NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: Isaiah 6:1-5; 1 Peter 1:13-16

Discussion Questions:
— What freedom of choice does every person have or not have? How can human free will and God’s sovereignty both exist at the same time?
— Why must we recognize our unholiness before we can gain a knowledge of holy God?
— How should we respond to the absolute sovereignty and holiness of God?

Food for thought:

Sovereign. Holy. We might toss these words around in reference to God. But how much do we understand them? How much do we think about what they mean when attributed to God? How frequently — or infrequently, as the case might be — do we consider the implications of these attributes of God on our own lives?

Few of us have ever lived under a governmental system with a sovereign ruler. For that matter, few of us have relatives or friends who have lived under such a system and could tell us about it.

Even many people who recognize a monarch and apply the term to that person use it more out of tradition and honor, more as a title than an actual description. Many monarchs of our day have some form of checks and balances on their power; they aren’t really “sovereign” at all. The sphere of their power is limited, and their power within that sphere is limited as well.

So when we contemplate the sovereignty of God, we must go beyond anything we can observe, any model we might choose to help us comprehend such an unfathomable concept. God’s sovereignty has no geographical boundaries and faces no threats from ambitious armies. He need not coordinate any action with a prime minister nor win the approval of various and competing political parties. His sovereignty does not depend on the will of the people nor take advice from public opinion pollsters. He is, in the fullest sense of the word, sovereign.

Equally beyond our ability to grasp is God’s holiness. Just as God’s sovereignty requires that there is no weakness in His power and authority, so His holiness requires that there is no fault in His righteousness and ethic.

Were we able to identify the most righteous, upright, just and ethical believer of our time, that person’s holiness would be no more than a vague hint of the holiness of God. He does not conform to a standard of holiness, but is the standard. When we begin to glimpse the sovereignty and holiness of God, there is but one thing for us to do. Worship Him in surrender.


MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources