Over the next while I will post an essay I wrote in honor of John G. Reisinger which is published by New Covenant Media in a book called, Ministry of Grace: Essays in Honor of John G. Reisinger. The book is edited by Steve West and is available from New Covenant Media. I was asked to write on the practical implications of the sovereignty of God as someone who greatly benefited from and appreciated John's ministry.These issues continue to be relevant today in spite of the increased acceptance of the concept of God's sovereignty in Christian theology. It is one thing to intellectually apprehend this truth, quite another to live it out. To help Christians do just that I am posting this essay.
I first heard of John Reisinger in connection with the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. It was at a time in my life when my parents were coming to understand what are popularly known as “the doctrines of grace.” Although I had been involved in evangelical circles since I was a boy, and I had heard many wonderful things about God and his way of salvation, I distinctly remember the summer when the “sovereignty of God” became part of my theological vocabulary forever. For me, from the very beginning, the sovereignty of God was something glorious to be celebrated. The mind-expanding idea that God was in control of all things, that he had a plan that embraced all things, that he was working out all things according to that plan, and that nothing would ever frustrate that plan; came home to me with clarity and power. And even though I was not yet a Christian, it seemed entirely reasonable to me that if there was a God, this is what he must be like. In fact, anything else seemed completely unworthy of the one who made the universe in the beginning and continues to sustain it now by his infinite power.
My next recollection of John Reisinger is the time some years later when he was staying at my parents’ home in Burlington, Ontario, while he was preaching in the area. By this time I was a Christian and attending Bible School. I had started to read various theological books and was struggling with the place of the Mosaic Law in the life of a Christian. When I told John about my struggles he sat me down and we talked at length about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. To this day, I look back on that time as a turning point in my life. Several key features of the biblical revelation fell into place and I began to see and understand in a new way how everything in the Bible finds its focus in Jesus Christ. Since then it has been my joy to read the Bible christologically, and as I have reflected on these two incidents over the years, I have often thought how they themselves illustrate the great truth that God is sovereign in all of his dealings with us. He leads and directs us according to his own will in his own time. Furthermore, as I have gone through life, I have also discovered that the sovereignty of God is a very practical doctrine. Not only is it something that is clearly revealed in the Scriptures from the beginning to the end, but it is something that every Christian needs to understand if they are to reach maturity in Christ and be useful in the kingdom of God.
To be continued in my next post...