It’s been quite a while since I last posted. I’ve been settling here in Wilmore and enjoying the gracious provision of a wonderful God as He has permitted me to attain to Asbury University and begin studies there this spring.
In this time of transition I’ve been able to get a bit of a grasp on what I really believe about a lot of things. I’ve been astonished at the clarity that has been brought, the conviction of the Holy Spirit that has come upon me, and the sheer sorrow over the general principles I’ve held over the last few months, but more on that later.
For the past few days I’ve been pondering the existence of sin – especially the sin in my own life. God has indeed been very gracious to me. So that’s led me down this path this evening.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath 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; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” – Eph 1:3-12 KJV
First, I think that it’s important to establish the viciousness of sin. I love how Dr. John Piper put it in one of his sermons which I’ll attempt to summarize – slightly modified. The gravity of a crime corresponds to the eminence of the person against which the crime is committed. For example, if I were to take a swing at some guy on the street, the penalty would likely be very minimal – though I would likely be bested in such a confrontation –, but if I were to take a swing at the President I’d be lucky if I were living after that happened. Because of the greater eminence of the President in comparison to same random guy on the street the penalty is much higher. So, a crime against God – who sets up kings and brings them down (need I remind you of Nebuchadnezzar) – would bear a penalty even greater than an offence against the President. If we compare the eminence of a temporary, human leader of one of many nations on earth to the greatness of God there’s simply no comparison. The Earth is His footstool, He is clothed in light, He is sovereign over all things to such a degree there’s not one maverick atom in the universe, and God is inexpressibly greater than any human being ever to have existed.
So, what is it to sin? R. C. Sproul defines it as “Cosmic Treason.” And that’s exactly what it is. When we sin we literally are committing an act of treason against the Sovereign Lord, asserting our “authority” over His Holy and Sovereign decrees setting ourselves up as ruler just as Satan did before our little blip on the radar of eternity began.
What is the penalty for treason? According to Federal Law in this country the penalty for those convicted of treason can be death. But this treason is committed against a mere nation-state a collection of finite human beings corrupted by the evil of their hearts attempting to maintain order within their respective spheres of governance. What do you think the penalty for treason against an Eternal, Holy, Just, and Righteous Creator should be? If you guessed a stint in purgatory you’d be wrong. Eternal death in a place of unending conscious torment that never ceases and though a million ages would pass those who would dwell in this place of eternal death would never be any closer to an end of their torment. That is the punishment worthy to treason against such eminence as of God.
So, that brings me to the main point of my musings. Is God retarded? I mean, God is supposed to know all things, and know the beginning from the end and be sovereign over all things, so why in the world was He stupid enough to create a world in which Adam and Eve would sin? I mean really, (and I’m speaking as an Arminian here) it wouldn’t have interfered with their free-will at all if He would have simply ensured that Satan wasn’t present. And even if it was out of His control, why didn’t He just kill Adam and Eve and start over? I mean they were going to die anyway, why not spare the billions who would spend their eternity in Hell for a few measly years on earth for two doomed people?
The only legitimate explanation of this is that God designed the world with sin in mind. That He might glorify His grace in the sacrifice of His Son and in the comparative glory of those whom He had hardened and destined for wrath left in their state of spiritual death and those whom He would bring to life and thus to Him.
Does this mean that God created sin? That simply cannot be! God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, God does not sin nor does He tempt anyone. I honestly can’t explain the origin of sin. It started with Satan, but in a perfect environment, conceivably, Satan shouldn’t have ever had the thought of sinning. But what I do know is that God uses Satan as His pawn, accomplishing His purposes in permitting Satan to do what he does.
It’s a lot to ponder, but here’s my point. God isn’t somehow surprised by sin. He doesn’t sit up in Heaven on His throne surrounded by seraphim who cry out “Holy, Holy, Holy!” constantly doing a “Facepalm” when you sin. He planned on it! He knew about this before time began when He unconditionally elected all those who would come to Christ without any conception of wrongdoing or well-doing, simply out of His free and Sovereign wisdom, and this is good news!
Does this mean that I can just look back at God when I sin and say, “You made me do it.”? No, rather we’re bound to our moral responsibly to do what is right and when we sin we sin not God. This post isn’t about giving a license to sin, rather it’s to encourage those who struggle in the knowledge that the Sovereign Lord already knew about your mistakes and failures and yet and still chose you as His own.
The concept of God’s creating a world inclined to sin is unnerving. But the alternative is a God who is simply not worth worshipping. A God who is simply out of control and, quite frankly, an idiot creating a world, though foreknowing sin, and then scrambling to get some plan together to correct His error, it makes no sense.
But the concept is a blessing in that we know that God isn’t limited by sin, because He planned sin. Such that no matter what state of depravity we may currently dwell in or perhaps our family members, or friends, there is no place of debauchery, disease or despair that God’s electing love can’t reach and bring them to Himself.
Thus my prayer for those reading this would be that they would come to a greater awareness of God’s glorious grace and a peace in knowing that God is sovereign over every aspect of our lives and that of our loved ones and that there would be a sense of the electing love that would assure those who are struggling today.
Blessings in a Gracious Lord,