God Doesn’t Have a “Plan B”

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Do you ever feel like lifScreenshot 2014-06-25 00.23.59e is out of control and there is no purpose or meaning in the ups and d owns of life? I think we’ve all felt that way. For the Christian, however, God tells us that this is not the case. That even when life seems out of control, He is very much in control. The 8th chapter of Romans is a treasure trove of encouragement and hope, and verse 28 is the pinnacle of this chapter. Through the pen of the apostle Paul, God tells us:

 

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.

Those who are called according to God’s purpose and love God have the benefit of knowing that all things work out to the good. This good is not necessarily our temporal good, but eternal good. The good of God’s perfect plan. This assures us that there is a method to the perceived madness around us. There is rhyme and reason to the rat race we find ourselves in. Even in the chaos, there is cosmos. There is order in the circumstances in our lives because the Spirit is praying for us perfectly and God has planned our steps precisely.God works sovereignly in the events of our lives to shape and position us for calling he gives us.

The Greek word translated “work together” is συνεργέω (synergeō) which means “to work together with.”[1]  If something unfavorable happens to us it is for good. We see this in the life of Joseph who had suffered because of his brothers, but God used it for a greater good (Gen. 50:20). Also, if something favorable happens to us it is for good, but not our good only. God allowed Esther to be promoted to be the queen of Persia, but this was so she would be able to save her people, the Hebrews (Esther 4:14). Ultimately “good” or “bad” things don’t happen to us for our pleasure, promotion, pain, or persecution. They happen to bring about God’s purpose. We should recognize this in all aspects of life. This principle is no doubt why Paul could say, “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Philippians 4:11-12, ESV).Has God blessed you with wealth, position, or power? It is for His purpose, not yours. Has God allowed you to experience need, weakness, or sorrow? It is also for His purpose.

The following verse (vs. 29) informs us that the “good” that is being produced in us is conformity to the image of Christ. Whatever makes us like Christ is good. Believers becoming more and more like Christ brings God glory and is our ultimate purpose in life. When we recognize that God has not called us primarily for our benefit but for His purpose, it gives our lives transcendence and meaning because we are rooted in the purpose of God. We are called, for His purpose. This is why all things work together for good.

2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV)  who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

[1] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

How God Gave Us The Bible

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000000019How can the Bible be God’s Word if it was written by human authors? This is a common question that arises when discussing the supernatural origin of the Bible. It is true that the Bible was written across 1600 years of human history by more than 40 human authors. How can it still be written by God? Paul tells Timothy that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Inspiration” is the Greek word theopnuestos which literally means “God-breathed.” Jesus corroborates this when he said that we live by “…every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4:4). The men who wrote the books of the Bible wrote under divine inspiration and the end result is the words of both the human author and of God.

There are differing theories of how God inspired the biblical authors. Most conservative, evangelical Christians believe in what is call “verbal plenary inspiration.” The word verbal  affirms that the very words the writers chose are inspired. For example, in Acts 1:16 the Apostle Peter says “the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake” (KJV). The word  plenary means “full” or “complete” meaning that God inspired the complete text of the Bible, including historical, scientific, and doctrinal details. This concept of how God inspired the Bible is seen in Peter’s words, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, ESV). Although men put the pen to paper, the things they wrote did not originate in their brains, but in the heart of God. God inspired the writers, they transmitted the message.

Some of the authors might not have realized at the time that they were writing the words of God. However, many did know this. Gordon R. Lewis writes, “Over 3,000 times biblical writers claimed to have received their messages from God. God the Holy Spirit “inspired” (breathed out or originated) the Scriptures through the human writers (2 Tm 3:16).God prepared these conscious, active prophetic and apostolic spokesmen (and their secretaries) providentially by their heredity, character, vocabularies, and writing styles. At the appropriate time, in all the processes of writing, they were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pt 1:21).” [1]

The Holy Spirit guided the human authors while allowing their individual personality, knowledge, and vocabulary to produce the books of the Bible. The end result is the very Word of God communicated through the medium of human writers. This view recognizes both the human and divine aspect of Scripture.

 

[1] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (1812). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.