1996-04-22 - The Providence of God
Prov 15:3 "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good."
A Gallup poll reports the following. 77% of professing born-again Christians say that man is basically good, 87% say that God will save us if we do our best, 35% say that Jesus is not necessary for salvation, but rather God will find a way to save everyone. I read in a copy of Moody Magazine that 95% of those who say they are born again are not able to quote five Bible verses. At a recent Christian booksellers convention, someone got the idea to ask the book dealers to name the Ten Commandments, in order. This person went to 256 individuals and only one, may I say that again, only one, could do it. One even went as far as to say, "I don't know what they are, but I know I keep them". Incredible, what more can be said...
So what is going on in the Church? Has God lost control? Or is His precious Church still within His providence? No, He has not lost control; God is still reigning in Heaven. And His providence is that which preserves and promises to preserve His Church. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward him." (2 Chron. 16:9) God has the interests of His people ever in view; He knows what is most conducive to their happiness, and He will make all things, whether prosperous or adverse to cooperate in promoting their good, Romans 8:28. While this is true in His Church, it is no less true in the lives of the people that make up His Church. He has our interests at heart as well.
In all past ages, God has watched over His Church with personal and unremitting care; He has sometimes permitted her to be reduced to a very low condition, but He has also brought about surprising deliverance in her behalf. Even in the present condition of the Church we must not lose hope, but we must pray. We serve a mighty God who is able to deliver.
The very means which her enemies intended for her destruction and ruin have, by an overruling Providence, often been rendered subservient to her edification and enlargement, Acts 8:4. The preservation of the Church, in spite of the craft and malice of hell, and of all the pernicious errors and bloody persecutions which have threatened her ruin, is no less wonderful than the spectacle which Moses beheld, a bush burning but not consumed.
The Westminster Confession of Faith says, "As the providence of God does, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it takes care of his Church, and disposes all things to the good thereof."
Let us still take heart and rejoice in the promise of Christ, that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the Church or against those who make up the Church.