We continue to walk through Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology. This week we are focused on God’s providence.
After becoming a Christian in college, if you would have asked me if God was all powerful I would have said yes. However, if you would have asked me if he ordains every moment, I would have hedged. Why? Because it doesn’t feel like God is ordaining every moment. For example as I type this blog, I do not feel as if each strike of the key was pre-ordained. It feels as if I am in ultimate control of my fingers. But is that really the way it is?
They answer is no, we are not ultimately in control of anything, God is.
This is true logically, but more importantly, it is true Biblically. Take for example our text above “all things work together for good.” All things means all things…my typing, a headache, a car accident, you name it. The verse in Romans 8:28 is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a couple more to consider:
- “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” - Ephesians 1:11
- “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” – Proverbs 16:33
- “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” – Isaiah 46:9-10
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
- “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” – Genesis 50:19-21
- “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:17
- “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:16
There are dozens and dozens of versus in the Bible from beginning to end that point to the truth that God is sovereign over everything. RC Sproul famously states, “There are no maverick molecules in the universe.”
Even Jesus speaks to this reality in Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Jesus used one of the most invaluable creatures on the planet to teach his disciples that God is in total control of everything.
Does this mean we are robots? No. When we do things, we are actually doing them. There is a real choice, and real actions, and real consequences. God has created a Universe in such a way that he is ultimately in control of everything, yet each person acts according to their will. By this I mean the decision you make is really the decision you want to make. How does this work? God does not reveal the details of our design, but merely states He is sovereign and we are accountable. Paul upon getting to this question states, “You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:19-20).
So where does this leave us? As our text says, “for those who love God all things work together for good.” If you love God, you want a Sovereign God. Why? It all works for your eternal benefit. However, if you don’t love God, all things will not work for you, but instead work against you.