Monday, November 28, 2011
The Doctrine of Providence - Part Two
Biblical evidence for the preserving work of God is abundant. For instance, when the Israelites returned to their own land after the Babylonian captivity they confessed that the Lord, their God, is from everlasting to everlasting, and that he alone is the Lord who made the heavens and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. He gives life to everything and the multitudes of heaven worship him (Nehemiah 9:5-6). When the apostle Paul is speaking before to the Athenian philosophers at the Areopagus he presents God as one in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). In his letter to the church at Colossae he describes Jesus as the Son of God who is “before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The writer of Hebrews begins his magisterial exposition of Jesus Christ by articulating his conviction that “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). And when Peter is warning about sceptics who scoff at the promise of Christ’s return at the end of the age he reminds believers that God who created the world by his word is the same one who reserves the present world for the fire of judgment and the destruction of the ungodly (2 Peter 3:7).
The preserving work of God reminds us that we are dependent on him for life and breath and everything else. We owe our allegiance to him and he is the one we should worship and obey. It rebukes our spirit of self-sufficiency and discredits the mistaken idea that we are ultimately self-made individuals. It also reminds us that God is nearer to us than we think. Sometimes it seems as if God is far away and his presence undetectable. But he continually works to sustain the universe and our lives within it. As Paul said to the Athenians, “God is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27). His preserving work and close proximity means that we should seek him and find rest in him.
To be continued next post...