Could you imagine having the knowledge and wisdom to deem all that is good, but lack the ability to actually execute that which is good? Or perhaps having the ability to be boundless and not constrained by time or space, but lack the power to perform? Sounds a bit illogical, right?
Fortunately, the God we serve is not only all-knowing (omniscient) and infinite (omnipresent), but he is also all-powerful (omnipotent). Webster’s dictionary defines omnipotence as “having virtually unlimited authority or influence”. God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence all operate perfectly in cooperation with one another. There is absolutely no separation between his presence, knowledge, and ability to act. By his power, God perfectly executes all he deems good.
Omnipotence is an incommunicable attribute that belongs solely to God. While humans can exercise some degree of power, human power is always predicated on someone or something. Unlike man, God’s power is never contingent on anything or anyone else. He is the end all within himself. The great theologian Charles H. Spurgeon once said:
“God’s power is like Himself, self-existent, self-sustained. The mightiest of men cannot add so much as a shadow of increased power to the Omnipotent One. He sits on no buttressed throne and leans on no assisting arm. His court is not maintained by His courtiers, nor does it borrow its splendor from His creatures. He is Himself the great central source and Originator of all power.”
Simply put, God’s power is just that: His power! It can never be diminished, distorted, restricted, defeated, or thwarted. Nothing can change what God has willed to come to pass, not even man! After a moment of doubt during his time of suffering, Job repented and said, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job’s expression echoes the fundamental truth that God solely possesses the ability to bring his plans and purpose to fruition.
From Genesis 1 through Revelation 22, God’s Power is evidently seen. When God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), it happened instantly. When the Israelites needed a way to escape from the Egyptians, he parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14). And when God’s people needed salvation from sin, God sent his son Jesus Christ (John 3:16); for none are saved apart from God’s will (1 Timothy 2:4).
The Bible in its entirety is a testament to the magnificent power and glory of God. What I find most encouraging and assuring about God’s power is I can firmly rest in his ability to overcome any circumstance according to his will. God is not bound by a time-frame, or limited by dire situations.
According to Scripture, Sarah (in her old age) laughed when God promised she would be the matriarch of many nations (Genesis 18:11-12). Perhaps Sarah laughed because she was long past the childbearing age. Or maybe she laughed because she had already waited so long to bear a child, and it appeared that time was almost up. Whatever the reason, Sarah’s pessimism is a result of her focusing more on seeming obstacles as opposed to the perfect power of God over all things. Truly, nothing is too hard for him!
One of the hardest concepts to grasp is the relation between God’s omnipotence and man’s abilities. If God is all-powerful, then what is the point in exercising any human effort? Although the relationship may initially seem a bit dichotomous, Scripture supports that there is a harmonious tension between the two.
In Philippians 2:12-13, we are told, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” God works in and through us to fulfill his sovereign plan. But it is important to note God does not use his power in a manner that is inconsistent with his character on the whole. The execution of his power on accomplishes that which is good (Romans 8:28).
John MacArthur writes, “although God controls by divine decree and sovereign power everything that goes on in the world according to His own purposes, that does not remove one iota of culpability from those who do evil. Evildoers do evil not because they are forced to, but by their own evil intent.”