Femi Aribisala

By Femi Aribisala

Let me first address the contrarian who says if God is the author of everything, how can man be held responsible for his actions? Such a dilemma arises from knowing neither the scriptures nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29).

The God of the Bible is the uncaused cause of everything. The power of God ensures that God’s determinism never contradicts man’s responsibility. God not only makes us do the evil we want to do, He also makes us do the good we do not want to do.

In this equation, the devil is merely a servant of God. He only does what God purposes. God says: “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7). Amos echoes this: “If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?” (Amos 3:6).

Nothing good or bad happens outside of the will of God. “Who can speak, and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? (Lamentations 3:37-38). Thus, Job asks his wife: “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).

Indeed, God takes issues with those inclined to make Him one-dimensional: “I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will He do evil.’” (Zephaniah 1:12).

Jesus maintains evil is a necessary feature of life: “Each day has enough evil of its own.” (Matthew 6:34).  We need trouble so the power of Christ in deliverance and salvation may be revealed in us. (John 9:1-3).  We need evil, in order to partake of God’s divine nature in overcoming it.

However, believers have this assurance: “The Lord will deliver (us) from every evil work and preserve (us) for His heavenly kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18).

Self-denial

God has already done this. Jesus says: “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20). This means the believer no longer exists. Jesus says: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself.” (Matthew 16:24). Let him understand that he no longer exists.

Accordingly, Paul says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).

If you are a believer then, concerning you: “the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3). The books on you are closed. In that book is every word you will speak in your lifetime and every step you will take.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30).

Observe that everything about you is expressed in the past tense. It is all already accomplished: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

It is finished

This means nothing can be added or subtracted from the works and purposes of God in your life. You can now enter into God’s rest. Perfect calmness and peace of mind is achieved once we recognise not only that our times are in God’s hand (Psalm 31:15), but also that “God has done it.”

He has done all the needful. He has perfected everything that concerns you. (Psalm 138:8). Therefore, nobody can do anything for you. Only God. Nobody can help you. Only God. Do not ask God to make somebody do something for you. Ask God to do it Himself.

Remember this: “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; (God) does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?’” (Daniel 4:35).

All your actions are going to originate from God. Therefore, determine what you want God to do, then do it. “Use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” (Romans 6:13).

Recognise this: if you are praying about something, then God is working on it. Before you even started praying, He already had the answer. (Isaiah 65:24). In any case, God is the One who makes you pray. The psalmist says to God: “Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.” (Psalm 80:18). Without God’s enablement, we can do nothing. (John 15:5).

New creatures

Because of Jesus’ atonement, we are new creations who can no longer sin. John says: “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.: (1 John 3:9).

Here is how you know this applies to you. When you sin, you are remorseful. When you sin, your heart condemns you: “By this we know that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” (1 John 3:19-20).

God knows you are no longer a sinner, but that the sins that are still in you have nothing to do with you any longer. They are only in your good-for-nothing flesh and not in your newly created spirit. These sins are now in you as outlaws. They are in you as strangers and foreigners.

But rest assured: “The foreigners (shall) fade away and come frightened from their hideouts.” (2 Samuel 22:46).

That is why Paul says: “I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7:17-20).

Here is wisdom. If you want God to use you for His good purposes, be good. If you want Him to use you for His evil purposes, be evil. Whatever you do is what God has purposed for you. That is the power of God.

“In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honour and some for dishonour. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

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