God's Throne Is Different

When we say things like, "God is on the throne," and assume that must mean that God is in absolute control of every situation, we are ignoring the God that Jesus revealed to us.

Yes, God is on the throne. And therefore I worship God with my life, I acknowledge God as creator, and I put my hope in God's plan for the redemption and reconciliation of all things.

However, God being on the throne does not mean that "everything is going according to God's plan," or that "God has perfect control over every situation." That kind of thinking applies humanity's ideas about power—of control, coercion, and manipulation—onto God.

God shows us what real divine power is actually like in the person of Jesus. It's self-sacrificing, self-giving. Philippians 2 makes it clear: the nature of divinity is not "unlimited cosmic powers," but of self-emptying, self-humbling, others-oriented love.

The character who sits on the throne in the book of Revelation is a lamb, covered in His own blood, shed for the sake of others. This throne is not one of absolute power. It's a throne of sacrifice, a throne of mercy.

This God who sits on the throne of self-giving love has given creation and humanity say-so in what happens here on earth. Our will, our desires, our volition has real impact on the world. God simply does not always get what God wants. God allows creation to get what creation wants. The work of Christian spiritual formation, then, is to conform our desires to God's desires. But again, this is a work of cooperation, not divine coercion.

So, when we say, "God is on the throne," the "therefore" after that statement cannot be, "So we just hope it all works out for the best!" It cannot be, "God is on the throne, so this must be all according to God's plan." No, it's not. If all this is all according to God's plan, we forfeit our ability to say that God is recognizably good.

God is on the throne...and from that throne God has granted humans the ability to wreak havoc...or to work with God for good. To destroy lives...or to work for reconciliation.

God is on the throne, therefore I will commit myself to cooperating with God's love, to work for the well-being of all creation.

God is on the throne, therefore I will call out evil when I see it, and work to remove its influence from the world.

God is on the throne and from that throne, Jesus emptied Himself and gave His life for the sake of others. Therefore, I will follow Jesus' example and seek to do the same.

Anthony Parrott

Anthony Parrott

Washington, DC