Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sovereign Will

James 4:15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

15 ἀντὶ τοῦ λέγειν ὑμᾶς· ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ καὶ ζήσομεν καὶ ποιήσομεν τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνο.

Here James is explaining how we should view the future.  He rebukes those who plan for the future with certainty by giving the example of folks who plan on going to a town and spending some time there engaged in some business enterprise.  It is not that the act is sinful, but their attitude is.  They just assume that everything will be fine.  But James tells them that they ought to say ἐὰν ὁ κύριος θελήσῃ, which is a third-class condition.  That means that the future is not certain, but likely.

This use of the third-class condition saves us from all kinds of craziness.  Clearly we need to plan our lives.  We need to have stewardship of our time, talent, and treasure.  But what this passage does is to remind us that God is sovereign over everything.  I plan on seeing my kids graduate from high school.  I plan on seeing them get married.  I plan on serving the Lord for at least another 40 or 50 years.  But I also know that I could go through a green light today and a semi could be out of control and just obliterate my little car and me inside it.  Someone could blow a tire on the highway and smash into me.  I could have a seizure and discover that I have a brain tumor.  There are all sorts of grisly scenarios that could play out down to more mundane things like losing my job.

I don't expect them to happen, but if they do I will not be shocked.  God has a plan for my life and I will live as long as He wants for me to live.  My life will be prosperous as He wants for it to be prosperous.  It is perhaps a bit trite the way so many Christians say, "Lord willing" when they speak of the future, but I believe that to be biblical.  God is in control of everything.  Acknowledging that gives Him the credit He deserves.

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