From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 33:10-12

 

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.  The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.                       NKJV

The Bible declares plainly that God determines everything that happens, both in the broad scope of history (Isa. 46:9-10) and in the lives of individual human beings (Jer. 18:6, Acts 17:26).  This is frequently a disturbing blow to our pride as we like to believe that we are in control of our lives; that our destiny is in the own hands.  But the reality is that we make our plans, but God controls the outcome.

A number of scripture verses, including Ephesians 1:11, Job 23:13, and Daniel 4:35 declare that God works everything according to His own divine will.  Even Christians often object to the idea of everything being predestined, believing that predestination somehow makes marionettes out of people, but clearly this is not the case.  God, who is omniscient, knows the outcome of every decision we make and can certainly intervene to change the outcome if He so desires.  The fact that He chooses not to do so means that the outcome is predestined.

God can bring about His divine will by controlling the circumstances in which we live just as he did with Joseph’s brothers when he brought a caravan of Midianite slave traders into their midst while the brothers were trying to decide what to do with Joseph.  God knew that they would sell Joseph into slavery.  Have you ever stopped to consider how far ahead God had to act so that those slave traders would arrive where Joseph’s brothers were at that exact moment in time.  God made us and knows how we will react under every given set of circumstances.  If He chooses to bring about a certain reaction from us, all He has to do is create the proper set of circumstances around us and we will react accordingly.

Sometimes I have been asked, “But doesn’t predestination make God the author of sin?  The answer is “no!”  In Genesis 50:20, Joseph said to his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”  The brothers chose to sell Joseph into slavery and were responsible for their actions.  They were the authors of the sin.  At the same time, God’s sovereign will was carried out from a good motive.

Consider the crucifixion of Christ, which was clearly the predestined will of God (Rev. 13:8).  Peter said to the Jews in Acts 2:23, “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death.”  The Jews chose to murder Jesus and were responsible for their actions.  They were the authors of the sin.  At the same time, God’s predestined will came to pass; an event which was the greatest good in the history of the world.  Thus we see that God can predestine an event without necessarily authoring that event.

God has decreed in Himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor has fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken way, but rather established; in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.                   The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), the Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), and the Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742).

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