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“The Manifold Wisdom of God”
The Presence of Sin in God’s Universe — (Genesis 2:17)
The presence of sin in God’s universe is either according to God’s will, or contrary to it. It is here either because he wills it, or because he is unable to prevent it. The fact is, the fall of our father Adam, and the entrance of sin into the world by him, was one of the countless links of providence essential to Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection as our Substitute for the redemption of our souls. To suggest (as many ignorantly do) that the fall was not purposed by God is to assert that the incarnation, birth, life, death, resurrection, and glory of Christ, and the salvation of his people, by virtue of his obedience as our Substitute, is all, from beginning to end, the result of chance, luck, or blind fate. That, of course, is as absurd as it is blasphemous. — All evil in God’s creation exists by the will and purpose of God for the everlasting glory of his own great name and the eternal good of his elect.
Yes, the evil that is in God’s universe is here by God’s purpose, design, and sovereign decree. It does not matter whether we talk about moral evil, social evil, physical evil, or evil under any other name, either it is here by accident, or by purpose. Either God rules evil, or he is ruled by evil. There is no alternative. The Book of God tells us plainly that our God is God in control, absolute control of all things. The Word of God declares emphatically that the fall of Adam, the cussing of Shemei, the evil spirit from the Lord upon Saul, even the very fall of Lucifer (Isaiah 14:24-27) and our Savior’s betrayal by Judas and crucifixion by wicked men (Acts 2:23) were things ordained of God.
Believing hearts hear the Word of God, and bow to it (Isaiah 45:7). God did not say to Adam, “If you eat.” He said, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” The fall of our father Adam was by divine design. Adam’s fall as the federal head of all men was designed by God to be a type and picture, as well as a preparation for, the redemption of God’s elect by Christ, our Federal Head and Covenant Surety (Romans 5:12, 18-19). In order that the love of God in Christ might be made known to us in justifying grace, through blood atonement, Adam fell and we fell in him.
All sin and evil in the universe is under God’s total, absolute control and is serving his wise and holy purpose of grace in Christ (Psalm 76:10). Let’s see if this is not obvious, by just a casual glance at some of the facts revealed in Scripture which are most commonly known to men. Here are seven horribly evil acts performed by men, acts for which the people involved were each personally responsible. Yet, they are things wisely ordained, ruled, and overruled by our heavenly Father for the salvation of his people and the glory of his dear Son as our Savior.
1. Lot’s incest gave us Ruth, the Moabite grandmother of our Savior.
2. Joseph’s brothers’ betrayal of him set him on the throne of Egypt to save his people.
3. David’s sin in the matter of Uriah gave us Solomon, through whom Christ came into the world.
4. Judas’ kiss of betrayal was God’s means of delivering his Son into the hands of the Jews.
5. Pilate’s weakness delivered our Savior over to the will of reprobate men.
6. It was by the will of God-hating rebels that the Lord of glory was crucified upon the cursed tree as our Substitute, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23).
There is no greater display of God’s total sovereignty over even the wicked deeds of men than in the actions of reprobate men, religious men, politically powerful men, and drunks, harlots, and thieves in crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me show you (Mark 14:1-2).
In those two verses of Inspiration the Holy Spirit shows us that the Lord our God is the God who can be trusted. Here is a glaring contrast between the God of the Bible and the gods of men. The gods of religion want to do things, desire to do things, and try to do things, but are unable to accomplish them because of the works of the devil and the wills of men. The God of the Bible, the only true God, our God and heavenly Father never wants to do, desires to do, or tries to do anything except what he does. He is God in whom we can be confident, God who can be trusted implicitly, because he always has his way and does as he will.
In the first two verses of Mark 14 we have a very clear example of God’s total sovereignty and omnipotent power to accomplish his will. He who truly is God over all and blessed forever always has his way. Here we see our great God disappointing the plans and designs of wicked men, overruling their wills and decisions to accomplish his own eternal purpose of grace in predestination. Our Lord’s enemies did not want his death to be a public spectacle. Repeatedly, they tried to stone him to death, throw him off a cliff, or in some other way murder him without the common people being aware of what they had done. — “The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.” But that was not what God had purposed. Therefore, in his wise and adorable providence, he simply overruled their schemes. God defeated their counsel and performed his own, nailing his darling Son to the cursed tree to died “the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God!”