God is Able

When life is heavy, cold, and hard, the first questions to arise in one’s mind are, “Where is God?” and “Is He able to help?” Questioning God’s power is nothing new. God comes with pestilence before Him and plague behind Him, and the prophet claims God is still hiding His power (Hab 3:4)! Darkness shrouded the earth when the Son of God suffered at the Cross. Where was God on the day of greatest need for His only begotten Son? Was He able to help?

Sometimes the issue is not power and ability, God is doing something else: His will. God’s ways are higher than the ways of men (Is 55:9). Jesus said, “For nothing will be impossible with God (Lk 1:37).” We must establish the premise: God is able. If God were willing, but not able, then He would be too weak to be God. He could not possibly warrant our trust in Him. Power and might are in the hand of the Lord (2 Chron 20:6).

Christians place their trust in Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh (Jn 1:1, 14). In God’s Word are His promises to His covenant people. It is the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, who brings to remembrance God’s promises. This is why the word, “remember,” is so prominent in the biblical text. Christians trust Christ Jesus for our justification (Rom 4–5), but we continue to trust Him for our sanctification (Rom 6–8), even to the point of death, the door to glory. What God has promised, He is able to perform (Rom 4:21). Abraham believed God was able to raise people from the dead (Heb 11:19), and so did the psalmist (Ps 49:15).

Yahweh displays His power in creating everything (Jer 32:17). God has the power to deliver His people from oppressors (1 Sam 10:18). We look to Yahweh (2 Chron 20:12), our very present help in times of need (Ps 46:1). He has the power to help and to bring down (2 Chron 25:8). He gives His power to His people (Ps 68:35). God gives power to make wealth (Dt 8:18). King Asa trusted the power of God to deliver Judah at war (2 Chron 14:11), but His power and anger are against those who forsake Him (Ezra 8:22). Yahweh unleashes His power in judgment (Amos 1:8). Truly, God is exalted in His power (Job 36:22).

God’s name is intimately connected to His power (Ps 54:1), because power itself belongs to Yahweh (Ps 62:11). God’s power is called, “great” (Ps 66:3). God’s people declare His power in all generations (Ps 71:18), as Daniel did in Babylon, “Daniel said, ‘Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him (Dan 2:20).”

God’s power is sovereign power; for Yahweh sits in the heavens and does what He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). Jesus claimed God is able to transform rocks into children of Abraham (Mt 3:9; Lk 3:8). Our Lord reproved the religious leaders on His day of triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Jn 12). Those who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead were shouting praise to Jesus and about Jesus, “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” When the objection from the religious leaders was addressed, Jesus revisited this subject of rocks, “I tell you, if these become silent, the rocks will cry out (Lk 19:40).”

God is able to establish people in the faith through preaching the Gospel (Rom 16:25), even though it is foolishness to the Greeks and to Post-Modern men (1 Cor 1:18). This power in the act of preaching the Gospel (Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 2:4), bears witness to Christ (Acts 1:8), bringing conviction (1 Thess 1:5) and strength to the inner man (Eph 3:16). Three thousand souls were converted on the day of Pentecost, at Jerusalem (Acts 2:41), and five thousand more people believed the preaching of the Gospel soon after (Acts 4:4).

God’s sovereignty in salvation is seen in what He alone is able to do. God is able to save from death (Heb 5:7). Both Enoch and Elijah were translated to heaven without tasting bodily death. The regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, in His work of conversion, is resurrection power in the souls of men. The renovation of the heart and the transformation of the soul, along with the renewing of the believer’s mind, are powerful demonstrations of Christ raising to life those who were dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1, 5; Col 2:13; 1 Pet 3:18). All of God’s people are saved from the second death (Rev 2:11; 20:6), which is eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).

God is able to graft in branches broken off the vine (Rom 11:23). Paul’s reference, in his letter to the church at Rome, pertains to the Jews. If the Jews had failed in attaining their own righteousness before God (Rom 2), being cut off from the life of God, there was still hope for them. This hope rested in Yahweh, the Vine dresser, who could pick them up and graft them into Christ, the True Vine (Jn 15:1). Zacchaeus was visited by Jesus and granted salvation the same day (Lk 19:1–10). At the preaching of the Word in Jerusalem, a great many priests were becoming obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7).

Christ is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Heb 7:25). Christ, the wisdom of God and the power of God, is our Savior (Dan 2:20; 1 Cor 1:24; Tit 3:4–7). He is mighty to save (Is 63:1). In this, we note the power of the Trinity. Each member of the Godhead possesses the power of God. This is understood by the power required for Creation and displayed by each Person’s part in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:24; Jn 10:18; Rom 8:11). Paul wrote of this power, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom 8:11).” Note the Trinity and the power of the resurrection (Phil 3:10), which the early church preached with great power (Acts 4:33).

Because Christ has overcome the world (Jn 16:33), we overcome the world by faith (1 Jn 5:4). This is the essence of our position of right standing before Almighty God: we have someone else’s righteousness. The imputed righteousness of the Righteous One is our justification before a holy God. The Christian’s faith rests entirely on Jesus Christ and His perfect work, which was displayed with great power and ability throughout His life, death, resurrection, ascension, enthronement, and current rule with all authority (Eph 1:21). This is Almighty power and authority, which has rendered Satan powerless, even in his power over death (Heb 2:14).

Christians need the power of God for sanctification, too. The Christian’s life abounds when it is lived in the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13). The Holy Spirit’s power manifests in love and discipline (2 Tim 1:7). Each Christian has a personal, internal war with sin (Rom 7). Christ is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted, since He was tempted in the same way (Heb 2:18). God is able to keep you from stumbling, and He is able to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy (Jude 1:24).

God and His word are able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32). The power of an inheritance must begin with the possession. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps 24:1). Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth (Mt 5:5). Why are God’s people gentle? Because they are in the flock of an all-powerful, Shepherd King, who makes them lie down in green pastures (Ps 23). Lying down is an unnatural position for a defenseless creature. When Christians are gentle, it magnifies our faith in the power and ability of our Good Shepherd (see my article: Gentleness).

As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, God the Spirit is in us working mightily to will and to do God’s good pleasure (Phil 2:12–13). He who began a good work in you, will surely bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). In other words, God is able to keep what is entrusted to Him, until the day of His coming for us (2 Tim 1:12).

God is able to make all grace abound to you in everything (2 Cor 9:8). God’s power comes to His people through grace. Paul wrote the Philippians, “I can do all things, through Christ, who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).” He was recounting the discipline required for his own sanctification. Paul’s circumstances were like a roller coaster. He learned to be content, which helps immensely with gentleness. When plagued with a thorn in his side (some problem Paul could not solve), God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness (2 Cor 12:9).” This is very encouraging for us in times of irresolvable problems. We can boast in the power of Christ at work in us.

God is able to do above what we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Eph 3:20), but He is not always willing. When we see one of God’s own under great discipline, we must be cautious with our opinions (see Job and friends). This is God’s work zone. Paul was too quick to hinder John Mark’s ministry (Acts 15:39). While God was growing and sustaining John Mark, who proved useful to Paul, Demas was not preserved (2 Tim 4:10–11). Our lesson here is to help people minister, not hinder or deny them, and let God arrange their testing.

God’s Word is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12); therefore, because He is in heaven, and we are on earth, our words should be few (Eccl 5:2). The Lord is able to make His servants stand, which is a good reason not to judge them (Rom 14:4). Job came out of God’s obstacle course for his reward. Moses was on the Mount of Transfiguration, in the Promised Land, after his course. Paul was taken to the third heaven (2 Cor 12:2), even before his course was over, and this is why he was ready to go be with the Lord (Phil 1:23). God is able to preserve His saints.

Finally, Jesus wanted to know whether the blind men believed He was able to give them sight (Mt 9:27–30). They did believe, and He gave them their sight. You have read here of God’s ability and power to accomplish His will. Are you trusting in Him to accomplish what concerns you (Ps 57:2; 138:8)? Today, are you resting in His providence? He knows the trouble you are in, and He knows your heart for Him, for better or worse. Our task of faith never changes, “Call upon the name of the Lord, and you shall be saved (Joel 2:32; Rom 10:13).” The unbeliever never does this, but the believer never ceases to do this. Why? Because God is able.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

April 6, 2021


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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher