Part #7 of “WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN?”
“The Bible says that it is God Who is at work in us, both to desire and to work for his good pleasure”.
The Sovereignty of God is the understanding that GOD is the Supreme Authority and all things are under His control.
Although ‘Sovereign’ is not a Biblical word, Scripture does show us that God is absolutely sovereign.
One Bible dictionary defines God’s Sovereignty as His “absolute right to do all things according to “His Good pleasure”.
That is Who God is. Being the Supreme Creator, He has absolute right to have created all things for “His good pleasure”.
Here is a excerpt from a scene in Heaven in [Revelations 4:11]:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
GOD has absolute right to will and purpose all things according to His agenda.
And HE has ordained, appointed and decreed all things according to “His Good pleasure”.
Why should we have a problem with that, for we are exactly the same?
We also create things using our mind, knowledge and intelligence for our personal pleasure, be it for good or evil.
The world is full of it, we enjoy the same and we know that is true.
The big difference is of course that God, unlike us fallen men, has no evil purpose or pleasures.
The German philosopher of the yester years Georg Hegel famously put it this way:
“The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”
Isn’t that ‘spot on’?
History is possibly both mankinds’ greatest teacher and most ignored teacher.
For have we ever really bothered to learn from history?
Created with the freedom and the ability to choose without God’s infringement, we are the ones who have blown it.
We are the ones who have willingly ‘chosen’ to stray from the “old paths” [Jeremiah 6:16].
And God is still speaking, “Stand ye in the ways, and see and ask for the old paths”.
And this admonition still comes to us every single day from Heaven, as we see the world crumbling around us.
Yes, even in these Covid-19 pandemic days!
“Stand ye in the ways, and see and ask for the old paths”.
Looking Back To Reflect
Stop for a few moments, reflect, and look back at our own history and “see”.
Where and how did it all go wrong?
Ask “where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls”.
But has our responsive attitude changed? “We will not walk therein”.
And yet, there are no shortage of fists that have been pumped upwards towards Heaven in anger and retaliation. That still goes on today.
Oh the pride and stiff-necked nature of fallen man!
Even though God humbled Himself first to reach out to lost mankind through the cross, we have displayed ‘attitude’.
“This is what we want and this is how we want it”, is our coveting demand and the list is endless.
We are often told, history repeats itself, and that is so true because we have refused to learn from it.
We have ignored history and by doing so, given it license to repeat itself.
This was the closing statement in the last verse of the book of [Judges 21:25]:
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.
So what has changed?
What do you think? Is history repeating itself today?
The Bible A History Book
Though selective in its essence the Bible is an amazing history book. It’s God’s story of His dealings with mankind over the various eras of time, right down to this very hour.
It is God’s progressive revelation of His unfolding plan of redemption for the entire fallen human race.
It was through this ‘Man’, Jesus Christ, God’s Son that our salvation would be set in concrete through a Roman cross.
God, as Sovereign as He is, has always let men and nations exercise their free will. HE has never infringed on mans freedom to choose and decide.
As we look around us we have witnessed first hand, the progressive deterioration of man. The evidence is all around us, if we really care to see.
Yes, knowledge and technology grows at rapid pace, but so also does our deteriorating nature.
YET everything is running perfectly in accordance with HIS plan and agenda.
How God does this without even remotely infringing on our ‘free will’ is a level of management we will “NEVER” comprehend. Certainly not in this life we won’t.
But that is exactly how it is.
And after its all been said and done, we will stand before Him, ‘without excuse’.
God’s Foreknowledge And Predestination
These two offices of ‘Foreknowledge’ and ‘Predestination’ belong exclusively to God the Creator.
God knows “the beginning from the end”. He so declares, “My counsel shall stand, I will do all My pleasure” [Isaiah 46:10].
God has ordained, appointed and decreed all things according to “His Good pleasure”.
HE knew in eternity past, every choice that every man would make at any given moment in time.
God accordingly chalked out his perfect plan of redemption well before the foundations of the earth were laid.
And in this plan JESUS Christ was set aside as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” [Revelation 13:8].
Scripture lays further emphasis on this through the apostle of the Jews, Peter in [1 Peter 1:18-20].
Knowing the end from the beginning, God predestined each mans eternal destination. And He has done so without infringing on our free will to choose or reject His free gift of salvation.
It is here that we come to some of the most mind boggling and tough verses of Scripture.
And yet they are not really tough if understood correctly.
But before we do, we need to keep in mind what follows.
The Old Testament A Shadow
Let’s keep in mind that everything written in the Old Testament was a shadow of the reality that was to come.
They were prophetic pictures and utterances of where we stand today in this reality of the “Age of Grace”.
They were all pointing to that final one time “all-sufficient sacrifice” for all the sins of mankind:
“JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS”.
Every story was a building block leading to that little hill called “Calvary”.
Working through the free choices of men, it took God four thousand years to come that place of redemptive fulfillment.
And fulfilled it was indeed, right there on the cross of Calvary.
“It is finished”, was Heaven’s victorious proclamation in [John 19:30].
Now that finished work on the cross is central to everything past, present and future.
SO, keeping this in mind, read on.
Paul’s Burden For His Own
There is something that is worth noting here.
Paul, after writing the great [Romans 8] suddenly changes direction and focuses totally on his nation of Israel from [Romans 9-11].
Paul is under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as he is writing ‘by revelation’ these verses in [Romans 9:1-5].
He has a great burden for his fellow Jews, the nation of Israel and is deeply concerned about their salvation.
He is ready and willing to be “accursed from Christ” for his kinsmen sake.
Only ‘two men’, according to all of Scripture were prepared to forsake their salvation for the sake of their kinsmen.
However, Paul understands the reality that only “a remnant shall be saved” [Romans 9:27].
He understands that God knows by foreknowledge that only ‘a remnant’ will ‘choose to believe’ and get saved.
Jesus Christ came with the message of redemption and salvation to the nation of Israel. It’s what they were waiting and looking out for their whole lives.
Their promised Kingdom was “at hand”. All they had to believe was that this man Jesus was “the Christ” and their promised Messiah.
“Thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God” was their Gospel of salvation.
Their Scriptures constantly spoke about it. And when their moment arrived, the nation of Israel, apart from a remnant, walked it underfoot.
They rejected their Messiah.
Have We Learnt From Israel’s History?
We need to learn from Israel’s history.
For it seems to be the same with the rest of the world today too. Our moment is also at hand.
“Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4].
This is the message of our salvation today, without which we are lost.
Every person on the planet needs to embrace this Great Gospel.
Believing this with our heart, we are justified (legally acquitted) by God [Romans 4:25].
Whosoever Will And Chosen Before The Foundations
History shows that God has enjoyed only “a remnant”, a small minority of the human race at any given point in time.
Whether it will be the same during this “Age of Grace”, God only knows. There are no shortage of theological schools of thought and opinions on this matter.
God’s will though, is clear, concerning “ALL MEN” and not just “SOME MEN”.
“Who will have ‘ALL’ men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” [1 Timothy 2:4].
As mankind moves down the river of life, on both sides of the banks of this river are constant doors of opportunity.
Over each door is written, “Whosoever will may come”.
This door is open to all, irrespective of our caste, colour, creed, ethnicity or religious background.
It is “unconditional”, irrespective of how bad, messed up and sinful our lives have been and currently are.
The moment we respond to that opportunity, step through that door and look back, this is what we see written:
“Chosen From Before The Foundations Of The World.”
This ‘door’ is the Gospel of our salvation and is at ‘ground level’.
Jesus said, “Feed My sheep”. Not, “Feed My Giraffes”. The door is at grass root level.
ALL, “Whosoever will may come”.
“Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4].
All that is required is Believe + nothing.
It is all legally in place for us to embrace by Faith + Nothing.
THAT IS HOW GOOD, SIMPLE AND UNCOMPLICATED OUR SALVATION IS.
And so God uses his language of predestination accordingly in [Ephesians 1:4-5]:
“According as He (God) hath chosen us in Him (Christ Jesus) before the foundation of the world…….”
This is after stepping through that “door” located on the banks of the river of life.
“…….That we should be holy and without blame before him in love”.
We can only be this when we are “in Christ” and stepping through that “door” is the key.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.
And that is where it all boils down to, “HIS Good Pleasure”
We trust that you have grasped this understanding that the will of God and the choice of man never clash.
For now, Paul the apostle is getting ready to bring up his next “What shall we say then”?
This continues in Part #8, coming very shortly.