(Friends: While walking the other day, I dropped the cap of my water bottle after taking a sip. My immediate reaction involved the thought, "Wow, I sure don't feel like bending over to pick that up!" However, as I stooped to retrieve the cap, a thought occurred to me: "Is God involved in something like this?" He is, and this series of messages addresses the Bible's teaching regarding our Lord's loving involvement in our lives.)
"The Bottle Cap"
Part 3 - "How Wise? How Powerful?
Is God required to directly determine everything that happens in order to fulfill "the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord?" (Ephesians 3:11). Scripture clearly teaches that He is not. He rather possesses transcendent knowledge and power whereby He will fulfill His ultimate intentions in the face of His will often not being done.
"His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5).
"His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3).
Our Lord's understanding and power enables Him to allow myriads of things to happen contrary to His character, nature, and commands without jeopardizing the fulfillment of His eternal determinations. This exalted view of God taught by the Bible casts us to our faces in wonder, awe, and even a proper measure of fear. How can such a Being exist who operates in a manner we cannot even conceive in our human experience?
Consider, for example, a man who determines to design and manufacture the perfect widget (an impossibility, of course, but for the sake of discussion let us imagine the scenario). He hires ten people to help plan, administrate and construct the widget. Since the device must be perfect, both the man and his team must execute every aspect of the project without the slightest admixture of faulty design or error in construction. One tiny mistake or flaw will doom the project. Perfection, at least in human endeavors, would require immaculate design and execution. From start to finish, all aspects of the undertaking must be perfectly performed in order to fulfill the man's dream.
This scenario does not illustrate God and the fulfillment of His purpose. He can accommodate the misuse of freedom by fallen angels and fallen humanity into His eternal designs in Christ, allowing choice after choice and action after action in opposition to His will. As considered in yesterday's message, Scripture unequivocally states that our Lord does not lead or even tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13). He does not require everyone to completely cooperate for success to be achieved. Only the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must perfectly act, which They will do. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). How wise? How powerful? This wise and this powerful. Such a perspective reveals our Lord to us in an exalted majesty and exhilarating mystery of glory, as opposed to a micro-managing dictator who could not achieve His purposes apart from forcing everyone to mindlessly do His bidding. God works in all things, including the dropping of my bottle cap, but in the sense of coordination rather than control. Or, as the Apostle Paul declared of the Lord's working in those who love Him, "For it is God which worketh all things together for good" (Romans 8:28; emphasis added). Yes, the living and true God is so wise, powerful, involved, and active that countless expressions of imperfection will nevertheless synthesize into the pristine perfection of His eternal purpose in Christ.
This Biblical perspective enables us to avoid the "que sera, sera" error of fatalism, that is, the notion that we exist in a deterministic reality wherein God and created beings have no possibility of living relationship because neither are actually personal. This deception suggests the Lord to be merely a force who acts upon machines, rather than a triune Personality moving upon the face of hearts. Nothing could be further from Biblical truth. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Our Heavenly Father made us for loving and living fellowship with Himself through Christ. Thus, His purpose required that He make us with the possibility of sin - which occurred - and with the possibility of salvation - which also occurs in all who freely receive His grace in the Lord Jesus. Majesty? Absolutely! Mystery? Absolutely! But most of all, glory to the God who performs the impossible of weaving all things together for the revelation of His Son, the redemption of the saints, and the realization of sublime wonder…
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen."
(I Timothy 1:17)
"For of Him, and to Him, and through Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen."
Tomorrow: The mistake we cannot make
Weekly Memory Verse
"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead" (Romans 1:20).