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You Cannot LoseBy J. W. Jepson, D.Min. Life In Christ Center, 3095 Cherry Heights Road, The Dalles, Oregon 97058
(541) 296-1136copyright � 1998 by J. W. Jepson
All rights reserved, including the right to grant the following permission and to prohibit the misuse thereof:The Author hereby grants permission to reproduce the text of this article, without changes or alterations*, as a ministry, but not for commercial or non-ministry purposes.
*Permission is given for publication of excerpts and condensed versions.
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The young man who came to my office was hurting. He and his family were part of a congregation my wife and I served some years before, and we had becomce especially close. Now he was in his late teens and sensed God's call to the ministry.
He was hurting because someone had said and done some things unfairly, things that could hinder him from entering the ministry. He was discouraged and resentful. Here's what I shared with him:
Because it is part of our nature, and the Bible recognizes it as such, we place heavy emphasis on human free will. We make decisions, and decisions have consequences. God commands us to make the right choices and holds us responsible for them. Deuteronomy 30:19 urges, "Therefore choose life." Joshua challenged the people, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15, NIV).
Nevertheless, the Bible also teaches the sovereignty of God. He declared, "Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it? My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.... I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isaiah 43:13, NASB; 26:10,11, KJV).
An overemphasis on human free will may cause us to lose sight of God's sovereignty in our lives. We sin; we blunder; we make wrong choices. People say and do things against us. If all we see is the exercise of human will--if we see ourselves only as the product of our own choices and the victims of other people's actions--we can be devastated. We live in regret, discouragement, resentment, bitterness, and even hopelessness.
Remember Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Here God's overruling sovereignty goes into action, and it operates within His foreknowledge. Nothing takes God by surprise. From all eternity He has known every choice we would make, other's acts that would affect us, every situation that would come into our lives, and He has already intercepted them and determined how He is going to make them all work together for our good. Because He is sovereign, He uses whatever human choices and actions He wills and overrules human choices and actions He wills to overrule in the process. God is never out of options to make all things work together for our good. If we love God, we cannot lose. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
This should liberate our faith, lift us out of discouragement, and purify us of resentment and bitterness. "And who is he who will harm you if you becomce followers of what is good?" (1 Peter 3:13, NKJV).
Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. In Egypt he was lied about and mistreated. He received one raw deal after another, but through it all God's sovereign purpose was being worked out. When Joseph finally saw his brothers again, he said to them, "It was not you who sent me here, but God" (Genesis 45:8, NIV). You just can't keep a person like that down.
Say you were treated unfairly. Someone else got the position. Opportunity passed you by. You blew it. You made some wrong choices. You missed God's will, and now you will never be what He wants you to be, you conclude.
Don't you believe it! If you love God, you are among "the called according to His purpose," and He knows how to accomplish that pupose.
For the believer, the sovereign will of God is like a freeway. By our choices we zigzag across that freeway, go in circles, spin our wheels, or stall. In spite of it all, though, our sovereign God knows how to get us from where we are to where He wants us to be--if we love and follow Him. He will fulfill His purpose for us (Psalm 138:8). "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6, NIV).
So then, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (philippians 3:13,14)." 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' " (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).* * * * *
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