There is a song I enjoy listening to called “God of the Mountain” and the lyrics are as follows…Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain and you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known. But things change. When you’re down in the valley don’t lose faith, for you’re never alone. For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He’ll make them right, and the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times, the God of the day is still God in the night. You talk of faith, when you’re up on the mountain, but talk comes so easy, when life’s at its best. Now it’s down in the valleys, of trials and temptations that’s where your faith, is really put to the test. For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He’ll make them right, and the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times. The God of the day is still God in the night.”
As believers in the Lord Jesus we might ask the question “is everything that happens to us in this life both the good and the bad predestined by God?” Many believers actually blame God when adversity hits them and all of us have passed through or may even be passing through a time of adversity especially in the current situation with the Coronavirus lockdown. Does God really care? Does He sit up in the heavens with His arms folded while watching us wallowing around down here in anxiety or confusion because of what we might be experiencing?
Now we read in God’s Word; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” (Romans 8:27-30)
Several things we notice…
1. All things whether good or nor so good God works them into His call on our lives. Some situations we bring on ourselves by wrong or hasty decisions. We do make mistakes. Some situations are forced on us by others and by circumstances out of our control. Then there are the machinations of Satan and his henchmen in the unseen spiritual realm setting up potential spiritual stumbling blocks. God does not set these things up but He uses them and somehow in His foreknowledge weaves them into the tapestry of our life. He sees the finished work He has planned for us from all of eternity, eons before we were born. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Not all things that happen to us are His will but in His infinite wisdom and love He uses them for the good of those whom He has called and who have freely responded to Him in love.
2. God’s will is that our daily lives be brought into conformity to the image of His dear Son. To this we have been predestined. The question is not so much to ask “Am I predestined to be saved?” but rather “Am I being changed to be more like the Lord Jesus in what I say and do every day?” If we are being changed from one degree of glory to another daily by the Spirit of God then we are making our calling and election certain. (2 Corinthians 3:18) (2 Peter 1:10)
3. God has a purpose and a plan foreknown to Him for our lives. (Psalm 139:1-16) He knows how we will respond to the changing circumstances we face every day and how our lives will ultimately end. He will do everything in His power to enable us to choose the right path but we still have to decide. He will give us wisdom to choose wisely if we ask for His wisdom but we must ask in faith and not doubt that He will answer. (James 1:5-6) Usually He has three responses. The first is yes, the second is no and the third is wait. As we seek to stand on His promises and wait before Him with expectant faith as we go about our daily lives then He will answer us. He is never too late or never too early but always on time!
4. We have been called and are still being called daily to seek to be like Jesus. We have also been justified by faith but we must keep walking in the faith we have. (James 2:14-26) When we were justified we were saved. (Romans 5:1) We are being sanctified or saved from this present evil age according to the will of God our Father. (Galatians 1:5) We have been resurrected and glorified with the Messiah but as yet have not come into the full experience of it and won’t, until we are raptured and resurrected and clothed with an immortal glorified body, the same as the Lord Jesus has Himself. (1 John 3:2) (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) The word Salvation has three shades of meaning in the Greek text of the New Testament. Firstly; we have been saved (Justified) secondly; we are being saved (sanctification) thirdly; we will be saved (Redeemed)
5. We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His unmerited favour towards us. However, we still need to walk moment by moment in harmony with the Holy Spirit and not allow the flesh to have its way. (Ephesians 1:7) (Romans 8:12-14) (Galatians 5:16-18) As believers we all have two natures down on the inside of us being the old nature and the new nature and they are constantly at war down on the inside of us. If we are experiencing this conflict it is a sign that we are spiritually alive. When we were first saved we became conscious of another dark and sinister part of us that started to cause us all kinds of conflict within and producing dark desires that run contrary to the desires of the Spirit living within us.
Spurgeon, that great prince of preachers, at one time said that contending daily with the fallen fleshly self-centred nature was like being “chained to a corpse.” Having said this we have an obligation to the Lord Jesus to daily crucify the flesh with its passions and desires with the help of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:12-13) Without His help we cannot do it. (Zechariah 4:6) It has been said that whichever nature we feed the most is the one that will ultimately control us! All things then are foreknown by God but the freedom to choose is still given to men.
Predestination is not to do with God choosing some for heaven and others for hell but has everything to do with allowing the Holy Spirit to conform our lives into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus. As John writes; “And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the Day of Judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.”(1 John 4:16-17)
While we are not free from temptation and the tendency towards sin and our obedience is not perfect, God accepts us in the beloved Jesus. (Ephesians 1:6) Added to this, if we are allowing the blessed Holy Spirit to have control of our daily lives then we will make our calling and election a sure thing and God will see to it personally. (2 Peter 1:10) After all our Lord Jesus is the Author and the finisher of our faith and what He starts He fully intends to finish. (Hebrews 12:2)
As the apostle John writes; “Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as Christ is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)
As Paul also writes, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed Messiah!” Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast and immovable. Always excel in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)
And again he writes, “The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith. (Galatians 6:8-10)
The question is not “am I predestined to be saved” but rather, “am I being conformed to the image of God’s dear Son?” This is the spiritual Acid test God has predestined for every born again, blood washed believer! The ‘acid-test’ gets its name from the historic use of acid to test metals for gold. If acid was applied to a metal and didn’t corrode it that meant it was real gold. As Job said; “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Predestined by God? Most assuredly! What He starts He intends to finish!