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November 14 Today’s Reading: Acts 15-16
“And it came to pass.”
Whatever comes to pass must come to pass; because God has ordained it for good. We must not judge things by their outward appearance. It may seem tragic that Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison; but it was not. The best thing that could happen did happen. Paul and Silas must go to that prison in Philippi, because there was an elect sinner there whom God determined must hear the Gospel and be saved. “And it came to pass!” Here is another example of the soul cheering truth of God’s sovereign providence (Psalm 76:10). In the midst of evil, God accomplishes good (Romans 8:28). Our Father sovereignly employed the angry rage of a wicked mob, the illegal actions of a corrupt judge, and the tormenting hiss of the old serpent to accomplish the salvation of His elect. What a wonderful, comforting thing this is to contemplate!
Sin and Sovereignty
The question is often raised, “How did sin and evil arise in God’s creation?” If God is absolutely sovereign, absolutely holy, and absolutely good, if he created all things good, how is it that pride was found in Lucifer’s heart? How were the fallen angels led to rebel against his throne? How was Adam seduced to sin?
The existence of evil is a problem which vexes our minds continually. We must, whenever considering such a subject, at once, as Toplady put it, “clip the wings of curiosity.” Knowing that God is not the author of sin, and that He never tempts any to evil (James 1:13-17), knowing that nothing comes to pass without His all-wise decree, the matter cannot be resolved in a more God honoring way than to use the words of our Lord as the expression of submissive faith, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
We bow before God in reverent submission and confess in the words of one who lived long ago, “Lord, I am darkness, but thou art light.” Before Him of whom are all things, we acknowledge our utter ignorance. We must be content to wait until our souls are freed from the influence of evil in the world above to know the mind and purpose of God in permitting the evil which yet engulfs our minds. Still, two things we know by divine revelation.
Everything God does, or permits, or allows, He ordained from eternity and brings to pass in time to show forth the greatness of His glory (Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:11-12; Revelation 5:13). It appears, then, that the perfections of God could not have been so gloriously revealed, as they now are in Christ, had evil never entered the universe. God all-wise ordained sin and evil that He might use it and overrule it to His own everlasting praise (Psalm 76:10). Had sin never entered into the world, how could the justice of God be known in punishing it? Had evil never existed, how could the wisdom of God be seen overruling it? Had sin never entered the world, how could the goodness of God be made manifest in pardoning and forgiving it? Had there never been any wickedness in God’s creation, how could the power of God be revealed in subduing it?
Without question, all evil in the world is included in the “all things” which work together for the everlasting good of God’s elect (Romans 8:28-30). 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 and crucifixion for the redemption of His people. 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.
O my heavenly Father, from the depths of my soul, I thank you for the knowledge that “all things are of God.” Give me grace ever to walk in this great light.