How much of the world is directed by God? God has a plan. Is it in his plan that some mothers torture their children or break their bones so that they can beg more effectively? Is colon or bowel cancer part of God’s plan? Is persecution and death a challenge to God’s sovereignty?
It seems that Paul and those who wrote the new testament were familiar with bad news, but they were unwavering in their opinion that God is sovereign. Sin and evil can only exist if there is a standard of righteousness or goodness. A father raping his daughter is just ‘stuff’ and no ‘sin’ if there is no standard. Sin and evil are defined by a departure from God’s intentions. However, in his sovereignty God allows these things.
Can you see that God allowing sin and evil to run their course actually shows his nature in allowing creation to create its own destiny. However, in Christ God has called creation back to hmself. Human beings, even murderous villains like Paul, can be called out of sin and evil by God’s grace.
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a]the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- What has God’s will produced?
- How are the Ephesians described?
- How would the fact that some thought this was an ‘open letter’ distributed beyond the Ephesians effect your interpretation?
- What have you seen as clear evidence of the will of God?
- How could you tell if a church was holy?