Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

God's Permission of Sin

As I have been posting my personal confession of faith on this blog [explanation HERE], the last article I posted was on providence. In this article I confess that "all events occur by absolute necessity." Some would certainly question whether such a confession would make God the author of sin, and so I proceed to confess, " yet not so as to be the author or approver of sin (1 Cor 14:33; Jas 1:13; 1 John 1:5)." How can it be that God is in absolute control of all events and yet He is not "the author or approver of sin"? One foundational element to understanding how these sections of my confession (based on confessions from the Protestant Reformation) fit together is the teaching that while God is in control of both good and evil, there is a difference in the quality and manner of His control over good and evil [see Bruce A. Ware, Perspectives on the Doctrine of God, 105-106]. While the Bible teaches that God creates good things and acts in good ways, the Bible does not teach that God creates sin or acts in evil ways. Instead the Bible teaches that God in His sovereignty and for His good purposes permits (or does not permit) evil agents to carry out their intentions. To give two biblical examples of where this language of permission is used:

12 The demons begged Him, "Send us to the pigs, so we may enter them." 13 And He gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs, and the herd of about 2,000 rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there. (Mark 5:12-13 HCSB, emphasis added)

He [Laban] has cheated me and changed my wages 10 times. But God has not let him harm me. (Genesis 31:7 HCSB, emphasis added)

To this, we may add the introduction of the book of Job, in which Satan has an evil intention concerning Job, but Satan must have God's permission before he can touch Job. The evil intentions belong to the Satan, his angels, and to sinners. God's sovereignty over these agents does not involve placing evil intentions in them, but only in granting them permission, which permission is granted for His good purposes.

As Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery years before:

You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people. (Genesis 50:20 HCSB)

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