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I have spoken with many Christians over the years who have told me that when they finally came to grasp the sovereignty of God in salvation, they felt as if they were converted to Christ a second time. The reality is that for many people who feel that way, it is actually their first conversion to Christ. For it is only when we come to understand who God truly is that we come to understand ourselves—that we were dead in sin and that God by His sovereign will made us alive in Christ by the Holy Spirit. When we realize that our salvation is all because of God’s amazing grace, our eyes are opened. We see not only that God saved us but also how He saved us as the Spirit helps us reflect on everything that God has been orchestrating throughout our lives to bring about our salvation.
As Christians, we know there is really no such thing as luck, chance, or fate. We understand that providence is not the Christian synonym for coincidence. We know that everything happens for a reason, and unlike unbelievers who often say the same thing, we actually know the God who is in control of all things. We know the ultimate reason that everything happens: God’s glory and our ultimate, eternal good. As Christians, we cannot help but believe that God is sovereign, for if we don’t believe in His sovereignty, we don’t actually believe that God is God. And if we believe in the sovereignty of God, we must also believe in the providence of God. Though sovereignty and providence are inseparably related, they are not the same. Simply put, God’s providence is the active outworking of God’s sovereignty in everything. Thus, there are no good providences or bad providences, happy or hard providences, but simply providence.
The problem is that many Christians do not rightly understand how God in His providence actually does all that He does. How often do Christians speak of the providence of God in connection with extraordinary things while failing to recognize God’s providence in all the little things in life? We must recognize that everything that happens in all of creation is in some way the result of God’s providence, and we must also recognize that our triune God’s providential governance of all His creatures and all creation does not make Him the author or approver of sin. There is glorious mystery in this, yet it is what God has revealed about Himself. Instead of causing us to blame God, it makes us cast ourselves wholly upon Him as we live before His face, coram Deo, now and forever, all for His glory and His glory alone.