What Does it Mean That God Is Omnipotent?
When we understand that God, our Creator and Savior, is omnipotent, our chaotic and constantly changing world doesn’t seem quite so scary. No matter how vulnerable or ill-equipped we feel, no matter the challenges and problems we face, we can rest in this truth: God is matchless in power, unconquerable, and always victorious. This God, the omnipotent, all-knowing, all-loving and faithful King, reigns over all and holds us securely in His hand. Understanding this helps us stand, unshakable, above all that threatens to defeat and destroy us.
What does it mean that God is omnipotent?
When one says God is omnipotent (omni-all, potent—power) they are proclaiming that He not only has ultimate power over all things but He is also the source of all power. Though He sets limits on all of creation, He Himself is limitless in strength, wisdom, love, holiness, and the ability to perform His sovereign will.
He is the initiator of all that exists, the only uncaused entity in all of creation. Though His power is unfathomable, we can catch a glimpse of His might by considering all He has made. Colossians 1:16 says He made all things—every planet, beam of light, law of nature, and human heart.
Psalm 19:1-4 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim His craftsmanship. Day after day they pour fourth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. … Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
In other words, the universe reveals the awesomeness of God. He spoke, and trillions of galaxies burst forth, each containing billions of stars. Consider R136a1, the most massive and brightest star in the known universe. With a luminosity of 8,700,000 solar units, it is 8,700,000 more powerful than our sun. Now consider that our sun provides all of earth’s energy and burns at about 14 million degrees at its core.
Every solar unit and degree received its power from God and wouldn’t exist if not for Him.
God is bigger than our problems
When storms hit and the ground beneath us feels ready to give way, we can rest in peace, knowing God Almighty, the omnipotent One, stands beside us. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save us,” and in Psalm 27:1, David, Israel’s second king prayed, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
What this means:
In some translations, David says the Lord is his fortress, his strength, or defense. The idea here is of a strong, well-fortified tower that provided protection when people, especially the king, came under attack. Most cities were built on hilltops, which allowed residents and, most importantly, soldiers, to view the surrounding countryside for miles. Therefore, they could see raiding enemies long before they reached the city’s borders.
God's Omnipotence is our ultimate place of safety
In the same way, God reigns high above every force and views the past, present, and future as if each were unfolding today. Scripture tells us every day of our lives are recorded in His book. This means He knows every attack we’ll encounter and challenge we’ll face. But He doesn’t just warn us of approaching danger. He protects us as well, hiding us in Him just as ancient man hid within a city’s strong tower.
The fortress or citadel was mankind’s last and greatest defense. To reach him there, the raiding army first had the climb the hill to the city, then they had to broach the city’s walls, which could be 10-12 feet thick and 14 feet tall. If their enemies broke through that, the townspeople could flee to an often double-walled tower in the center of this city. This was their fortress.
Similarly, King David said this was how God protected him. In order to get to him, the enemy needed to climb the hill, break through the outer walls, continue to the inner city, and infiltrate the double fortified protection of the inner tower.
What this means:
When you feel frightened and threatened by forces beyond your control, remember you are hidden in Christ. He is your strong tower, your fortress. Resting firmly in God, David goes on to say, “When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (Psalm 27:2-3a).
How could David say that? Because he understood God’s power and made Him, not his circumstances or even his own strength, his ultimate place of safety.
God's omnipotence reigns over nations
Several years ago, when ISIS first became known, I found myself growing increasingly anxious. Television broadcasts and my Facebook feed was filled with sensationalized articles and horrific pictures, all suggesting this terrorist group would soon dominate the world. Watching everything unfold, I allowed my fears to grow bigger than everything I knew to be true.
To regain my peace, I had to turn my television off, open my Bible, and re-center myself in Christ. As I did I was reminded that although groups like ISIS and all who’d come before and would come after appeared invincible, they weren’t and never would be a match for Christ.
God created the nations, brought one to power and reduced another, and has consistently shown His sovereignty over world history. Consider the nation of Israel. They emerged from an infertile couple who left their homeland to follow God into the unknown (Genesis 12.) This couple eventually had a child named Isaac who had a son named Jacob whose sons later became the twelve tribes of Israel.
When these people became oppressed by one of the most powerful nations in the ancient world, God liberated them through a series of miraculous plagues then swept their enemies into the Red Sea (Exodus 4:18-15). Of this time, Scripture says, “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and His army He has hurled into the sea ... Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy” (Exodus 15:3-6).
What this means:
When we find ourselves surrounded by enemies or trapped in a dangerous spot, we often search for help from others. If only we had the right weapons or police standing beside us or the right leader standing over us, then we’d be safe. But Scripture says differently. Speaking to the same nation He’d once liberated from their cruel oppressors, God said, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help” or seek refuge from others, “who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord” (Isaiah 31:1).
Through this passage, God isn’t saying it’s wrong to seek help from others. He’s reminding us that we must place our ultimate trust in Him. He is the only One who has the power to protect us, and whatever protection we do receive comes from Him.
God's omnipotence dominates the forces of evil
The Bible tells us evil exists, and our news headlines verify this is true. When we learn of school shootings, of child kidnappings, of abuse and wars and the threat of war, it may feel as if evil is winning.
But it isn’t, it can’t, and it won’t. In fact, it’s already been conquered by our omnipotent, sovereign, all-knowing, and all-loving God. Prior to His death, Jesus said, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). Jesus Himself was about to take that judgment, the judgment you and I deserved. And though God demonstrated His authority over Satan and his demons when God expelled him from heaven, Christ’s death defeated and shamed the powers of darkness.
Colossians 2:14-15 says, “[God] has taken [your debt] away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities [of evil,] He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
What this means:
No matter how dark life feels now, goodness, light, and hope will prevail. No matter how strong your sin feels or heavy your guilt and shame, God’s grace has the power to conquer all. He who defeated the sin and death, who made a mockery of Satan and his lackies, can break the chains shackling you. He has the power to grant you complete spiritual freedom, and He’ll do so, if you ask.
God's omnipotence is more powerful than illness
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus routinely demonstrated His power over the human body and any ailment we might suffer. In Matthew 8, He healed a man with leprosy, which was, at that time, an incurable disease. In that same chapter, He healed a disciple’s mother-in-law who’d been in bed with a fever. He cast out demons (Matthew 8:16), enabled a paralytic to walk (Matthew 9), brought sight to the blind (Mark 10:46-52), and raised the dead to life (Matthew 9:18-26, John 11:1-44).
What this means:
These truths are even more comforting when we recognize His power is embodied in perfect love and wisdom. This means His heart is for us, He knows what’s best for us, and He has the ability to give us that best. He who formed our every cell, who saw us when our being first emerged in our mother’s womb, can restore, strengthen and heal us. He has the power to perfect that which concerns us (Psalm 138:8). Therefore, we can trust Him to care for our every need, knowing He is bigger than our greatest health scare or most debilitating condition. His role is to guide, protect, restore, and provide. Ours is to listen, trust, surrender, and obey.
What God's omnipotence can't do
When we speak of God’s omnipotence, we’re discussing God’s limitless power to live out His unchanging character and make good on His promises. In other words, His omnipotence is contained in and expressed through His righteousness, love, mercy, truth, and grace. He cannot and will not do anything contradictory to who He is or what He’s said. For example, Titus 1:2 assures us that He cannot lie, He can’t be tempted by evil nor will He tempt us, and He cannot change. In fact, one could say, He has the power to remain exactly as He is for all time. He will always be good, loving, faithful, and true.
God’s power will never diminish, nor will His heart for us. Therefore, we can say, with confidence, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies” (Psalm 118:6-7).
Whether those enemies are internal, perhaps a terrifying diagnosis, or external, like a hurricane that’s bearing down, we can tuck ourselves under the protective wings of our Father, knowing He is bigger and stronger than whatever we might face. More than that, He has promised to remain. No matter how chaotic our circumstances, how tumultuous the world, and how uncertain our future feels, we can stand sure and strong knowing we belong to the God who retains power over all.
- Eternal Perspective Ministries, epm.org
- desiringGod, desiringGod.org
- Bible Study Tools, biblestudytools.com
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.
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