess and repent motivated by a desire for joy. We pray like David, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Everything brings God glory, but not everything brings us joy. He offers us both.