Freewill and Providence

The Silent Sovereignty of God Part 2

Freewill and Providence

Defining Providence

The concept of providence presumes that God is still at work in the world He created.  The word “provide” is at the root of the word “providence.”  God does provide good things for His people, and His loving care is always behind His every action.  I Peter 5:7 “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

God’s Intentional Will

(Example) “So it is not the will of my Father who is in  heaven that not one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14).  God’s “intentional will” is what He specifically desires and wills, therefore, works to accomplish.

Job suffered many losses and cruelties, but unlike some people today, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22).  Let us be careful not to charge God foolishly by speaking of the will of God in ways that imply God intentionally wills calamity or hurtful evil.

God’s Circumstantial Will

One result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden was a curse on woman, on man and on the ground.  It was not God’s intentional will that sin enter the world, but it was His circumstantial will that sinful humanity not live forever in a world infected with sin and its consequences.  So disease, calamity and death entered the world as God’s circumstantial will.

Circumstances changed with the introduction of sin into the world, a change not in accord with God’s intentional will but brought about by the rebellion of His freewill creatures.

God’s Ultimate Will

God’s omnipotence does not mean that everything that happens is His will in the sense of His intention. It does mean that neither we nor all the powers of hell can ultimately defeat Him.

The Freedom to Choose

God created us male, female and with the right to choose (Genesis 1:27).  It is logical to conclude that He gave us freedom to choose good or evil so that we may love and have fellowship with Him because we want to, not because we have to.  He did not impose His will on us.  Although omnipotent, He chose to limit Himself in that way.  We are not robots.  Our lives are not predetermined by fate or karma–or even by God.

God’s Plan For YOU

He plans for you to be saved from sin. Consider I Timothy 2:3,4 and 2 Peter 3:9

He plans for you to glorify Him.  Consider I Corinthians 6:19, 20.

He plans for all the redeemed to be “holy and blameless” before Him.  Consider Ephesians 1:4

Many are looking for some sort of nudge or feeling today.  However, supernatural guidance was not the norm even for the Apostles

Consider I Thessalonians 3:1-2. “We were willing.” “We thought it best” (NASB).  “We decided” (ERV).  How was their decision made?  They thought it best.  They had good reasons for that thought.  They were concerned about their converts’ endurance under persecution.  They decided sending Timothy was the best means for meeting their concerns.

Consider also Philippians 2:25-26

More Than ONE Right Choice

Even in regard to marriage, while there are certainly moral choices to be made and immoral choices to be avoided, within the range of Christians eligible to be married, Paul made it clear that we are free to decide even whether to marry as well as whom to marry. Under certain conditions, one choice is “good”; under different conditions, the other “is better” (I Corinthians 7:8, 9)

Making Wise Choices

Wisdom is not the same as specific information.  James (1:5) did not promise that God will whisper in our ears or give us an unmistakable emotional nudge to tell us which job offer to take or which of diverging paths to follow.

Wisdom may be defined as the ability to make good use of the knowledge we possess.  “Common sense” is another good name for it.

Summary

In those areas where there is no divine command or moral principle involved, the Christian is free and responsible for his or her personal choices.  Any decision made within the moral will of God is acceptable to God.

When we love and obey God, it will be because we want to rather than because we have to or are pre-programmed to do so.

 

 

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