“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 NKJ)
(© Curtis I. Crenshaw 1 October 2015)
Time to make you mad.
If you want to know why people hate Christianity, there are several reasons: their favorite sins are condemned; God—not them—is sovereign; the Holy Trinity does not make sense to them; they hate the atonement; they hate that Jesus is the only way to God, and other matters. But it is especially because we preach a sovereign God (the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit) who will judge everyone at the Last Day that they despise with zeal. If you want to know what everyone guards with enmity, it is their “free will” (whatever that is). If you want to know what god people will worship, it is the one who will let them be “master of their fate and captain of their soul,” as Henley (1849-1903) said in his horrible poem, Invictus, which is often quoted by graduates who speak at their graduations, thinking they determine their own future fates. Have you noticed that unbelievers will create a god after their own image who just happens to smile on their favorite sins?
People want to qualify Him, to pretend He can be controlled, so that the sovereignty of God has been dying a slow death of a 1,000 qualifications, or so they think. What is protected and not qualified is the alleged sovereignty of man, but it is only in the sovereignty of God that we have hope, peace, and comfort. If God is not sovereign over our circumstances, but we are, then we can be defeated, Satan can crush us, and there is no security for tomorrow, just more chance and chaos. Indeed, if we are sovereign, then which one of us is really sovereign over all others, for if all are sovereign, then you are my enemy. Is that not what we see in politics–each party, each committee, each politician, trying to out-maneuver the others with lies, schemes, and deception, and the devil seeking to bring havoc on His elect often through them.
There are two tenses that should be noted in the above quoted verses: “being predestined,” past tense, done, over, blueprint printed, no creature consulted; “who works all things,” plan now being executed, no creature given to thwart His proceedings, our salvation is secure. Over the years I’ve tried to rid myself of a common expression: “Let God.” How many times do I hear a Christian on the radio that all we need to do is “let God” do something because He has done all He can. Now we are in charge. I beg to differ. The Church begs to differ. The Bible begs to differ.
Our so-called “free will” does not hinder the work of God, does not change His blueprint, past or present. Once a lady called me at home because she was very upset that I did not believe in “free will.” I asked her if the unbeliever’s will was free from our indwelling sin (Mark 7:19-23), to which she correctly answered No. I asked her if the unbeliever’s will was free from the devil, to which again she correctly said No (2 Timothy 2:26). I asked her if the unbeliever’s will was free from the controlling power of the world (1 John 2:15-17), to which again she rightly said No. Now there was only one logical conclusion: man’s will is not free. Then I asked, “What is the unconverted person’s will free from,” to which she floored me with, “It is free from God!” Then I in expiration I said: if his will is enslaved to the flesh, to the devil and to the world, how can anyone become a Christian?” to which she said, “I don’t know; that is God’s problem.” To which I said, “That means God is sovereign!”
No military enemy, no terrorist plot, no college professor who delights in deceiving youthful minds to embrace the devil and his immorality, no two-faced politicians who speak with forked tongue, no conspiracy theorists—nothing, can thwart the predestined plan of the Sovereign Triune God.
In Ephesians one, we see why each Person of the Holy Trinity did His part: each one to His own glory. See the underlined words:
THE FATHER (before the foundation of the world; completed His blueprint):
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6).
THE SON (two thousand years ago; completed His cross-work)
7 In Him [Son] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. . . . hat we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7-8, 12 NKJ)
THE HOLY SPIRIT (ongoing as He applies the merits of the Son to us):
that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14 NKJ)
Notice that the underlined words in each stanza reveals why the Holy Trinity does what He does: the Father chose us, the Son redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit applies to us . . . each for His glory. His glory will not be stopped.
Before the world was created, God the Father chose His elect. His predestination work was done. Two thousand years ago God the Son redeemed us on the cross. His work was done. Now the Holy Spirit is sanctifying us; His work continues. They work as One so that those the Father chose will certainly be saved; those for whom the Son effectually died, cannot possibly be condemned; those for whom the Holy Spirit applies His merits, must persevere in faith and holiness (Phil. 2:12-13).
I feel like a newborn babe in his father’s arms, all snuggly warm in a blanket, looking at him looking back at me with a big smile, daring anything to harm me. Now from Romans 8:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God [Father] which is in Christ Jesus [Son] our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 NKJ)
What does the devil do?
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:9-12 NKJ)
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18 NKJ)
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 NKJ)
Jesus’ earthly policy: They lose, we win.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore . . .” (Matthew 28:18 NKJ)
End of story.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. AMEN. Ὡ