Providential Grace

Remembrance and its opposite - Ninth in a series

We considered the concept of God's providence and his watch over our lives in the last post. The Lord gives us our daily bread, shelter, our friends, church, and so much else. He is with us. As we recall his loving care moment to moment and in our crises, we remember, too, our miserable behaviors. If we aren't careful we will end up crying over spilt milk rather than praising the Lord for his faithfulness to us.

Yet for those who have walked with God for a time, we will observe that God has established us in the Faith in spite of ourselves. How did this come about? This deserves a careful answer.

Wise men nearly four centuries ago met together, prayed and wrote a "confession" that many churches still look to as a statement of faith. As noted in the previous post, this is where we find the concept of God's works of providence as a way of explaining the Lord's control over all things.

The divines who wrote the Westminster Confession based their insights upon Scripture proofs, and looked to Christians of previous generations who had studied, discussed and continually read the Bible for enlightenment and help.

A succinct paragraph that sums up their understanding of how man is saved follows:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel. The entire process —election, redemption, regeneration— is the work of God and is by grace alone.

Therefore, the greatest work that we remember and thank God for is our salvation. We do not thank ourselves for that, but him. By grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any of us should boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

When we sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus,” we know our decision was divinely enabled and ordained; nevertheless actively deciding and making a firm commitment is required and must be carefully maintained over many trials and tests that are supplied to strengthen us.

It is the one who perseveres to the end who will be saved. If you persevere, then you are chosen.

We are to help each other to exercise our free will to serve Christ. The overcomer will live eternally (Rev 2:7, 11), receive rewards from Christ (Rev 2:17), reign with him (Rev 2:26); his name will be confessed to God by Christ (Rev 3:5), and much more (Rev 3:12, 21).

Can anyone enumerate the works of God?

Remembrance and its opposite - Eighth in a series

In our previous post, we focused on remembering the Lord for his work of Creation. Now we turn to his works of providence.

A Sunday School teacher may be asked: What is providence? Usually a student would like to understand how— if God controls all of history— can man have free will? This is not easy to explain. At such times it's well to have the Westminster Confession and Catechisms on hand. The first tenet of Chapter 3 in the Confession, "Of God's Eternal Decree," states:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Beyond that, the first point of Chapter 5, Of Providence, is pertinent:

God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

For any who are not familiar with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, more information is here.

In the Larger Catechism a question is framed: How doth God execute his decrees? The answer is: God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

What are these works? The Larger Catechism explains: God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

We can be sure that God is working all things together for good, for those who love him. (Rom 8:28) Whether supplying our individual needs and desires or superintending the overarching culture and events that affect our lives, God’s works of providence will culminate in fullest blessing for the faithful.

We are warned that to forget his immeasurable kindness and faithful watchcare is a deadly oversight. (Deut 8:19) We are encouraged to trust that God is working his purposes out: a day is coming when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:9)

Psalm 106 is an uplifting litany of God's faithful help and works on behalf of his children, despite their —and our— frequent disobedience and wandering from his pastures. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry. (Ps 106:44) What he has done for others, he will do for you.

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise? (Ps 106:1-2)

Remembering God as Creator

Remembrance and its opposite - Seventh in a series

God is the only Creator.

Though we speak of people having creative skills, or of creating various things, did they not merely discover or manipulate what is at hand? When inventors join bits and pieces together in a new way, are they creating? This is manufacturing or devising, but a creator fashions elements whose substance is not made of things already made.

When God created the world and all that is in it, he employed the medium of his Word. This is a mystery. Somehow, the Word of God has creative agency to give life; to bring into being that which never before existed. (Jhn 1:3; Ps 33:6; Heb 11:3)

God's Word is speech; it is communication or narration; and it is the seed of the sower (Mark 4:14), the bread by which man lives (Luke 4:4), the glad tidings to publish abroad (Acts 13:49), the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), the means by which we are saved (Jas 1:18), the power that upholds the world (2 Pet 3:7), and the name of God's son (Rev 19:13).

Somehow the analogies grow into realities upheld by the Logos: In the beginning (Gen 1:1) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jhn 1:1)

Considering the marvel of the created world and its testimony about the Creator, it is no wonder that Satan worked to undermine the first chapter of Genesis by the false concept of evolution. As Christ pointed out, it is possible to nullify the Word of God by man-made traditions (Mark 7:13). But the faithful will remember and acknowledge the Lord as the Creator. (Ps 100:3; Rom 1:20; Ps 8:3-4)

We commemorate God's work of creation by resting on the Sabbath, which was established to be Sunday rather than Saturday, after the Resurrection of Jesus. (Acts 20:7; Jhn 20:1)

The instruction to remember the Sabbath is often noted. (Gen 2:3; Exo 16:23-30; Exo 31:13,14; Lev 19:3; Lev 23:3; Num 15:32; Deut 5:14; Isa 56:4-6; Jer 17:21-24 et al) The idea is not only to rest but to worship and to remember the Lord.

Satan strives to undermine this truth so that few today worship or rest on Sunday, often crediting Jesus for their notion that it is fine to work on Sunday (Jhn 5:17) as though he came to nullify the Ten Commandments. Also, many believe they are obeying the Fourth Commandment by attending or engaging in sports events or other leisure activities and leading their children to do the same.

Nevertheless, the Sabbath was made for man, (Mark 2:27) a profound statement. A day of rest in Christis essential to our emotional and physical health.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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