The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(More "Doctrine 101." Thanks, Glen.)
"This Altar Of Wonder"
Without determining all things, God nevertheless possesses the capability whereby He "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). Moreover, He "works all things together for good to them that love Him," again, without needing to particularly and pointedly cause everything that happens in His creation or in our lives (Romans 8:28).
Certainly, this leads to enraptured wonder regarding who and what our Lord is. How can a Being exist who creates other beings with freedom, sees them willfully misuse it in literally trillions of disobedient and rebellious acts, and yet fulfills His purposes to the degree that His historical intentions will be completely fulfilled? Let us allow the consideration to sink deeply within our hearts and minds, and then let us find a place therein for adoring and amazed fascination. The Holy Spirit and the Apostle Paul lead us to this altar of wonder: "O the depths of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33).
It would be one thing to ponder a Divine being who universally caused all things in a creation he made. We might be amazed that such a one could exist, and find ourselves enthralled by a sovereign of such power and creativity. Compared to the living and true God of Scripture, however, the luster of such a hypothetical god quickly fades. Indeed, our Heavenly Father can give angelic and human beings real freedom, see them misuse it to the degree that His beloved Son was murdered by devilish instigation and human hands, but still no less fulfill His eternal purposes. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (II Corinthians 5:19).
This truth supplies the reason believers are not fatalists, that is, we do not believe all things to be predetermined or inevitable. Much happens in God's creation He desires not to happen. We read no further than Genesis 3 to see that. "Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" (Genesis 3:11). However, we also read no further than Genesis 3 to see that God was already prepared for Adam's chosen unbelief and disobedience, declaring to Satan, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15). The Apostle John confirms in the book of Revelation, describing the Lord Jesus as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). God knew and was ready for the contingency of man's real and misused freedom. He has known and been ready for every such choice. Yes, the living and true God of Scripture is so indescribably glorious and wondrous that without moving all things as pawns on a chessboard, as it were, He nevertheless works out His eternal purpose in Christ with righteous perfection and precision. Wonder and worship ensue as we rejoice in this holy One who "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."
A final point. The importance of this Biblical perspective greatly encourages our hearts in the light of an exalted view of our God. A lesser perspective leaves us in the darkness wherein our Lord must cause all things in order to effect His purposes. This inevitably leads us to assign responsibility for evil to Him, something we must avoid at all costs. Indeed, the first devilish temptation involved Satan casting aspersions on the moral nature of God. "Ye shall not surely die" said the devil to Eve in direct opposition to God's word to Adam (Genesis 3:4). Satan also implied that the Lord's prohibition regarding the tree of knoweldge of good and evil involved His witholding a good and necessary thing to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:5). This reveals the devil's primary assault upon human hearts, namely, to tempt us to view God in terms of imperfection and even moral wickedness. We must never respond to such darkness, especially in our doctrinal understanding of our Lord's spiritual and moral nature. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). Thus, the affirmation that God can work all things after the counsel of His own will without directly causing all things safeguards us from the catastrophic error of assigning responsibility to our Lord for evil, either directly or by implication. We wonder indeed, and we worship in light of so great and glorious a God whose working transcends our understanding, and thus leads us to greater trust and submission to His glorious purposes.
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith, all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."
(I Corinthians 15:24-28)
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
"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."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."