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Things Don't Just Happen

by Tom Stewart
July 8, 2002

"Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the Counsel of His Own Will"
(Ephesians 1:11).

Evolution makes life the result of natural selection. For no particular reason, nothing became something. Then, it slowly but gradually struggled into the form that you presently see. Evolution lends itself to an Accidental Theory of History. With just such ridiculous argumentation, Aaron defended to Moses his fashioning of an idol for Israel. "And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf" (Exodus 32:24). Humanism with its supreme confidence in self, reinforces a Destiny Theory of History, i.e., the belief that history is only what you make it. Moments before the great Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was humbled by the Almighty, he extolled his accomplishments with just such proud humanism. "The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30). Conspiratorialism, which conceives of the control of history by the arrangement of human events by supremely evil men from the highest levels of religion, politics, economics, etc., has been characterized as a Devil Theory of History. It was such a viewpoint employed by Diabolos, when he unsuccessfully attempted to seduce Jesus into worshipping him, i.e., "8 Again, the Devil taketh [Jesus] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:8-9). And, this same worship, Antichrist will soon attempt to impose upon the world. "3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition; 4 who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:3-4).

In contrast, Christianity promotes a Providential Outlook on History, which appropriately sees the hand of God in all the affairs of man.
"Let the Heavens be glad, and let the Earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth" (1Chronicles 16:31). The Righteous hang upon the gracious interposition of the LORD to cause them "to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13), while the Wicked cannot even conceive that the Holy Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25) so manages their affairs without authoring their sin that He can confidently declare, "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (Isaiah 45:7). The Apostle Peter refers to these Wicked "as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed" (2Peter 2:12). "28:22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the LORD GOD of Hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole Earth... 29:20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off" (Isaiah 28:22; 29:20). Christianity presents to the world a consistent view of sinners saved from their sins, i.e., "Much more then, being now justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9), sanctified by their sufferings, i.e., "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8), and glorified in their Destination, i.e., "Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Romans 8:30), that the only surprise to the Saints is that we still are here. "Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).

Using this key understanding that things don't just happen, the Professing Christian should not sit as an aloof spectator to life, analyzing the fortunes and misfortunes of others, i.e.,
"Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou" (Isaiah 65:5). Neither are we to be consumed by the surf and tide of events providentially designed by our Father to form us in His crucible into a "perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). The ability to think about the things happening to us means that the Living God is allowing us the opportunity to cooperate with Him in our own sanctification by requiring us to consider how to walk holy in our continually changing circumstances, for we cannot yet see Him without a Practical Holiness, i.e., "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14). If the "High and Lofty One That Inhabiteth Eternity" (Isaiah 57:15) was pleased to save us only to immediately reward us with Heaven, we would already be at home in the Celestial City; but, we are still here. Instead, we must use the moral agency of the image of God given to us to seek His Wisdom concerning our circumstances to find what attribute or characteristic of the LORD Jesus Christ that we may claim by faith to assist us in conforming to Him. "3 According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the Knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Peter 1:3-4).

For example, if the attribute that the Spirit of God is attempting to fashion and increase in us is patience, then be it known that our Elder Brother Jesus--
"He is not ashamed to call [us] brethren" (Hebrews 2:11)-- patiently but unsuccessfully waited His entire earthly life for the conversion of His brothers, James, Joses, Juda, and Simon, and His sisters (Mark 6:3)-- "For neither did His brethren believe in Him" (John 7:5). But, we know that subsequently, the Apostle Paul mentions meeting an apostle, who was one of Jesus' brothers. "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the LORD's brother" (Galatians 1:19). The moral is that we must likewise patiently "follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21). When we willingly "hope and quietly wait for the Salvation of the LORD" (Lamentations 3:26), then we will "grow in grace, and in the Knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18). The grace of patience will flourish in us, as will the "much fruit" (John 15:5) of the Spirit, i.e., "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22, 23). Because we know that things don't just happen, we willingly allow the LORD to work the attribute of patience in us, though it means that we must "glory in tribulations." "3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 and patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 and hope maketh not ashamed; because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:3-5).

Since wisdom is seeing things from God's point of view, then if the All Wise God allows us to understand His hand in Current Events, we can demonstrate to our own satisfaction that things don't just happen.
"And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" (1Chronicles 12:32). There must be great value in "understanding what the will of the LORD is" (Ephesians 5:17), for it not only enables us to "do the will of God" (Mark 3:35), but we will also be able to intelligently fellowship with our Creator both now and in Eternity. "Thou shalt guide me with Thy Counsel, and afterward receive me to Glory" (Psalm 73:24). The Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10) will teach us of "things to come" (John 16:13), enabling us to cooperate with Him "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy" (Daniel 9:24). Jesus taught even His youngest disciple to pray, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew 6:10). Since things don't just happen, we must truly trust the Saviour for all things, for then we will rejoice in the opportunity to be conformed to Him, to cooperate with Him, and to fellowship with Him. "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the Living God, Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe" (1Timothy 4:10).


Tom Stewart

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