Saturday, 17 April 2010

Some difficult thoughts

Ephesians 1:11-13: 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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory"

I've been reading a book recently called 'Spectacular Sins' By John Piper. And I have to say it's one of the hardest books I've ever read. It's not wordy or complicated theology, just an un-blinkered look at how God allows and uses sin and suffering in the Bible. But I've really struggled with it because it threatens my worldview that says that God can't help sin because He allows us free will, but uses it anyway. The fact is, in the Bible God sets up the circumstances for people to sin and suffer, allows them to, and uses it all for good and for His glory. The stories of Joseph and even Jesus (back when the Israelites first demanded a human king over God) began with sin, and can we really say that God saw people sin and went 'Ooh, look, an opportunity to give myself glory!'. No, he manipulated the situations, knowing that people would sin as a result, and then brought about good as a result.

- I can't really explain it very well, and recommend you get hold of a copy of the book!

It strikes me right at the heart, at my fluffy view of God who goes, 'Oh no, people are sinning, I'm going to have to fix that now!' and logically must not have the control that the Bible says He does. Glorifying His own name is what God lives for (rightly, as the most perfectly glorious being), and if sin must be used (not condoned) then He does. 

It's the same as when I used to refuse to believe in original sin. I didn't like the idea that even if someone somewhere somehow managed not to sin for their whole life, they wouldn't be saved unless they claimed the blood of Jesus. 

Both of these unbiblical convictions boil down to 'But a loving and just God wouldn't.... (Fill in blank)'. It makes me mad when people say 'But a loving and just God wouldn't allow some people to go to Hell and others go to Heaven', but my thinking is equally unbiblical. The fact is, that is exactly what a loving and just God would do, because the God of the Bible is fully loving and fully just and fully good, and He does. We don't get to say what God does and doesn't do according to what we would like, because that amounts to picking and choosing from His Word what we will and won't believe. 

And realising all this actually gives me comfort. God didn't go 'Oops' when those people broke into our house. He was fully in control of every second, even when they were evilly sinning against us.  He wasn't just watching, or with us, or allowing it to happen, He was In Control. And knowing that, alongside my knowledge of God's love and perfect goodness, whether or not it makes me uncomfortable, increases my confidence and peace in God.

Ephesians 1:11-13: 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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory"

2 comments:

  1. www.8monthsinuganda.blogspot.com/2010/04/just-thought-or-two.html

    Lindsey's comment on this. They never seem to work..

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  2. Here it is if you don't want to copy and paste the link:

    Lindsey's Reflection on Lou's last post (since she tried twice to comment):

    When the head doctor at Satellite Med where my mom works (and now I do too) found out about what happened, he cried out to God. He asked where God was when this happened to His precious child serving him on the mission field. God condescended to give this reply: I WAS there; I kept her alive.

    I know this to be true. I've never prayed harder in my life as I did that night. He kept me calm and gave me the fight I needed. I don't know what his purposes are with regards to this....but I'm banking on the fact that he is God. His purposes are so much bigger than me. If I have to sacrifice...a lot...for his global redemption of peoples of every nation, if I have to realize he accomplishes his purposes without my help..., if I have to lose many valuable and intangible parts of me for his greater good, then I have no choice but to say, Yes, Lord.

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