Minister’s Message


Westminster Confession of Faith 3.1

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.

     Just how much of the universe does God control? And to what extent does He control it? Does the control of God over the affairs of this world extend only to the large, earth-shattering events, or does it include some or all smaller events, too? Just who is in charge here, anyway?

     Many have tried to answer these questions from various philosophical points of view. Their answers range all the way from the sublime to the ridiculous (with most on the side of the ridiculous).

     There were the Deists who claimed that God created everything and set it into motion, just as a watchmaker creates and winds a watch, but that He then went on vacation. God is no longer in charge, they said. Natural laws govern all that happens, and God is nowhere to be found. It won’t do you any good to pray to such a “god,” he does not even own an answering machine to leave you the message, “Sorry, the number you have reached is no longer in service.”

     There were others who said that God is still somewhat in charge of the big events of the world, but that He either cannot or will not be bothered with trivia. For them, the election of a president is an event that may be important enough for God to control, but a flat tire on your car is not. This view is not much different from that of the Deist; for how do you know what events are truly important enough for God to care about, and anyway, why should He care about insignificant little you?

     These answers do not really satisfy, do they? The reason they don’t, is because they do not agree with the answer given by the Bible.

     According to the Word of God, the answer to these questions is that God is in charge here; and He is in charge of everything.

     Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:11: “in whom 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,…”

     According to the context of this sentence (it is really one long complex sentence in the original language that goes from verse 3 to verse 14), the One in whom we have obtained the inheritance is Christ (see verses 4-6), and the One who works out all things according to His sovereign will is God the Father (see verse 3).

     Thus the Bible teaches that God is the One in charge here. He is in charge of all the large events of the universe; but He is also in charge of the small, trivial details, too. In fact, no detail of the universe is trivial to God. He takes a vital, active role in the governing of all things.

     Jesus Himself makes the astounding claim that God is concerned to feed the birds (Matt. 6:26), provide the beauty of the flowers (Matt. 6:28-29), sustain the life of even the smallest creatures to the very moment of the death which He has ordained for them (Matt. 10:29) and even cause you to have the exact number of hairs on your head that He has decreed (Matt. 10:30)! The Lord then argues that if God does this for the very smallest events of the universe, will He not much more take charge of all the events of each individual’s life (Matt. 6:30 and 10:31)?

     Some become very upset at such a statement. They mistakenly think that this opens God up to the charge of being responsible for sin. But the Bible strictly forbids such an argument. James warns us: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13). And John adds that: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

     Then where does sin come from? James answers by saying that we are tempted by our own wicked desires (see James 1:14-15). The Bible teaches that sin comes from the creature, not from the Creator, and lets it go at that. We might desire a fuller explanation, but this is all the Bible says on the subject.

     The point is that God is in charge of everything—small events and large—but He is not the author of sin. Every event of your life is planned and executed by the sovereign God of the Bible for His purposes. Even that flat tire. Even those gray hairs.

     This is not fatalism, for the One in charge is the personal, loving, and holy God of the Scriptures. And He makes use of “secondary causes”—those wicked men who by their own sinful will put Jesus Christ to death (Acts 2:23), and those Christians who faithfully proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the lost (Rom. 10:14-15) are all working out the will of God in His universe to the praise of His glory.

     We may not understand how all this can be true, but we are not asked to understand it—we are commanded to believe it: “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3); “ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’ ” (Is. 55:8-9).

     Are you trusting in the One who is really in charge of your life? He is the sovereign God of the Bible, and you must trust Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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This page was last updated 19 June 2008.