“…and may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”
– 2 Samuel 10.12
I grew up in a church that highly valued discipleship. As a child, in 1st – 3rd grade I learned about God and his power. In Sunday School I learned about God’s omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. Yes, at 7 years old I was taught those doctrines and terms.
God is omnipresent: He is everywhere at all times.
God is omniscient: He knows everything, past, present and future.
God Is omnipotent: He is all powerful.
I am reflecting today on God’s power. He is sovereign. So why the title of this post, “Is God Schizophrenic”? Because sometimes – scripture teaches us – that He wills that something come to pass that He forbids or commands to not come to pass. The most obvious example of this is the cross.
Exodus 20.13: “Thou shall not kill.”
God clearly forbids the murder of innocent people. Yes, there were times in the Law that God commanded justice in the form of the death penalty. But apart from the enactment of social justice, killing was forbidden.
Acts 4:27-28: “Truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy servant Jesus, whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur.”
There are quite a few passages of scripture that speak clearly to God’s will and plan of Christ’s crucifixion. We see the prophecy of it in Gen 3 at the fall. Isaiah 53.10 says that it pleased God to crush Him, and Acts 2 says that Jesus was crucified according to the predestined plan of God.
Salvation through grace by faith in the blood of Jesus was God’s plan from before creation. Revelation 13.8 notes that all who would be saved have had their name written in the book of life of the lamb who has been slain since before the world began!
Now, I realize that that is a weighty doctrine that takes much humility and reflection to grasp with an American, entitled, presupposing humanity’s innate goodness mindset. (Most other worldviews have no problem with this…) But what does that have to do with me?
“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”
This is what it has to do with me. With you. The author of this book implores us to 1) leave elementary teachings behind, 2) press on to maturity, and 3) not relay foundations. The foundations are good. They are great! They are what we need to grow up to maturity. But we need to be purposeful about practicing the basics – the foundations – so that our spiritual senses are trained to discern good and evil (Heb 5.14), and through this ability press on to maturity!
But notice the last sentence of this direction: “And this we will do if God permits.”
We can only leave behind the elementary teachings, press on to maturity and not relay foundations IF God permits! Hebrews speaks to this a few different ways. In 13.20-21 he says, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” We can only do His will if He equips us.
And one of the most quoted verses in the New Testament about salvation is Eph 2.8-9 “For by faith you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works so that no one may boast.” God gives faith. You do not have faith in and of yourself. You are dead in your sin apart from God giving you life (Eph 2.1).
Therefore permitting us to grow, allowing us to mature is God’s mercy towards us. Leaving us in our sin and rebellion is God’s justified judgment.
And sometimes God’s perfect will includes sin. Sometimes He ordains the most horrendous of sins (the murder of His son, who had never sinned and did not deserve any wrongdoing against Him), to work out His perfect plan. Sometimes He ordains vessels of wrath to exist and sin in order to make His power known (Romans 9.22)!
So what does that mean for you and me today? Let us press on towards maturity and let us repent as long as we are able, for there will come a time when – if we continue in sin – it will no longer be an option (Heb 12). Let us trust God as the world continues in it’s worldly way that He is indeed in control. He is indeed omnipotent. He is not caught off guard by what is happening in your life, quite the opposite – He ordained it! He is using it to His perfect end. Love Him. Cherish Him. Embrace His plan. And take comfort that He has allowed you and drawn you to repent, pouring out His mercy on your life.
Let us trust God.