August 19, 2010

To Live is Christ — I am not a puppet

Some matters about God seem a contradiction. For example, God is sovereign (can He be any less?) yet human beings can do anything we please without lightning striking. How perplexing. Why wouldn’t a sovereign God at least stop our grossest actions, instead of letting us make such a mess of His world?

That God is sovereign, I have no doubt. He is over all things and in Him we “live and move and have our being.” I know His mercy. Dare I say that I totally control my own life? Could I take another breath apart from His grace? Or wake up each morning?

My pondering comes from a comment on a recent post, plus the verses that I’ve been reading the past few days. They say this about Jesus. . . 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15–17)
This man who is fully God is preeminent. Everything that was made comes from God’s Word, this living Word, who created every thing, including all who sit on thrones and think they have power. Every king, every continent, every horse and rider, every ant and leaf and flower were created through Him and for Him. He existed before all and in Him all things “consist” — meaning that He holds all things together, composes and arranges all. He orchestrates the universe and He is sovereign.

How then do we mortals get away with murder, literally? If God is God, why doesn’t He stay our hands, sit on our ambitions? Why does a sovereign God allow such evil in this world?

My mind sees a man with a puppet on his knee. The man pulls the strings and by ventriloquism the puppet talks and smiles. He even tells the man how much he loves him. He does everything that man wants.

Imagine if the puppet were a real boy, the man’s child, even. Everyone who has children loves to have their boy on their knee, smiling, saying “I love you, daddy” and doing whatever daddy asks. Everyone who has children knows that this can happen, but not frequently or often. Children do not cooperate.

God didn’t make puppets to fill His world. He created real people and sovereignly chose to give volition to each of us. We can make choices. We can sit on His knee, say we love Him, and do His will — or not. Because of our sin and selfishness, our decision is ‘or not’ every time.

That does not change God, or His power. Our choices are not His doing. We are responsible. Yet without His help, we cannot do anything about our rebellious hearts. We desperately need His sovereign power and grace to even want to do His will. We need to see His love for us before we can love Him in return. Our lives are ruined by sin and without His grace, we are lost. This is the message throughout His written Word.

That comment recently posted went into a lengthy denial of the sovereignty of God based on the free will of man. Moot point. It is God’s sovereign power that gave us that free will. We are responsible for what we do with it. We cannot blame God for our sinful choices nor can we say He is powerless to stop us from sinning. Colossians 1:19-23 tell the rest of what Jesus is and what He has done. The rest is up to us . . . 

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven. . . .
God no more wants puppets for children than I do. He wants real live human beings who come to Him, stay with Him, and love Him with all our hearts. He carved mountains and put song in the throats of birds. He has power to make us do His bidding, but that is not even close to His intention.

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