Many of our painful memories from the past result from the sins of others, or of ourselves. Their lingering presence in our heart and mind often bears the barbs that continue our discomfort.
Concerning the Bible’s declaration that “all things work together for good,” can we fit sins, including those of ourselves and others, into the picture of a God who wastes nothing in our lives? (Romans 8:28).
The answer is yes, but it is a “yes” that requires much Biblical consideration. First, let us completely reject any notion that God’s ability to use even sin for His purposes in Christ means that He ever determines it. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man” (James 1:13). The Lord’s pristinely perfect character, nature and way prevents any possibility that He causes us to sin, despite the fact that He is able to weave our waywardness into His ultimate purposes. No darker shadow can pass through our understanding than the notion that God causes sin, and we must never state or imply such error.
We must also acknowledge that God’s involvement in all things does not preclude sin from having negative consequences in the lives of His trusting children. The atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly and forever justifies all who believe, but as a loving Father, God allows our unbelief and disobedience to bear its uncomfortable fruits. Furthermore, He may chasten us in love if we do not repent and confess our sin. Thus, we take the matter very seriously, and never allow ourselves to believe that sin is inconsequential because God weaves it into His purposes. “Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Timothy 2:19).
As a young believer once said to me in a simple, but brilliant illumination of truth: “God does not determine sins, but He sure does take advantage of them.” One could read a hundred theological textbooks without finding a clearer expression of the Lord whose eyes are too pure to even behold sin, but who heart and mind nevertheless weave even the most terrible unrighteousness into His eternal purposes. Therefore, as we rightly include sin and failure in the “all things” of Romans 8:28, we do so in remembrance of the horrific nature of even the most seemingly inconsequential misstep of unbelief and disobedience. The Lord Jesus suffered and died in untold agony for our sins. Never can a born again believer view sin in anything but the hateful of terms, even as we maintain that our Heavenly Father is loving enough, wise enough, involved enough, and powerful enough to cause all things to ultimately glorify Him.
“In Him is no darkness at all.”
(I John 1:5)
“Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.”
Tomorrow: How we view the sins of others against us