Y’all, I had a pointed discussion with my Mother. In discussing some of our shares, we touched on the life of the apostle John. We have already shared about his experience. But, notable in this share is that Jesus knows all! He knew exactly how He would die, the way that He would be raised. It does not stop there! He spoke obituaries of disciples!
Even of Peter! The reason I share this is the exact sequence of events, Jesus knew!
Yes! We are smitten, affected, touched by so much. It is predetermined! We are given a choice, it is fully up to us to accept and stay on the path that has been set
Jonah? Need I say more? He ran from The Lord’s purpose and ended up right where he ran from!
First, God works all things according to his will. Here’s Ephesians 1:11: “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” Let me say it again. He works all things according to the counsel of his will. I think that means he always controls everything. There’s my answer.
We could just stop now. When it says all things, there’s no reason to assume any exceptions here (I don’t think). Sometimes people say, “Well, no, no, no. He’s talking about predestination of Christians.” Now when somebody says that, you need to pause and think about the words “he’s just talking about.” They are so vague. They can’t support the point the person is trying to make without more careful attention.
“The Bible sweepingly says that everything human beings do is, in the end, the will of God.”
When you give more careful attention, what you realize is that Paul is using a general statement about God’s working everything according to the counsel of his will as a support for a specific statement about predestination. We all know that a specific application of a general statement doesn’t nullify or limit the truth of the general statement.
For example, if I say my friend (who knows how to drive every kind of car) drove an electric car without instruction the first time he got into it, you wouldn’t think he knows how to only drive electric cars. The fact that we’re talking about an electric car is simply pointing out that it’s an illustration of his ability to drive every kind of car. That illustration doesn’t nullify the fact that he can drive every kind of car. My point was to say he can drive every kind of car, and here’s an illustration of it.
When Paul says, “God, who works all things according to the counsel of his will, specifically predestined us,” it doesn’t mean “He really doesn’t work all things according to the counsel of his will; he only predestined us.” That’s exactly the opposite of the way Paul is arguing. We need to think carefully when people make vague statements, trying to limit a context when the context is clearly expansive.
He’s Over All
Second, God governs all human plans and acts.
• Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Just a general statement.
• Proverbs 20:24 reads, “A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?” A general statement about all his steps.
• Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Human beings decide all kinds of ways to make a decision. They try rolling dice, and they draw lots, and they put out pieces of cloth on the ground — whatever. The point here is whatever means they use, it’s going to be God’s will in the end. Every decision is from the Lord.
• Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Whatever humans anywhere in the world are planning and doing, what stands is God’s will.
• Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”
All of those passages sweepingly say that everything that human beings do is, in the end, the will of God.
One of the most perplexing questions a Christian and, to be sure, a Christian leader will face when it comes to risk is this:
Am I trusting God, or am I simply being foolish?
The question isn’t as dumb as it seems.
There’s a fine line between faith and irresponsibility, and at times it’s almost impossible to see.
You know that big leadership risk you’re thinking about?
your new role
the massively daunting project
the big mission trip
that new campus
your start up
hiring a team
a new facility
the big move?
So…is it a step of faith, or is it just stupid?
Is it trust…or is it irresponsibility?
How would you know?