Jeremy Sams Art Blog

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Living In Sin...In God's Will

Divorce is the social norm of today. Marriage vows are simply sweet words and a marriage license is just a piece of paper. According to a recent study, the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is 42%. That's a pretty high number for those professing Jesus as Lord and Savior and claiming the authority of the Scriptures.

After becoming a Facebook user this past year, I've been appalled at some of the statuses that "Christians" put up. People claiming to be "right where God wants me", "in God's will", or "in God's plan" while living in open sin and rebellion to God is just plain disgusting. I've seen spouses who've walked out of their marriage (for un-biblical reasons) post these kinds of phrases while all their carnal friends condone and praise their rebellious situation and refusal to submit to God's Word. Sorry ladies, your husband's failure to send flowers or give you compliments is not a biblical cause for divorce...and, fellas, your wife's refusal to wear lingerie and lack of cleaning and cooking skills is not a reason either.

Sadly, unbiblical divorce is not the only issue faced in people claiming to be in God's see the pics of people partying it up, then the next day claiming they're glad they're in God's will. Are you kidding me???

Now, let me remind you...I'm all about God's sovereignty. I try to live according to it and have experienced it in my life, especially this past year. But, here's where it gets tricky. If we believe in a God who is in control of all aspects of our life: birth, health, finances, weather, salvation, sanctification, death, etc... does this mean that God is in control of our sin as well? I've had several people, while contemplating God's sovereignty, ask me, "If God is sovereign and He has planned for everything that's ever going to happen...this must mean that it's ok for me to sin, because ultimately, God is the One who planned it...right?"

First of all, those who claim God's grace or His sovereignty as a license to sin have a twisted mentality and their "damnation is just" according to Romans 3:8.

Second, let's again consult the Scriptures to make sense of this dilemma by examining the prophecy of Peter's denial in Luke 22:31-32. In this passage we'll see God's sovereignty over our temptations:

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

Satan is definitely at work here, but he is not sovereign in it, nor is Peter...Notice that the temptation comes from Satan, not from God, for God tempts no man to sin (James 1:13). Notice also, that Jesus, after proclaiming His intercessory prayer, says "when you are converted"...he doesn't say, "if you're converted"...No, He says "when". In essence, He's saying, "Peter, Satan wants you and you will fail miserably,  but I have prayed for you and WHEN you repent and turn back, strengthen your brothers. You will fail, but I've made sure your failure will not be final."

We can also see God's sovereignty over man's sin in Acts 2:23:

"Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:"

Notice first, that it was God's determined purpose and prearranged plan that Jesus would be crucified and this predetermined plan was the involvement of man's sin. But notice secondly, their predetermined sinful actions were not condoned. Acts 2:36-37 shows that they were completely responsible and we see their reaction.

So, is God schizophrenic? Does He plan for us to sin then punish us for doing what He planned? How do we understand these things? Again, let's consult the Scriptures.

In Deuteronomy 29:29, we see the two wills of God. We see His will of Decree and His will of  Precept.

"The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law." 
 "The secret things" are God's will of decree. These are the things God has predetermined such as Peter's temptation and the crucifixion of Jesus...Basically, this is God's business and not meant for us to know. He is:
"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" Isaiah 46:10. 
He also tells us in Daniel 4:35,
"And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"
His ways are higher than our ways for sure, and wouldn't it be sad if He left us in the dark as to what His will is? However, when we read the rest of Deut. 29:29, we see that He doesn't leave us clueless as to how we should live: "but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law."

What are those things which are revealed?  These are His commandments, His Words, His precepts. When God says, "Thou shalt" or "Thou shall not", He is revealing His preceptive will to us. These are not suggestions, but commands. So, if we ignore what God tells us or rebel against His revealed commands, then we are NOT living according to God's will. Oh, you may be in His "plan", but you are rebelling against His revealed preceptive will.

This is a terrifying place to be..."in His plan" but rebelling against His will. Consider Pharoah in Romans 9:17-18,
"For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth."
 When you read the story of Pharoah in Exodus, we see that Pharoah was definitely in God's will of decree, but he was certainly not acting according to God's preceptive will...and we see the purpose was that God's power be made manifest...even in Pharoah's destruction.

In closing, be warned if you're living against God's revealed will. He may be raising you up to crush you and magnify His glory in giving you justice. If this concerns you at all, be like Peter and be converted so you can show God's glory in giving you grace and mercy. If you feel that you've failed in remaining in God's preceptive will, know that your failure doesn't have to be final. Turn from your sin and find mercy in Christ. For those who love God and are the called according to His purpose, He's working all things for good...even your failures. But, if your mentality is to do evil that good may come, your damnation is just (Romans 3:8).

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