Some “All Things” to be Thankful For

If you think this verse means that whatever life brings you, its all going to be fine, because God’s going to fix everything for me in my life. You are going to be very disappointed in God’s promise in Romans 8:28. 

Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What does it say? In everything give thanks. Everything? Everything!  

Why? By God’s divine providence, everything comes from Him for your eternal and spiritual good.

We give thanks in everything because whatever it is that you now are experiencing  is God’s will in Christ Jesus concerning you.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

So all things work together for good? Depends on how you look at it!

If you think this verse means that whatever life brings you, it’s all going to be fine, because God’s going to fix everything for me in my life. You are going to be very disappointed in God’s promise in Romans 8:28. 

Because the fact of the matters is, your loved ones will die of cancer, your friend will die of a sudden heart attack. Friends and family will let you down.  Life will hit you hard.

When it happens to you this verse sounds like its nothing but a broken promise from God. 

What does the verse say? First lets take it in context. Paul’s talking to believers in Jesus Christ who are in-dwelled with the Holy Spirit.

We can’t divorce verse 28 from the following verses. 

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30

He foreknew,
He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,
He also called; and these whom He called,
He also justified; and these whom He justified,
He also glorified.

Today on Thanksgiving I have some “All Things” to be thankful for. 

I see five things!

  1. We know that He foreknew us before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4
  2. We know that He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5
  3. We know that He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 2 Timothy 1:9
  4. We know having now been justified by His blood; we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:9
  5. We know this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus and we will be made into the image of Christ. Philippians 1:6, Philippians 3:21

Because we’re chosen by grace through faith in Christ and redeemed by His blood, we now walk by faith in the One who saved us. So while we are passing through this world, experiencing the All Things, knowing they are working together by God’s Sovereignty and His holy providence for the good of those who love and belong to Him.

When we are going through some pain in our lives, some trial or heartache, know that our Father the sovereign God of the universe is in control of all things, causing it to work for our good.

You see? All things are done according to His purpose, “All Things”.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:31

In everything give thanks because the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

and that’s a beautiful thing! 

What does foreknowledge mean?

Are we to say that God didn’t know that His Son would do His will and had to travel down the corridors of history and into the future to see that His Son did die on that cross?

This is by no means an exhausted study. First let me tell you what foreknowledge doesn’t mean. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this, that God travels down the corridors of history into the future to see who’s going to accept His Son and when He sees that He chooses them to salvation and writes them in the Lamb book of life… Really God has to leave His throne to see into the future, He just can’t order it to happen?

Lets look at some text to find the answer shall we…..

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know– this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. Acts 2:22-23

The KJB says “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” Acts 2:23

This sound like to me that the holy trinity in heaven before the foundation of the world came together to sit on a counsel to predetermine a plan for human redemption and Christ was that plan and death was the cross, as Job says any plan and desire of God would be unstoppable and who can turn Him? He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. Job 23:13 Just as it says in Isaiah 14 “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand” Isaiah 14:24

What does foreknowledge mean?

Foreknowledge (prognosis from verb proginosko from pro = before + ginosko = to know) literally means to know in advance or beforehand. Thinking about Acts 2:23 He knew beforehand that His Son would do His will right? Why because it was His predetermined plan… Same word foreknowledge same meaning. In 1 Peter 1:1, 2, 3 and 4. Peter reminds them that they were chosen in Christ beforehand.

Not only does God’s foreknowledge mean He knew beforehand but, that He also planned beforehand.

Well there is more if you’re not convinced yet, look at 1 Peter 1:20 as he explains Christ… Foreknown (prognosis from verb proginosko from pro = before + ginosko = to know)

For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. 1 Peter 1:20

Are we to say that God didn’t know that His Son would do His will and had to travel down the corridors of history and into the future to see that His Son did die on that cross? And that He didn’t make Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behave until He was sure Christ would followed through and do His will? 2 Corinthians 5:21

God just didn’t know! But He also predetermined a plan of redemption for sinners through Jesus Christ before hand before the foundation of the world.

Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary “Foreknowledge does not suggest that God merely knew ahead of time that we would believe, and therefore He chose us. This would raise the question, “Who or what made us decide for Christ?” and would take our salvation completely out of God’s hands.“

J.I. Packer writes “The God of Israel is King of kings and Lord of lords… He knows, and foreknows, all things, and his foreknowledge is foreordination; he, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart him.”

Paul Washer writes commenting on Romans 8:29

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

“Before the foundations of the earth He knew you, and it’s not because He looked in some crystal ball, or down the corridors of time and saw you in the future. The bible never speaks of a crystal ball, and it never speaks of corridors of time or God looking into a book that talks about the future… it never does. It never talks about God looking into the future. God does not know the future because He’s looked ahead and seen it… God knows the future because He’s Lord over it, and directs every molecule, every fiber of being, every bit of matter towards the purpose He has ordained. That is a God my friend. Not a god who looks into the future and then reacts, not a god who makes choices based on choices of other men He’s seen in the future. No. A god who is The God and Lord and Author of the future.” -Paul Washer

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. That word draw literally mean to compel or drag, If he’s drawing you, your coming because in John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out…

You come willingly, not kicking and screaming, but you come because He opened your heart to believe.

God’s foreknowledge is that He loves me and owns me, foreordained me, and secured me before the foundation of the world! and that give me great joy. 2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” For the glory of God Amen!

and that’s a beautiful thing!

Does Salvation Belong to the Free Will of Man?

It is God that chooses His people. He calls them by His grace!

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37

Our opponents say, “Salvation belongs to the free will of man; if not to man’s merit, yet at least to man’s will;” but we hold and teach that salvation from first to last, in every iota of it, belongs to the Most High God. It is God that chooses His people. He calls them by His grace; He quickens them by His Spirit, and keeps them by His power. 

(Spurgeon- Treasury of David, Psalm 2:8.)

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.  

and that’s a beautiful thing!

Cut Straight The Word

The teacher of God’s word must teach the word consistent with God’s intended meaning and purpose.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

I think this has to be one of the most important verses in the bible on the word of God for the edification of the body of Christ. Straight forward exegesis must be the aim of all teachers of the word of God.

I can remember times before I bring a lesson to my Sunday school class and saying to myself did I dig enough into the text and what I’m teaching,  is it right, is it accurate and did I do proper exegesis? It’s so important to get it right!

Especially in light of James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

There is so many things James could have started out on about our tongue and he chooses teaching… When he writes “Let not many of you become teachers”

James is not trying to discouraged teaching and teachers here, we know that gifted teachers are one of the hardest positions to fill in the Church, but James writes let not many of you become one! Why and why here in this section about the tongues? He could have started out about lying, swearing and gossip or anything our deceiving tongue does, but no, he starts out with “Teaching” Why?

The most serious thing that can flow from our tongue is the distorting and misrepresenting of God’s word, the Word of God is not a bendable kid’s toy to twist and bend, reading into the text or taking the TEXT OUT OF CONTEXT helps no one and will lead to our shame before God if we do so.

Exegesis is the act of critically interpreting a text in an attempt to draw the meaning out of the text, unlike eisegesis, where one reads his own meaning into the text. Paul is telling Timothy to interpret a text in an attempt to draw the exact meaning out of the text ( accurately handling the word of truth), not to insert his own meaning into the text or quarrel about words or godless chatter 2 Timothy 2:14, 16.

Paul says to be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman. A teacher must do his due diligence before bringing us the word of GodWuest says “Do your best, make haste, give diligence, hurry on, be eager to show yourself approved unto God.”

Vincent defines the word orthotomeō (ὀρθοτομεω) (Rightly Dividing or Accurately Handling), “to cut straight,” as paths, “to hold a straight course, to make straight, to handle rightly.” He says: “The thought is that the minister of the gospel is to present the truth rightly, not abridging it, not handling it as a charlatan, not making it a matter of wordy strife (v. 14), but treating it honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner.” 

Paul told Timothy to skillfully, diligently and accurately teach the word of God so he wouldn’t be like those who are worldly chatterers. 2 Timothy 2:14, 16 So the teacher of God’s word must teach the word consistent with God’s intended meaning and purpose, and as my dear Mother said over and over to me “You won’t be popular, but you won’t be ashamed before God.”

and that’s a beautiful thing!

 

kindle Afresh

When I begin to fall back or lose focus on what my purpose is and the gifts God has given me. When my walk with Christ weakens. When I begin to minimize the word of God I remember these words from Paul to Timothy.  2 Timothy 1:6, 7 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Remember Paul wrote this to Timothy while in prison in Rome waiting to be executed. His thoughts were on Timothy to kindle afresh the gifts of God for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love the words kindle afresh. It means to keep in full flame. Literally, blowing up the coals into a flame. Paul is telling Timothy to fan the flame. It’s in the present tense meaning continuous action. Keep kindling the gift afresh or make it your aim to continually keep it at full flame. In 2 Timothy 1:8, 9, 10 Paul urges Timothy and us never to be ashamed, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, Then Paul urges Timothy to remain faithful to the gospel and to this treasure which has been entrusted to us 2 Timothy 1:13, 14. 

I have to be like Jeremiah who had fire in his bones and was compelled to get His word out. Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. Then in Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

Kindle Afresh your gift from God!

… and that’s a beautiful thing!