THE PLAN OF GOD FOR YOU
(NB These are the first six pages o a book I have almost finished. I would value opinions on it as I may serialise it in this site. Please pass it on to others for their comment. Robert Hunsdale)
GOD’S GENERAL PLAN
Are we a planet wandering aimlessly through the universe? Has history no meaning? Is life simply and entirely an association of matter, regardless of it’s complexity; as the materialist would have us believe? Is man’s destiny a biological one? Is man’s destiny based upon certain laws or rules in the cosmos? Is the world heading for a new Ice Age? Will the worsening ecological situation bring and end to mankind and the earth? Will we be invaded by aliens who will destroy us, make us slaves or help us get things right? Is it all chance is there no one out there? To follow these ideas leaves us in a state of hopelessness, we feel alone and left to our own destructive ways. The Christian believes there is a purpose in creation, that God designed this universe, this world and man himself. The Christian further believes that this infinite and all-powerful person has a “PLAN” which includes everything which occurs. The word “PLAN” stresses God’s unity of intention, that is, what He wills, it emphasizes the intelligent dimensions of God’s decisions. He has determined a time when this world will cease to be, a time when mankind will judged by Him. Since God created all things and has a purpose for all things He also has a purpose for you and me. There is a destiny for all of the people who ever lived.
History is not a series of haphazard events, but God’s concepts and designs the creators plan put into action. He made the master plan, the drawings, the plan, the strategy, the rules, and the natural, physical and spiritual laws. It is a dynamic plan full of action, life and animation involving the galaxies, the planets, the sun, moon, and stars, and this old earth of ours. It includes both angelic and human history – past, present and future. A design always requires a designer. Our universe is intricately designed and infinitely ordered. It is not a cosmic accident, it did not come out of chaos, or random chance. How could unthinking atoms create intelligent thought? You cannot bring order out of chaos, that is absurd and illogical. You cannot create something out of nothing. The complex order of the human body, of the finely tuned universe demands an intelligent designer. Prognosticators abound who profess to have ability to unfold what the future holds both for individuals and nations. God alone has all the information and the mystery of history is in His Word. As Christians search His word the plan of God unfolds for them.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). He created time; it began at creation. It has not only a beginning but also an ending. Time that is past is lost forever. Times location is in the present, we only get one shot at life, one time around, that is why believers should make the most of the “NOW.” We should be desirous of making an impact in our world now. The “PURPOSE” of God in creation is presently being completed.
“For of him and through him and to him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36.)
All things are moving toward their consummation that “God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). He includes all the negative things, the wars, disease, pollution, hatred, disasters until the day these things will be no more in or fallen world. The awesomeness of His will for all things is continually being revealed to the people of God.
“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, in-Him.” (Eph. 1:9, 10).
GOD’S SPECIFIC PLAN
Our personal history is made up of a period of time, which we call “LIFE.” What we do in time has consequences when we exit it and continue on in eternity. We can have a personal, loving relationship with our Creator in time. People who have no future hope are engrossed with the present pleasures of time. In doing so they miss out on the whole point of the fantastic pleasure and privilege of learning about God and serving Him in the here and now. They have no sense of destiny, no meaningful purpose, no joyful expectation of Heaven.
Both personal and general history is made up of a series of events. Informed believers are aware of God’s majestic invisible hand providentially guiding them and holding them through life. They have an insatiable hunger to know and understand more of the fabulous purposes of God. History proves that man is incurably God-conscious and finds it hard to resist Him. Everyone reaches God-consciousness at some point except babies, toddlers and perhaps folks with mental incapacity from birth or early youth.
God not only inhabits eternity but He puts eternity in the heart of man whom He created in time. We cannot comprehend God or eternity; therefore it is necessary for God to reveal Himself and His plan to us. Some of us will comprehend more than others. The work of God is the vital key to Himself and His purposes in space, time and matter as well as in eternity.
ENTERING GOD’S PLAN
God is unique; and His plan is perfect. When we become Christians a new world opens up to us. It’s like a laser beam smashing a barrier to an unknown world. Christ says He is the door, when we enter we are saved (Christ John 10:7). If we get the foundations correct the building will be erected with fewer problems and it will not be in jeopardy. It is of utmost importance at this juncture that we are going through the right door and we are going through it in the right way. The popular terminologies such as “accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour”; “invite Christ into your life”; “make a decision for Christ or “ask Jesus into your heart” are all not based upon scripture. There is no other door, no other way, not a Mormon way, not a Buddhist way, not an Islamic way, not a Jewish way, not a Protestant or Roman Catholic way, you do not enter by being good or producing good works. No religion can forgive sin, no religion can die for you, no philosophy can make it possible for you, they are all made of up of sinners like ourselves. Christ is unique and perfect: He is “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”. No matter what religion a man is, no matter how good a man is he cannot get into heaven without Christ as His Saviour. If God let even one person in by a back door it would be a slap in the face to Christ since He gave His life a ransom and God’s integrity would be in question. We could not trust Him anymore if He does not keep His word. The cross divides men, the saved and the unsaved. Christ is the divider of men, the line is His cross. The preaching of the cross to the unsaved is foolishness but to the saved it is the power of God unto salvation. Paul makes it clear that salvation is not by the wisdom of the world. If you were to bring together all the great minds, the scientists, the philosopher’s, the religious leaders they could not devise the great plan of salvation. No methods, no theories, no opinions can even come near Gods mighty wisdom. That is why God set the cross upon Calvary, the place of the skull. The skull houses man’s brain God put his plan above the brain or the skull of mankind. He destroys the wisdom of the wise and brings to nothing the understanding of the prudent. But it pleased God that by the foolishness of the preaching of the cross to save them that believe. (1 Cor. 1:18-23). Becoming a Christian brings us into God’s dynamic lifestyle for us. A metamorphosis begins, and we become more like Christ.
The following definition of repentance is taken from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology:
“Repentance. The Old Testament primary word for “repent” (niham) is used to signify a completed change, meaning “to be sorry, to regret, to be comforted” it reflects the emotions involved. The LXX translated niham in the Septuagint with metanoeo and metamelomai. However the idea of the New Testament idea of repentance lies primarily in niham rather than sub, meaning “to turn back, away from or toward.” In a religious sense. The LXX consistently translates sub with epistrepo and apostrepho. Repentance is follows a turning about which is the gift of God (Jer. 31:18-20; Ps. 80:3, 7, 19). Isa. 55:6-7 gives a typical OT call to repentance and conversion. Heartfelt sorrow for sin causes one to have faith in Christ which leads to conversion (Acts 3:19; 26:20).
Repentance (metanoia) in the NT mean’s “to think after.” It is an inward change of the mind, affections and convictions and purpose, an abandoning and turning from sin and self. It is a commitment rooted in the fear of god and sorrow for offenses committed against Him, which, when accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ, results in an outward turning from sin to god and his service in all of life. It points to an outward conscious change.”
It carries with it moral ramifications. It will result in a change of behaviour. It involves the intellect, will and emotions. The intellect understands we are sinners, and that our sin causes us to stand guilty before a holy God. It understands Christ is the one who can save us and bring us into right relationship with God. There is a change of mind (Matt. 12,:41; Lk. 11:32; 15:7, 10). There is an emotional regret or sorrow over the past evil course of life (Matt. 21:29-30). “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation…” (2 Cor.7:10). The will is involved and it is a change of direction of life for a new goal (Matt. 13:15; Lk. 17:4; 22:32). The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance with regret” The mental aspect is that God grants repentance to the unbeliever, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles a repentance that a leads to life” (Acts 11:18; 5:31). It is not a human work. Where there is no observable difference in conduct, there can be no confidence that repentance has taken place. True faith will show a change in behaviour and direction with a commitment to Christ. If anyone goes right back into living the old life and doing the sinful things they have always done it is questionable if they became a true Christian and received a new life.”
Paul, when correcting the Corinthians chose to use the word metamelomai meaning “to regret or be sorry” for our sin (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). He did not regret it if he made them sorry by sending them a letter of rebuke because of mutiny in the church. He knew that sorrow over their sin would affect them and cause them to repent which leads to obedience. Their repentance caused him to rejoice. He thought for a time it was too harsh but in reality it was what they needed. Sin affects us in our mental and emotional state it leaves us restless until we get things right with God. The evidence of God’s working a life is the fruit of a transformed behavior (1 John. 3:10). Professing Christians lack the fruit of righteousness and have no assurance. (1 John. 2:4).
Justification (dikaioo) is to pronounce, accept, and treat as just. It is a judicial act of administering the law – in this case, by declaring a verdict of acquittal, and so excluding possible condemnation. Justification settles the legal status of the person justified (Rom. 8:33-34). It is not of works, it is not faith plus works, it is by faith alone by grace alone. This is a once for all act and happens at the point of one’s salvation. It happens when a person believes in Christ’s atoning death and justifying resurrection (Rom. 4:23; 10:8). God pardons and accepts believing sinners (Lk.7: 47; Acts 10:43; 1 John 1:7-2:2). God has been wronged by man his justice and holiness rightly condemns us, his mercy in pardoning us and accepting us is only through Christ’s finished work on the cross. He bore our punishment on the cross. Justification opens up privileges for us because we are now accept e das forgiven and adopted into god’s family.
Sanctification (hagias) “to make holy, to set apart, to sanctify, to hallow”. It happens at the point of Salvation also. God sets us apart for himself. However it is an on-going work of God that will reach its completion when we get to heaven. Experientially the work of sanctification is going on but positionally it has been done, “We have been sanctified….are sanctified, not by moral transformation, but by the sacrifice of Christ “once for all” (Heb. 10:10, 14, 29; 2:11; 9:13-14; 13:12). It is the same with salvation we were saved but the work of salvation is continuing and we work out our own salvation (which is already our possession) with fear and trembling. Some believers are not aware of this and continue to struggle with their imperfections looking for an experience that will render them sinless in this life. The pressure this brings is enormous and some end up with emotional and mental stress.
Some people have a religious experience, walked the aisle, pray a prayer, or mix with true Christians but have never trusted Christ for salvation. They become Christianized. Many of these people end up getting positions in Churches or organizations and begin to treat the Church as a business or a club instead of a dynamic body of people forging into enemy territory to save those who are captives. There are those who just love to see numbers coming to meetings, having a great time of worship but the awe for God, the justice and judgement of God avoided. He is an awesome God and Paul said, “By the terror of God I persuade men”.
A person believes by the work of the Holy Spirit who convicts and He enlightens, He gives the ability to believe, He regenerates and gives a new life (John. 3:5). He brings the new Christian into a new sphere, the sphere of the Spirit. He baptises us into the Body of Christ, the Church (1 Cor.12:13).
God is a unique person and His desire is that we share His life, His love and His goodness. We now possess the destiny of Christ (Rom 8:17, 1 Pet 1:4). Our inward man is progressively being changed after the entrance point of the new birth. (2 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 4:15, l Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:18). Our destiny is wrapped up in His majestic being; we are now joint heirs with His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17; l Peter 3:18). It is truly wonderful and beyond comprehension that such an almighty being would take a personal interest in mortals such as you and I, and to permit them to share the destiny of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God’s plan of grace. It is God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
God’s love is a foreign (heavenly) kind of love and that someone so holy and unique would love their enemies, and not only that, but heap countless blessings upon them is truly amazing. What kind of love is this? It is spectacular and amazing, beyond our understanding. It is divine love and alien to us. (1 John. 3:1-2).
The work of the Son of God on Calvary is unique. All sin, past, present and future was gathered up and smashed down upon Him by God. (Isaiah. 53:4-5). He made it possible for us to enter into an eternal relationship with God. (John. 1:12) Man who was created on earth, he is earthy and he must change in order for him to spend eternity with God. (John. 3:3-7). Man was created and born into time and will continue to live eternally in either Heaven or Hell. Christ’s work had a tremendous impact on the cosmos, the universe, and general and personal history with eternal ramifications. (Revelation 20:11-15; Philippians 2:10-11) The moment the work of Calvary becomes a reality to us and we put our faith in His sufficiency to save us, we become spiritually alive (1 Thessalonians. 5:23, Ephesians 2:1). We are no longer blind to the things of God, and from that moment we can choose to make positive decisions and grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of Him. On the other hand we can live in mediocrity or a checkered lifestyle making little progress. It is our choice and choices have consequences. This makes life more difficult and complex. We have the freedom to choose to live and walk in the Spirit, or live and follow out the way of the flesh. Entering into the plan (into Christ) brings many dramatic blessings that have never before happened in history. He adopts us into His family, He indwells us by the Holy Spirit, he makes us royal priests, and He sends us out as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Peter 2:9). God the Son and God the Holy Spirit indwell us simultaneously. He brings us into a new lifestyle and heaps endless advantages upon us in time and for eternity. Now that we are His sons and daughters He will “withhold no good thing from us” (Psalm 84:11, Romans 8:32, 2 Peter 1:3). He has made us free from a lifetime of slavery and released us into a life of tremendous freedom, riches and blessings (Ephesians. 1:3,18, 19, Galatians. 5:1).
ASSURANCE AND SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN GOD’S PLAN
Assurance is well-being of the soul. It makes us comfortable and joyful in the Lord. If we lack it life on earth can become a living hell. As we set out in our adventure in this book it is important for you to have assurance and confidence that you are one of God’s children by the New Birth.
“A well- grounded assurance of heaven and happiness, instead of puffing a man up with pride, will make and keep him very humble.” Matthew Henry.
“Sin may never quite bereave a saint of the jewel, his grace; but it may steal away the key to the cabinet, his assurance.” William Jenkins.
“The Holy Spirit is no skeptic, and the things he has written in our hearts are not doubts or opinions but are more certain than sense in life itself.” Martin Luther.
“Faith is our seal, assurance of faith is God’s seal.” Christopher Nesse.
“Assurance of hope is more than life. It is health, strength, vigor, activity, energy, manliness, beauty.” R. C. Ryle.
“Assurance is glory in the bud, it is the suburbs of paradise.” Thomas Brooks.
How can a person rejoice and sing praise unto the Lord if they are not sure that they are His children? How can they be joyful if they are full of doubt? How can they be cheerful and thankful if they have fear and doubt about their salvation and the future? How can a man go on if he is unsure of where he is going, he will never be confident? He will never have the confidence that he is carrying out God’s plan and will for his life. We will go on moaning and complaining because we do not know the sweet joy and security in our souls. Sin, Satan, the world, the flesh attack and try to destroy the believer’s assurance. With assurance in our hearts we can face the trials, the adverse circumstances the sufferings, the miseries of life with a deep joy that is unspeakable. We spend more time worrying and sighing than we do rejoicing; we are saddened instead of being gladdened. Assurance makes heavy afflictions light, long afflictions short, and bitter afflictions sweet. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” It is not a superficial joy but the joy of the Lord that strengthens us. God is your house, your dwelling place.
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God” …. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:26-30).
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ASSURANCE
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and your election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10). God is sure who are the elect and has given them eternal life but sometimes believers may not have assurance of salvation. Peter is telling us to “make all possible haste and speed” or make it your business to “make your calling and election sure. (stable).” When this is done you have a real assurance in your heart, you have a real sense of God’s calling in your life. It is a treasure worth digging for and owning. It will put heaven in a man’s heart and a spring in his step. It causes your mind to swim in the oceans of heaven. Assurance is one’s confidence that he has possessed eternal salvation. This is security, Peter tells us if we possess the qualities mentioned in the verses 5-7 we will never stumble. He will see that this life is useful and fruitful vs 8. He will not stumble into doubt or fear; despair and questioning but enjoy every assurance that he is saved. He then gives us an assurance of “an entrance into heaven” vs. 11.
The Scripture is our foundation for assurance. “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2). “Being justified by faith” is the past tense, it is done the moment we receive Christ as our Savour. It is a one-time legal declaration with continuing results. “We have peace with God”, is the present tense and is a present reality. We are no longer at war with God we have surrendered to Him because we could not fight Him He is too powerful. The conflict is over and we are reconciled to him.
“There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). There is “now” no condemnation. We will never meet God as our judge to condemn us. He judged our sin when Christ bore them upon Himself at the cross. God has now declared us “not guilty.” There are many more scriptures giving us assurance. (John 1:12; John 10:22-30; John. 14:21-23) Paul said he was confident “…that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians. 1:5).
John says, “These things have I written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John. 5:13). The evidence is in the fact that you have put your trust in Christ alone for salvation. This assures you of eternal life. You have a “know to salvation.” The Word of God pours out to us this wonderful truth so that we may be sure of our salvation. The tense in the verse is important, to “Know” means to have certainty. Believes can be absolutely certain and have confidence that they possess eternal life. We now have “access” to God and we “stand” in a permanent position in God’s grace, and we “rejoice in hope” our rejoicing is in the glory of God. After Paul lays the foundation he now goes on to tell the believers this assurance is why they “glory in tribulations” or pressures that squeezes in upon you and how “perseverance” or endurance helps you be jubilant under the weight. He says the assurance produces character or proof, it is used for attesting of metal. God is fully aware of all that happens in your life. Nothing comes to you but that it has been filtered through His hands first. That is assurance.
Assurance is also seen in a transformed life. A new life that has left behind the old sinful ways, the unbelief, trusting in religion or system of works. It is also characterized by producing the fruit of righteousness and the fruits of the Spirit. People will see a change in the way you live, a change in your attitudes, a change in the direction you are going.
ASSURANCE, REASON AND FEELINGS
Reason is a gift from God but it is not the basis of our salvation. When doubts, fears and darkness cover your soul you may come to the wrong conclusion. The Spirit goes deeper than the mind and unreasonable things. When feelings become the judge of your circumstances then you put them above God’s Word. The right way is to judge our reasoning and our feeling on the truth of God. Feelings can cause us to be tossed two and fro, and end up confused. Let Scripture be the judge of your condition. Sometimes you will not feel as close to God as other times. Feelings are a gift of God and when used wisely are good but we must not them control our lives.
Satan attacks the believer’s assurance. He is a mighty foe and we defeat him only when we follow God’s word and put it into action. Having assurance will enable to go further into God’s plan.
BLESSED WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
We are blessed with “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3). We find everything we need. God lavishes His blessings upon us. He has given us magnificent assets and spiritual advantages. These are for each one of us not for some special individual. We are all privileged. We have tremendous resources that come right out of God vast treasure house. The blessings are abundant and an every flowing supply. When taken out it is immediately replenished. You cannot exhaust them. God’s wealth is given to the believer through Jesus Christ. This includes a variety of ways and in different circumstances. He has tailored the best for each one of His children. He knows what is best to give to whom and when to give it. He always wills the highest and best for us and we should never jealously compare our lives with others. We are to keep our eyes on Him, not on others.
Blessings out of adverse circumstances. These blessing come in many forms. Some believers are blessed with wealth, health and family. This is good. However there are those who go through difficult times, times of oppression and hardship, illness and suffering. Regardless of good or bad situations in life “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. 8:28). All the various adversities will work together for the believers good. Paul said, “For when I am weak I am Strong”. He was blessed with the Lords strength in a time of weakness. His greatest suffering was his greatest boast. God blessed him with wisdom in order to understand the greater good. It is wrong to conclude that bad things are good, but wise to see the overruling hand of God directing them for good. The Psalmist said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.” (Ps. 119:71). Even affliction can bring its blessings and help us to know Gods ways. All these things are permitted to bring us into a closer relationship with God and strengthen our faith. He blesses us with strength when we are weak. He blesses us with His presence when we feel alone. He blesses us with His love when we feel unloved. Some believers are blessed with wealth, health and family. This is good but not as important as having that close relationship with Him. He will see us through all the obstacles in life. He will make a way of escape for every temptation we meet. He is the sovereign Lord and controls all things. God even converts the desert experiences into great blessing. He can turn the wilderness into a flower garden (Isaiah 35:1). The best way to go through life is to know He holds you in His hand and He holds tomorrow and all it will bring. Trust Him He knows best. We must not let anything or anyone block Him out. We must trust Him in times of prosperity and in times of need. We will always benefit from His love and grace. Our capacity for spiritual blessings can grow. We must see life and all its details through the eyes of God. It is an adventure of faith and as we develop we understand history as it unfolds. We understand man and his ways. Catastrophes and adverse circumstances fall into perspective as we understand His plan. The mature believer can handle the disasters and tragedies of life, its details and changing circumstances and still have a sense of security regarding the plan of God for their life. They continue to press on in spite of opposition and tend to see adverse circumstances as a means of building faith and character. (Job 19:25-27), Job’s faith carried him beyond trouble and even death.