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What does it mean that God is omnipotent?

Omnipotent is one mouthful of a word, but it is one of the words that describes the Creator of the Universe, so let's take note. Have you ever wondered how God's omnipotence may affect your life? If we recognize that God has ultimate power, then that should take a lot of pressure off, right? Why do we attempt to control our circumstances and problems when God is in control? How should we live if we believe in the omnipotence of God? What impact should God's omnipotence have on our everyday lives and how we view God?

The Meaning of Omnipotent

Omnipotent is one of the three "omni" words that describe God: omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at once), and omnipotent. The first part of the word, omni, is Latin and simply means: "all." As you may have already guessed, potent means "power."

God is the most powerful being there ever has been or ever will be—forever and ever. He created the world and every man and beast by simply speaking them into existence (Genesis 1-2; John 1:3)! The word "omnipotent" is not found in the Bible, but it IS a word that theologians (people who study God) use to help us understand this characteristic of God. The concept of God's all-encompassing power is found throughout the Bible, beginning with creation in Genesis and ending with Revelation, the last book of the Bible, where God forever defeats the devil and reigns for eternity (Revelation 1:8).

Is there anything God can't do?

Yes. Well, it's not so much a matter of "can't" but rather "won't." When the Bible says God "can't" do something, it is a choice God has made. Because of God's own moral perfection, there are some things that He absolutely will not do. God will not sin (Job 37:23). God will not lie (Hebrews 6:18). God is love, truth, holy, good, etc., therefore He will remain faithful to all the qualities that make Him God (James 1:17).

God does not cause evil, but there are times when He will allow it for the purpose of fulfilling His good objectives. This doesn't mean He's not in control. Sometimes He will allow evil events to unfold as a part of the story, such as when He allowed Satan to "test" Job's faith or when He allowed the murder of Jesus for the redemption of mankind. We won't always understand what He's doing, but we can be assured that nothing happens without God's good purposes somewhere behind it (Proverbs 3:5; Romans 8:28). (Also see: Why do bad things happen to good people?)

When Jesus sacrificed His life for us, He exhibited His power over death by destroying it (1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 2:14) and restoring our relationship with God. Jesus had the power to willingly give His life AND the power to bring Himself back from the dead (John 2:19; John 19:11). Jesus could have called for help, could have spared Himself the pain by summoning angels to rescue Him, could have stopped it all, yet He humbly offered His life as a sacrifice for US (Matthew 26:53; Philippians 2:1-11).

That's really good news for us, because God is so powerful that we can count on Him to stay Himself—always! God cannot be led astray, distracted, pressured, or lose His power or focus (Psalm 62:11). We can't say the same for humans, as our moods and desires can change from day to day, as well as our energy levels. But not with God. God’s power is above all and always aimed toward His glory and His great love for us.

How is God’s omnipotence important to my life?

Are things or people in your life constantly changing? Maybe the changes aren't necessarily bad, but maybe they caught you off guard or surprised you. You can find comfort in knowing that God wants to be your one friend who never changes and can be relied upon to do what's best for your heart. You can count on Him to stay 100% completely powerful and in control of the world, creation, life and death, governments, weather, and even the little things that are important to you (Psalm 36:6; Job 38:8-11; Daniel 2:21; Mark 6:30-44; Mark 4:37-41; John 11:38-44; Mark 5:35-43).

God’s omnipotence is complex and wonderful, yet so simple to depend on. Knowing that God is omnipotent can give you the courage and confidence to live as He designed you to live. Knowing that God has ultimate power and authority over everything and every circumstance can be very freeing and empowering (Colossians 1:16-17; Ephesians 3:20). God is holding everything safely in His hand. Even when things seem to be going badly, we can rest in the knowledge that He will stay faithful to His promises and no one will overthrow Him or thwart His plans (Job 42:2). The Heavens will declare His power into eternity (Revelation 19:1).

“All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'” —Daniel 4:35

And you know what's even crazier? As sons and daughters of the omnipotent God, WE have access to His power (2 Corinthians 12:9b)! God’s power is what holds us in a state of grace despite our sin (2 Timothy 1:12). God's power keeps us from falling (Jude 24). Even in our weakest moments, God's power shines because He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

TL;DR

Omnipotent simply means "all powerful." As in, God is the most powerful being there ever has been or ever will be. The concept of God's all-encompassing power is found throughout the Bible, beginning with creation in Genesis (Genesis 1-2) and ending with God defeating Satan and reigning for eternity (See Revelation). Knowing that God has ultimate power and authority over everything and every circumstance can be very freeing and empowering (Colossians 1:16-17; Ephesians 3:20). God holds everything safely in His hand. Even when things seem bad, we can rest in the knowledge that He will stay faithful to His promises and no one will overthrow Him or thwart His plans (Job 42:2).

By: Kyla Payne

Kyla is the oldest of 11 children and enjoys horses, music, and gardening. She has a bachelor's degree in Biblical Counseling. Kyla and her husband, Ben, live in Kansas City, where they enjoy walking their Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy Kitchi.

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