Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 9 September 2014
Page 5

Is God in Control?

Tim ChildsSome suppose God is in control of everything and that He manipulates every detail of our lives. When things are going well, God may get the credit; if things are not going so well, He is likely to get the blame. The belief for some is that God instigates every illness, tragic accident, catastrophe, death and even foreordains whether or not a given person will be saved in heaven or lost forever in torment. Some are “comforted” in the knowledge they always have someone else to blame. Is God responsible for every evil thing, or is there a culprit laughing in the shadows while he creates distrust in the hearts of the impressionable? We need to be careful what we accuse God of doing!

Perhaps this kind of thinking prompted a church marquee recently that said, “God may disappoint you, but He will never fail.” This writer has disappointed himself, others and especially God, but never has God disappointed. If God never fails (and He doesn’t) then how could He disappoint? God is always good all of the time. His goodness, however, does not preclude the sometimes necessary task of disciplining His children (Hebrews 12:5-11), but that is done out of love and care. Is God guilty of breaking our hearts?

God is in total control of only those things over which He has chosen to be in total control. We live presently in a world where God has chosen to exercise varying degrees of control. While He is the Sovereign of the universe, He gives man freedom to make choices. Some individuals believe and obey Jesus Christ, while others don’t know of Him, or choose of their own accord to reject Him (John 1:11-13; 20:30-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Our choices sometimes have significant and eternal consequences (Galatians 6:7-8). God is not culpable for the disastrous consequences of our wrong or immoral choices. This includes even those times when, or if, we allow ourselves to be deceived by Satan and his messengers and fall from God’s grace (Galatians 5:4).

 God exercises a degree of control over Satan, but He does not choose, at this time, to exercise full control over him. For instance, God permitted Satan to afflict Job, but placed restrictions telling him on that occasion to “spare his life” (Job 2:6 ESV). Why did God tell Satan to spare Job’s life if he didn’t have power to take it? God is about life. Satan is about death, pain and suffering (John 10:10). From the days of Adam and Eve, God has permitted the evil one to tempt mankind, but again he is limited and cannot pull us away from the Father by force (John 10:27-29). If we choose, we may leave the Father willingly. Being sheep, God does not fence us in. He desires that we serve Him from the heart with a willing mind.

God has chosen to be in control of supplying fallen humanity with a Savior (Luke 19:10; Titus 2:11-14). He has allowed no power in the entire universe to prevent the kingdom of heaven, the church from being established (Matthew 16:18), or seeing to it that it endures forever (Daniel 2:44). God is in full control of the moment when He determines to send His Son, along with His mighty angels, to mark the end of time and to reward the righteous and punish all the wicked. God will be in full control of the proceedings at the Judgment Day, and He has the power to execute the sentence that is delivered unto every man. There will be no protests or court of appeals to nullify or render it void. Are we surrendering ourselves completely to God?

A Society without Ethical Standards

Donald R. FoxIt may seem very strange to many of us to know some folks believe there should not be a right and wrong standard. That is to say, there are neither rights nor wrongs. Would you believe that some have affirmed that atheistic morality is beneficial to the human race? We are currently witnessing great crimes against humanity by way of orthodox Islam coupled with other ungodly lawless elements. Many of us have lived long enough to witness World War II, the terrible loss of human lives and the destruction of large cities. Evil lawlessness drives the desire to control by killing whoever gets in the way of conquering landmasses. These wicked desires do not recognize righteousness and compassion.

Years ago, it was common to debate the differences of religious beliefs. Sometimes non-believers would debate religious people that there was no God. For the Christian, it is understood that the Word of God, the Bible, is our guide in understanding right and wrong. This ethical understanding is so clear for the Christian that we act in a very consistent manner. Now, that does not mean we carry out our Christian duties properly all of the time. It does mean, though, that we know right from wrong. Because we are free moral agents, we can choose to ignore our consciences and do wrong when we know what is right.

“From man’s creation, ethics and morals have been an important part of his personal and social life. One of the strongest evidences for God from within man is his ought factor, which causes man to ask thoughtful questions about what he should or should not do” (Waldron).

A most interesting public discussion was held at the Church of Christ meetinghouse, Shawnee, Oklahoma, August 15 and 16, 1929. The debaters were W.L. Oliphant, a Christian minister of the Oak Cliff Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas and Charles Smith, President, American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, New York City. One of the propositions, most unusual, was “Atheism is Beneficial to the Race, and is most conductive to Morality of any Theory Known to Man.” We know that people who do not believe in our Creator, God Almighty, the God of the Bible, do not believe in any fixed standard for doing right. Without much effort, Mr. Oliphant crushed Mr. Smith with logic and the Word of God.

Our King Jesus Christ “was dead…but he now is alive…for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth on me, though he die yet shall he live” (John 11:25) “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

Will we accept and desire a society without God-given ethical principles? We are now seeing an element of the religion of Islam that has proven to be barbarous. We know that there are many Muslims who desire a peaceful life. However, it seems they have no influence over too many that heed the Koran along with Sharia Law as it is written. The holocaust and death camps of the Nazis during WW2 are undeniable history. We should shudder that non-believers desire an atheistic society. Give us biblical God-given ethics that will make for peace and contentment. Sadly, there will be no peace until evil is defeated and obedience to God Almighty is practiced.

Works Cited

Waldron, Jim E. Is There a Universal Code of Ethics? Jim E. Waldron, 1982.

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