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What the Bible says about Acceptance of God's Purpose
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 16:22-23

Peter believed that Jesus was the Messiah. But what was wrong here? Peter also disagreed with how God would work out His purpose through Christ. What he objected to was his good Friend having to go through a scourging and a painful and shameful crucifixion, which is a terrible way to die, especially for One so good. To him, it was unthinkable that Jesus should suffer all the ignominy and be berated by those in authority—and Peter recognized that those in seats of authority could not hold a candle to Jesus. Yet these mean men would sit in judgment of Him and actually deliver Him to death.

Peter disagreed with what his Messiah said God's purpose was and how it would be worked out. We can relate to what Peter said. It really was a touching sentiment because he did not want to see Christ suffer and die, but the sentiment was wrong. Christ identified the source of what Peter said as Satan.

How did He isolate that and conclude it was from Satan? For one, it followed the same pattern as Satan's temptations in Matthew 4: offering Christ Messiahship without suffering. "Just bow down to me, and I'll give you all the kingdoms of the world. You don't have to suffer, Jesus." (This last bit Satan implied.)

Satan knew the Scriptures. He knew who Jesus was, and he also knew the Scriptures better than Peter did. Satan tossed in front of Christ the temptation of achieving Messiahship, rulership over the world, without having to go through the ignominy of scourging and death by crucifixion.

It was quite a temptation. Probably most of us would have taken the out. Jesus, though, recognized it right away.

It was not God's will. His will was that Christ first had to suffer and then die for man's sins. Where does it say that in God's Word? Isaiah 52 and 53 are clear about God's will for the Messiah.

When he spoke, Peter was not speaking God's words or thoughts regarding the Messiah. Instead, he was communicating what he would like to see occur. But God's thoughts are not man's thoughts. What Peter spoke suggested the common Jewish conception of a Warrior-Messiah who would put down Judah's enemies, elevating her over her conquerors, and she would become the kingpin of all the nations on earth. This would bypass the idea of a suffering Messiah, who dies for the sins of man. But God had willed first things first: The Christ had to suffer and die before He could become King of kings and put down His foes.

Where did Peter get the idea of a Warrior-Messiah? Peter was a victim of a demonic disinformation campaign regarding God's Word, and by believing it and acting on it, he became a stumbling-block to others. The disinformation came from Satan through his false prophets.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 4)

John 3:25-30

For a person to be humble, he has to understand and fully accept the realization that came from John's innermost being. If he does not, pride will arise and muzzle humility by means of a character weakness. Here, John's disciples feel a measure of jealousy because more people were being attracted to Jesus, and the number of John's disciples was dwindling. John's reply to them is one of wisdom. He understands that God assigns a place in the outworking of His purpose to everyone He calls. John knows and accepts that he had no right to lay claim to an honor that had not been given to him from heaven. Instead of envying Jesus' success, John rejoices that both men's purposes were being fulfilled.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living by Faith and Humility

Ephesians 1:11-12

Do we get the significance of the truth that He works all things in our lives too, according to the counsel of His will? This truth does not apply to just the "big" things of His overall purpose but even to us! Do we really perceive our relationship to Him as being one of the Potter to the clay?

As He formed and shaped Adam and Eve, He is forming and shaping us, and it is our responsibility to accept and submit. Do we live our lives as though He truly is omnipotent, omniscient, and individually aware of us? Do we conduct our lives in such a manner that we fully understand that this awesome Being is actively and personally involved in what we do?

By viewing Him as Potter, do we grasp that He has every right to mold the clay into whatever form or state and make whatever use of it as He chooses? He can fashion from the same lump one person to honor and another to dishonor. He can determine our sex, race, ethnicity, level of wealth, or location. He is under no law or rule outside of His own nature and purpose. He is a law unto Himself, under no obligation to give an account of His actions to anybody else. He exercises His power as, where, and when He wills.

He is not merely overseeing our lives but actively participating in them, and He is ultimately responsible for what happens in them just as much as those national and worldwide occurrences that we hear in the news. The sovereignty of the Bible's God is absolute, irresistible, and infinite. Our trust is to be in Him.

God's purpose and plan has been and is being carried out as He purposed, and nobody can turn Him aside. Now His purpose and plan has reached out to include us just as He predestined when He declared the end from the beginning. Have we caught the vision?

Are we willing to completely turn our lives over to this Being who does not always act in a way that is pleasant to us? God immediately struck Aaron's sons and Uzzah dead, but He has allowed countless others who perhaps did far worse things to live long and seemingly full lives.

God permitted Methuselah to live almost a thousand years. He chose to endow Samson with strength as no other person ever had. Jesus went to the pool of Siloam and chose one man to heal, paying no attention to the others. Why did He allow the Morgans, Carnegies, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and many others to amass incredible wealth, while allowing perhaps billions of people around the world barely to scrape by in miserable poverty?

When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the city of Jericho and its citizens stood barring their progress. God brought the walls down, and the city's defenses collapsed—the one and only time God did such a thing. Every other city had to be conquered by warfare, risking Israelite lives to take them.

Clearly, He treats and responds to individuals according to the counsel of His own mind, and He answers to no one. He does this even in the lives of His children. The apostle John lived to be around one hundred years old, yet Stephen was stoned to death, Peter crucified, and Paul beheaded.

Considering the witnesses of those great servants, what right do we have to complain about the discomforts He creates for us to endure and grow within? He could rescue everybody in every uncomfortable circumstance, but He does not. Have we fully accepted that He may choose difficult things for us?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part One)


 




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