Last week I posted God’s Plan for Your Life.
That post generated a few discussions via email, Facebook, and Messenger. One person suggested I expand my thoughts. Another individual just wanted me to explain my understanding to him. This is my answer. It is longer than my usual posts, but this is important. What I am sharing is a theological perspective that underscores who I am as a child of God and how I go about serving in that role. Simply put, the thoughts that follow affect every aspect of my life.
God’s Will and My Choice: A Theology
I have a theological perspective that I want to share with you, my readers. I think it consistent with scripture or else I would abandon it. I am going to do my best to explain it in as few of words as possible. I am taking time to develop this here so that you can understand why I view the Scriptures and life the way I do.
I start with the Mission of God. God’s mission is to reveal Himself and his omnipresence to His creation. That is the relationship we see in the Garden; before the fall of man. After the fall of man, His mission does not change, but the way he carries out that mission does. He longs to restore the lost relationship and plans to do so through Himself (Emmanuel – God with us). Throughout the Pentateuch we see God re-introducing Himself to His creation – Noah, Abram, Moses, etc. Through them God reveals Himself to a chosen people. Chosen for the purpose of bringing the Messiah into the world through Whom, God would reveal Himself to the world. God does reveal Himself to the world throughout history. Look up phrases like “so all the nations will know that I am God.” But God through Christ reveals Himself and His ultimate plan of redemption. The redemption that comes through the sacrifice of the righteous for the unrighteous – the sinless for the sinner. Today, the Kingdom of His Son (the Church) has the responsibility to continually reveal God through our work in the World and through His revealed will – the word of God. Interestingly, God’s revealing Himself seems to follow a pattern of 1. To a person or persons, 2. Oral communication of that revelation, 3. That revelation in writing. Hebrews 1:1-2, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son . . .”
The second part of this theological perspective finds basis in 1. The omnipotence of God, 2. The omniscience of God, and 3. The free-will of man.
God is all-powerful and can do anything He wants even defy the laws of nature and the understanding of man. Consider creation itself, consider the flood, or the many other events throughout history where God set aside the laws of nature to do His will or prove His power. The greatest of these is the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-5). Through this I learn that God’s weakness is stronger than my strength.
God is all-knowing. He knows more than any man or mankind can know. Standing outside of time, God knows more than we can even comprehend. Paul says, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
For some unknown reason – at least unknown to me – God gave those He created in His image the freedom to choose to or not to believe in or follow Him. Adam and Eve had a choice. Cain had a choice. Noah had a choice. Abraham had a choice, Lot had a choice, Israel as a nation and as individual had a choice. Peter had a choice. Judas had a choice. We have a choice.
What follows is an exponentially expanded view of God’s omniscience and His use of His omnipotence:
Let me remind you of a mathematical truth; through a single point in space you can theoretically draw an infinite number of lines. Now imagine that that point in space is a point in the space-time continuum. Imagine that point is a point in your life where you must make a choice. Let’s say in this situation you have five choices – one to your front, one to your left, to your right, behind you, or to decide nothing. I believe God allows you to choose and knows what the infinite number of consequences of each choice and of the choices that you will face because of that choice. It is possible that God might prefer you make one certain choice but will not force you. If, however, you as a child of God (and maybe even a seeker who is searching for God (Acts 10)) are desiring to do His will He can, because He is all powerful, bless you in any choice (as long as that choice is not to follow Satan or continue in sin). God out of love allows you to choose and then will work with your choice if you are trying to do His will.
Open to the book of Genesis and recall the story of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37. Joseph is the favorite son, doted on by his father, Jacob. Joseph is also a dreamer who cannot keep his dreams to himself. When he dreams about stalks of wheat and the sun, moon, and stars, bowing to him, his brothers’ jealousy turns to envy, anger, and hate. They decide to kill him, then through his brother Rueben’s urging, they decide to toss him into a pit to teach him a lesson. When a band of traders passes by they sell Joseph into slavery. The convince their father, Jacob, that Joseph died at the hands of a wild animal. Joseph is sold to Potiphar, then lied about and tossed into prison. From prison he is eventually released because God interprets Pharaoh’s dreams through him and Joseph lays out a plan to survive the coming famine. Joseph ends up second only to Pharaoh and through that is able to rescue his family from the famine. In Genesis 50:19-20, he tells his brothers who tremble and bow before him, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 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.” Another way of rendering that verse could be, “You meant it for evil, but God fabricated it for good.” In other words, God took what the brothers did and used it for His purpose, God did not necessarily force Joseph’s brothers’ hands to treat him poorly, but when they did, God took the opportunity of their choices and turned them to good. God could have in his omnipotence, put Joseph in power through any number of ways. It is not the only time in scripture God foils Satan’s plans.
Consider the preceding paragraph as you recall Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This text does not say everything is good. This text does not say God does everything for our good. This text says God will WORK things together for our good when we place ourselves in God’s care. Called according to His purpose is called by His plan. That plan is our choice to obey the good news. This is what Paul discusses in Ephesians 1. God predestined the “plan” the scheme of redemption that is salvation through Christ. He did not predetermine each individual to be or not to be saved. God is not a respecter of persons nor of ethnicities. His mission was always to reveal Himself to His creation for their redemption. God is not willing that any should spend eternity in Hell (2 Peter 3:9). God cannot go against His own will and only predestine some to salvation or to follow His will.
This is why I conclude, “God’s plan is simple! He wants me to CHOOSE to live for Him in all my life’s choices and to CHOOSE to live in a way to spend eternity with Him through the saving GRACE He offers in Christ.”