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“The Manifold Wisdom of God”
God’s Wise Provisions of Grace
A wise father makes provisions for his household, both immediate and future provisions. The wiser the father and the greater his abilities, the more certain and secure those provisions are. Our heavenly Father, with infinite wisdom, has devised and, with infinite ability, secures the provisions of his household, for time and eternity.
Being sinners by nature, we stand in need of atonement for all our sins. Our heavenly Father, in infinite mercy and wisdom, has provided the atonement we needed by the sacrifice of his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ repaired the law we broke and paid the debt we owed to it as our Substitute (Romans 8:1-15). When a sinner trusts the Lord Jesus Christ, he receives the atonement of sin by faith (Romans 5:11). Our faith does not make atonement, or even make atonement effectual. Christ made atonement for us. Our faith, the faith God gives us, receives the atonement.
We all, by nature, stand in need of peace and reconciliation with God. By nature, we are enemies to God. Our enmity toward God is altogether unwarranted. And our consciences crave peace and reconciliation. That is the reason man is so inclined to religion. But man can never make peace with God by works, experiences, and ceremonies of false religion. The peace of religion without Christ is never lasting peace.
But God has graciously provided peace for his elect and gives us peace with the gift of faith in Christ in the new birth. God was in Christ reconciling his chosen to himself by the blood of his dear Son (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:11-14; Colossians 1:20-21). He took away our sin, the cause of his wrath, by the blood of Christ shed at Calvary. And he takes away our enmity toward him by the almighty application of Christ’s blood to our hearts in regeneration, by the effectual operations of his grace.
Fallen man craves happiness, too. Man has a thirst and craving for real, satisfying joy and happiness, which nothing in this world can give. But our heavenly Father has provided for the perfect happiness of his children in Christ.
The soul of man is of a spiritual nature and must find happiness in the enjoyment of spiritual life. Christ purchased that for us. He sends his[DF1] Spirit to dwell within our hearts so that in the midst of great trouble we are satisfied to know “the Lord is my portion, saith my soul.”
Man is also a rational creature. We need to learn and know and expand our minds to be happy. God has met that need, too, giving us the Lord Jesus Christ to be the great Object of contemplation, meditation, and study, as well as worship and praise forever.
And man is an affectionate creature. We cannot be happy without loving and being loved. Yet, there is nothing and no one in this world in whom our love can find satisfaction, or whose love can give satisfaction, because, like us, everyone we love and all who love us are both sinful and dying. But Christ is a Lover whose love gives us rest. And Christ is an object of love in whom our love finds rest. — “I am my Beloved's, and his desire is toward me.” (Song of Solomon 7:10). Oh, how our great God, our heavenly Father, has wisely and graciously provided for the satisfaction of our souls in the love of Christ (1 John 4:16-19; Song of Solomon 1:2-4).
Every Good Thing
Every good thing men naturally crave has been provided for sinners in Christ. Do you want honor? In Christ we are kings and priests. Do you want riches? In Christ we have undiminishing, eternal riches, “the riches of his grace.” Do you want pleasure? At Christ’s right hand are pleasures for evermore. Do you want health and long life? Christ is Life!
Our great God has provided us with all needed good, both for our bodies and our souls, for time and eternity, in his dear Son (Matthew 6:21-34). Our Father has secured good for his children in every condition of life, too. The household of faith lacks nothing good in any circumstance. In affliction Christ is our Support. In poverty Christ is our Provision. In sorrow Christ is our Comfort. In temptation Christ is our Preserver. In darkness Christ is our Light. In bereavement Christ is our Friend. In death Christ is our Life.
And in our all-glorious Christ our all-gracious God has made provision for our bodies as well as our souls for all eternity (1 Corinthians 15:51-58). Jonathan Edwards wrote, “The bodies of the saints shall be raised to life…[Your] body shall be raised a spiritual body in incorruption and glory, and made like unto Christ’s glorious body, to shine as the sun in the kingdom of his Father, and to exist in a glorified state in union with the soul to all eternity.”
Yet, we have another need. Man needs to be qualified for and worthy of all these provisions and the enjoyment of them. None of us can really enjoy anything fully, if we do not have a right to it, if we are unworthy of it. Certainly, no one is worthy of these great blessings of grace by nature. No one has a right to them. No one is qualified to receive them by nature. But our heavenly Father has taken care of that, too. Our worthiness is Christ, his righteousness and his blood. Our claim to these great provisions of the Father’s house is faith in Christ. And even the faith by which we lay hold of Christ is the gift of God. Soon, very soon, God will make us perfectly worthy in our very own persons (Ephesians 5:25-30; Jude 24-25). Imagine that!
“When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
E'en then, this shall be all my plea:
Jesus hath lived and died for me.”