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Who Is In Charge?

Who Is In Charge?

      As we continue our lives, our situations change dramatically in the various phases through which we pass.   As small children, we likely looked to one or both of our parents as being in charge. In our teenage years, we looked to the time when we would be granted more freedom and could take some charge over our lives.   Adulthood brings with it more responsibility, additional needs and obligations, and we may begin to think at times that we are not so much in charge of our lives.   We have spouses, bosses and perhaps a number of other situations that may make us wonder, “Am I really in charge”?  

     In the realm of religion, many have been told: “God has a plan for you.” In many cases, this has its basis in the unscriptural concept of predestination. God does have a plan, but it is not imposed or forced upon anyone. God determined from before the beginning of time as we know it, not who would be saved, but how one is to be saved. God’s plan was formulated before time began and presented it to man in full accordance with what He had put in place to carry out that plan.   In Matthew 13:35 it was explained why Jesus spoke to His people in parables. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

     When Christ came to earth, He came to carry out God’s plan for man. He was here per John 4:34 to “do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” That “work” was to save the souls of those who would be obedient to the plan of God.   God’s Will is stated in 2Peter 3:9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.    The plan from the beginning was to provide the means and the opportunity for man to obey that plan that was formulated from before time, and become a recipient of the eternal home God promises to those who obey.

     Some have taken various scriptures and misapplied then to make them align with man-made doctrines, causing untold problems. Some scriptures are truly more difficult than others as admitted in 2Peter 3:16. But notice also what is the outcome to those who twist or “wrest” these, and why they do so. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.   One such passage often “wrested” is Ephesians 1:11. This verse is often improperly used to teach that God choses who is to be lost or saved even before birth.   In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

       Another passage man uses to support this man-made doctrine is found a few short verses earlier, Ephesians 1:4-5.   According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,. These verses, when properly applied, clearly teach that God has not “predestinated”, or predetermined some to be saved and others to be lost. To hold to such a doctrine, one accuses God of being a respecter of persons. But as James 2:9 shows that one who shows respect of persons is a sinner. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.   Are you willing to call God a sinner?   I’m not!

       God indeed has a plan for the Salvation of souls. He is fully in charge of His plan and the carrying out of the plan.   He formulated the plan, promised its success, sent His Son, and after His Son willingly died on the cross, sent His New Testament Word through the Holy Spirit.   In that Word we are given the Commandments for Salvation and directions for Christian living. When Christ died on the cross, was buried, arose, and ascended back to God, He “finished the work” and the redemptive plan of Salvation was in place.  

       We are now placed in charge of our eternal destiny.   Man has always been given choice. This was true in the Garden of Eden, and is still true today.  Even in the days of Israel’s departure from Egyptian bondage, choices were offered. Joshua 24:15 makes this clear.   And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  Israel could have saved themselves a lot of problems over many years by “taking control” and making the right choices.

       Much later, in Psalm 119:109, the Spirit had the psalmist write to show he had full responsibility for his own soul, as well as what he was to use to provide for his eternal home. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law. The psalmist knew he was “in charge”. We can see what he did in Psalm 119:11 and why? Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

       You also are “in charge”. Your soul is “in your hand”. Search the scriptures and make the right choices. Obey the gospel today. Then continue to follow God’s plan so you can spend eternity with Him.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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