I want to fly. No, not just purchase a ticket and take a seat in 3B. I want to really fly. Put out my arms, jump off the Empire State building, and fly. It isn’t just the fancy of it that appeals to me. Don’t get me wrong, it would be fun, but I have practical reasons too. My commute home from work would be quicker. During those cold Michigan winters it would be nice to fly to Florida for an afternoon. Surely, it would increase my overall health. Others would benefit as well. I could make a quick trip after dinner to see family members in another state and still be home in time to tuck my kids into bed. The benefits are numerous. But as much as I may desire this reality, I cannot make it happen. We can all will something, but it matters very little if we can’t execute the plan to accomplish it. God’s omnipotence speaks of His ability to bring to fruition all that He sovereignly wills.
He is the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 4:8). All things happen according to the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:5, 11). Whatever He wills, He can accomplish. As Jesus says to the disciples, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). He wills to create all things out of nothing and He does (Genesis 1). He wills to divide the Red Sea and He does (Exodus 12). He wills that Christ die for our sins, be buried, and raised on the third day and He does (1 Corinthians 15). What He wills, He accomplishes. Nothing can thwart Him, nothing is beyond Him, and nothing can counteract Him. His power is sufficient and infinite.
But here we must offer a caution. God’s omnipotence always works consistently with His person. As we think of the attributes of God, they are not like different garments He adorns at various times. They do not operate independently from one another. He is holy, righteous, love, true, all-powerful, etc. Therefore, when we speak of his omnipotence it cannot be parceled out from the rest of His attributes or work contrary to them. He is one person. His power is always a holy power, a righteous power, a loving power, a true power. So though God may be all-powerful, he cannot, for example, exercise that power by lying. It is impossible for God to lie the author of Hebrews tells us (Hebrews 6:18). His power is infinite but it always works according to His person. With this in mind, we can offer the slight correction to those who would say, “God can do anything.” God can’t do anything. “With God all things are possible,” but they must be consistent with His person.
For the Christian, there is great comfort in this truth. We serve a God, who none can thwart. This is why He can sit in the heavens and laugh at those who plot against Him (Psalm 2). His will is always accomplished. We need not fear that something will surprise Him or undo His plan for the redemption of His people. He has decreed it and so it shall be. And that power is always hedged and shaped by His holiness, His goodness, His love, and His justice. He never exercises this power on a whim. He will never decree anything that is unjust. He accomplishes all His purposes according to His will. How terrible it would be if God was all powerful and yet lacked goodness or love or justice. But equally how terrible it would be if He had love, goodness, and justice but lacked the power to enact them.
We serve an all-powerful God. Therefore, we can rest easy at night knowing He upholds the universe by the power of His Word (Hebrews 1:3). We can rest in our salvation knowing that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). We can rest in His providence, knowing that He can do far more abundantly than all that we ask, or think according to power at work within us(Ephesians 3:20). We can rest in assurance knowing that neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:39). He has all-power to accomplish His will. And according to His grace, He chooses to ordain His will for our very good. How good it is to serve such an omnipotent God.
This article first appeared in Theology for Life Winter 2016-2017 Issue. To download the rest of the issue click here.