Morning, August 2, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Who works all things after the counsel of his will.” — Ephesians 1:11
Our belief in God’s wisdom presumes and requires that he has a settled purpose and plan in the work of salvation. What would creation have been without his design? Is there a fish in the sea, or a fowl in the air, which was left to chance in its creation? No, but in every bone, joint, and muscle, sinew, gland, and blood vessel, you note the presence of a God working everything according to the design of infinite wisdom. And shall God be present in creation, ruling over all, and not in grace? Shall the new creation have the fickle genius of free will to preside over it when divine counsel rules the old creation? Look at Providence! We know that not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our grief in scales, and the hills of our tribulation in balances. And shall there be a God in providence and not in grace? Shall the shell of a seed be ordained by wisdom and the kernel be left to blind chance? No; he knows the end from the beginning. He sees in its appointed place, not merely the corner-stone which he has laid in fair colors, in the blood of his dear Son, but he beholds in their ordained position each of the chosen stones taken out of the quarry of nature, and polished by his grace; he sees the whole from corner to cornice, from base to roof, from foundation to pinnacle. He has in his mind a clear knowledge of every stone which shall be laid in its prepared space, and how vast the edifice shall be, and when the capstone shall be brought forth with an outcry of “Grace! Grace! to it.” At the last it shall be clearly seen that in every chosen vessel of mercy, Jehovah did as he willed with his own; and that in every part of the work of grace he accomplished his purpose, and glorified his own name.
My notes: Spurgeon uses the term “the fickle genius of free will,” as opposed to Providence. The term “providence” in a religious sense is not that common in church language these days. It speaks to the “beneficial provision God makes for His church,” based on “prescience,” or foreknowledge. As I’ve mentioned before, we are trying to comprehend these things that are incomprehensible to us, using inaccurate analogies. God doesn’t look into the future; he resides there every bit as much as He does in what we consider the present. Revelation tells us that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was “slain before the foundation of the earth.”
God has never had a “thought occur to Him;” he has never had a “moment of inspiration.” Even the term “foreknowledge” is vague, in that God knowing something before it happened implies a flow of time that really doesn’t exist for God. He is no more a captive of time than He is a captive to space.
Again, I take the scripture at face value, at in that view it seems clearly that we have the free will to accept or reject Him. At the same time, I accept His control over my destiny completely. I can’t comprehend his eternal nature, only what He has revealed…