Sunday, 16 June 2024 04:29

Article of Faith: The God of all things (2) - Femi Aribisala

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Femi Aribisala Femi Aribisala

It is God who determines all human actions. Everything about a man is predetermined.

The redeemed do not choose God, it was God who chose us. Jesus says:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16).

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. To a nation that did not call on My name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’” (Isaiah 65:1).

Even repentance is a gift of God. (Acts 11:18). If it is not divinely granted, we cannot repent.

Paul also echoes all this:

“It is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” (Romans 9:16).

As a result, the elect is God’s workmanship:

“Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).

Fatalistic Responses

When Samuel gave Eli the dire verdict of God that his house would be judged severely for the sins of his sons, Samuel resigned to his fate. He said:

“It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” (1 Samuel 3:18).

Job also accepted the providence of God. With the loss of his children, his wealth, and his health, he said:

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21).

Since God is the Judge behind everything, Jeremiah asks:

“Why should a living man complain?” (Lamentation 3:39).

David also reaches the same conclusion. He says to God:

“I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was You who did it.” (Psalm 39:9).

Therefore, Peter counsels us:

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” (1 Peter 5:6).

No Free Will

If man has free will, then God cannot be God. God does not control everything if a man can act independently of God,

However, God tells us in the Scriptures that He alone controls everything. He says:

“I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” (Isaiah 49-10).

God does not just know the end from the beginning. He determines the end from the beginning. Everything has a cause, except God. God causes everything to happen.

Where does this leave the man? Man is simply an instrument of God.

Programmed Man

God does not give man the latitude to do what he wants. It is God who determines all human actions. Everything about a man is predetermined:

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11).

If man has free will, our prayers cannot even be answered. Have you ever asked God to give you a favour with someone? How can He answer this prayer if the man has free will? To answer, God must overrule whatever free will he has. But the truth is that he has none.

Have you ever done something good and thanked God for making you do it? Jesus says:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

How can one do that? How can we make sure our actions glorify God and not us? The answer is simple.

Whatever good we do; the glory belongs to God anyway. Doing good does not arise from man’s free will. We only do good because God causes us to do good. If God does not cause us to do good, we will never do it.

God Control

When Israel went astray, God was behind it. Isaiah asks God why He made that happen when He could have prevented it:

“O LORD, why have You made us stray from Your ways, and hardened our heart from Your fear?” (Isaiah 63:17).

According to the psalmist, who writes under God’s inspiration, when the Israelites sinned, it was because God’s judgment affected their will. He says to God:

“You make us turn back from the enemy, and those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.” (Psalm 44:10).

God withheld Abimelech from committing adultery with Sarah, Abraham’s wife.” (Genesis 20:6). But He did not prevent David from committing adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. It was God who moved David to sin by numbering Israel. (2 Samuel 24:1).

Only God can stop a man from sinning. Thus, Micah expresses to God the confidence that He will ultimately:

“Subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19).

Indeed, David makes it God’s responsibility to keep him from sinning. He prays:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14).

We only do what God permits or allows. The Bible shows conclusively that:

“God frustrates the devices of the crafty so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.” (Job 5:12).

Solomon acknowledges that:

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1).

When the Israelites were in Egypt, God turned the Egyptians against them:

“He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants.” (Psalm 105:25).

But when He sent them into captivity, He made their captors treat them with compassion:

“He also made them to be pitied by all those who carried them away captive.” (Psalm 106:46).

While in captivity, He made a promise to Israel that now also applies to all humanity in the New Testament of Jesus Christ:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

Human Disposition

Paul says:

“It is God who works in (us) both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13).

David concurs. He says it is God: “who performs all things for (us).” (Psalm 57:2).

God controls how we feel. He determines our inclinations. This is evident, for example, in God’s guarantee to Israel:

“(Nobody will) covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.” (Exodus 34:24).

God caused the Egyptians to give their articles of silver and gold to the Israelites on their departure from Egypt. (Exodus 11:3).

If we are sad, God is the cause. When the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul:

“A distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.” (1 Samuel 16:14).

If we are happy, God is also behind it. David acknowledges this. He says to God:

“You have put gladness in my heart.” (Psalm 4:7).

When it serves His purposes, God makes us like some people, and He makes us dislike others:

“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech.” (Judges 9:23).

We only pray to God because God enables it. Accordingly, the psalmist makes a request to God for His enablement:

“Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.” (Psalm 80:18).

 CONTINUED

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