In Revelation 19:6, one of the titles ascribed to God is that of Omnipotent. It is a word originating from Latin that means all-powerful. The Greek word that was translated as "omnipotent" is used only in reference to God and primarily found in the book of Revelation. It is translated as "Almighty" in these other passages. In Revelation 4:8 it is used as part of the ceaseless doxology spoken by the four beasts. This signifies that the power of God must rank in importance with His holiness and eternal nature. In this lesson, we will continue our study on the power of God by looking at some examples of His power and the practical application of such knowledge to our daily lives.
I. The Portrayal of His Power
How has God shown His power to man? Let us consider His work in the areas of creation, governing the universe, and in the redemption of his creation.
A. In Creation
Perhaps the most obvious display of God's power can be found in creation. Psalm 19:1 tells us that the firmament shows His handywork. In fact, God Himself uses His creative power to distinguish Himself from false gods. In Jeremiah 10:11, He refers to idols as the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, but in verse 12 the scripture says that God hath made the earth by his power. In order to fully appreciate this power, gaze and wonder at this: In creating something from nothing, God used no tools to get the job done, and took no time to perform it!
When we say that we have made something, it is not at all the same as what God has done in creation. We always start with something and change it into something else when we create something. We must have matter to work with, and in fact, one of the laws of the universe is that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. This is not the case with God. When He created the heavens, He started with nothing. In Genesis 1:1, the heaven and earth were the first of God's creation. They were the foundation upon which He built the rest of His creation. Yet, they were created in the beginning and thus before them, there was nothing (see also Romans 4:17).
What could we make without the use of tools? This is especially evident in this present age of power tools. Yet, God created all that is by the simple act of His will. He commanded there to be light, and there was light. In Psalm 33:6, we find that by the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. What an awesome display of power!
How often have we set our minds to make something, but were not able to start because of a lack of time? Consider this, that when God created all that is, it was instantaneous. When God issued the command "let there be light", there was the immediate response of "there was light". Psalm 148:5 expresses it this way: for he commanded, and they were created. Creation was spread over six days not because it took that long to make everything (remember God is eternal and not subject to time), but because God is a God of order and willed that creation would take place by a set period of time. Note that the above discussion should dispel any belief in theistic evolution. It would be a weak God indeed who could only create by evolving existing matter using second causes and who could only do so after millions of years.
B. In Government
Psalm 66:7 says that God "ruleth by his power for ever". It should be no surprise then to see the power of God in His governing of the universe.
God's power can be seen in the governing over nature in the preservation of life. God did not create the universe by His power and then walk away. By His power, all things are maintained (Acts 17:28). Perhaps the greatest assertion of this can be found in God's promise to Noah that the world would never again be destroyed by a flood. God promised in Genesis 8:22, that while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. How quickly do things decay. A house, for example, is in constant need of maintenance. Dusting, sweeping, cleaning, pest control, weeding, and mowing are things that are all too familiar. How much more is the entire universe in need of maintaining and preserving. Consider that for some 5,000 years, God has upheld His promise through His own power. Though man should be a good steward over God's creation, the earth will not be destroyed by aerosol cans or nuclear weapons. God is preserving and maintaining the heaven and earth until the "day of the Lord" (2 Peter 3:10-13).
God's power can clearly be seen in the moral aspect of His government in the restraint of the malicious nature of Satan and wicked man. If Satan had his way, he would destroy our possessions and leave us covered with boils as he did to Job (remember 1 Peter 5:8). Yet, as evidence of the power of God, Satan has been restrained from his complete desires. Nor are the wicked able to conquer the world. Though Israel has been persecuted for several thousand years, there are still Israelites in the world and in fact they are once again a nation. Though the church has been horribly persecuted and Satan tried with all his power to destroy her, the more she was persecuted the more she flourished. No matter how hard Satan tries, all things are going according to the designs of God. Surely this shows the power of God.
C. In Redemption
In Romans 1:16, Paul called the gospel "the power of God unto salvation". The area of redemption gleams bright with the story of God's power:
The angel told Mary that the "power of the Highest shall overshadow thee" (Luke 1:35). The fact that a virgin conceived a child is in fact a great example of the power of God, but no more than the act of creating Adam from the dust. But the virgin birth is just the tip of the iceberg in this display of power, for the baby that was conceived was not just a man. In Mary's womb, God combined Deity and humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was every bit God in that the blood He shed on Calvary was God's blood (Acts 20:28), and yet He was every bit a man in that He was of the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15, John 1:14). What an awesome display of power to combine such opposites as infinite with finite, immutable with that which changes, and omnipotence with weakness. Imagine if one could join an ice cube with the sun without either one losing its identity or properties. Yet the God-man was an even greater act of power.
The message of redemption was contrary to the wisdom, customs, and sensuality of the world. That man could not enter heaven by his works, that he should turn from his idols and worship the one true God, and that a he should take up a cross and deny his flesh - all this was contrary to the beliefs in force at the time of Christ. Yet the message prevailed as multitudes came to believe in a Savior they had never seen.
The messengers were not noble and dignified with earthly grandeur, but were ignorant and unlearned men. Nor did they spread their message using force of arms. "It met with reproaches from the wise, and fury from the potentates; it was derided by the one as the greatest folly, and persecuted by the other as contrary to God and mankind" (Charnock). Yet, as Luke writes, they had "turned the world upside down". Surely there was great power at work to accomplish the propagation of such a message.
Finally, consider the effect that the gospel has had on its believers. Drunkards have left their alcohol to become upstanding citizens; people who hated one another have become friends; and multitudes have given their lives for the cause of Christ. No power known to man is able to perform such changes. The invisible, inward implanting of a new nature is possible only by the incredible power of an omnipotent God!
II. The Practice of His Power
How can we apply the truth of God's power to our lives? Let us employ this knowledge in the areas of information, comfort, and exhortation:
If infinite power belongs to God, then Jesus must be God because the acts of power which belong to God are ascribed to Christ as well. Creation is said to be an act of Jesus (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16). Satan would not have tempted Christ to turn rocks into bread if Jesus actually had not had the power to do so. Jesus brought several people back from the dead, and demonstrated power over nature through his many other miracles. Then we have Christ's claim concerning His life: "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:18).
If God is all-powerful, there is nothing for which He can want. Sorrow is the result of a lack of power to do what the will desires, but there is nothing that can hinder God's happiness because nothing can resist His power.
How sinners ought to fear the almighty God (Job 37:23-24)! Since there is nothing that He cannot do, their punishment is sealed; His power ensures that their punishment will indeed be torment beyond our comprehension.
For the saint, we should fear no evil (Psalm 23:4). The power of God is able to preserve us from any evil that Satan or the wicked can muster.
What a ground for comfort to consider that God has the power to resurrect the dead! The grave will not be able to hold on to its victory, for God is able to reunite the physical and spiritual parts of a man and bring back life.
We ought to often meditate on the mighty power of God. As Charnock says, "many truths, though assented to in our understandings, are kept under the hatches by corrupt affections, and have not their due influence, because they are not brought forth into the open air of our souls by meditation." Our praise, respect, and trust in God has much to do with our assurance in His power.
God alone is all-powerful and His power is like none other. As Psalm 89:6 exclaims, "For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?" Praise Him for His excellent greatness!