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Church Bulletin 7

January 6, 2009

The God Who Is There: Part 7

We started these articles looking at the existence of God and  moved quickly to the problem of evil. This one of the most often used arguments against God’s existence. So far we have seen: 1) evil actually argues for the existence of good which means there is a Lawgiver to distinguish the two  2) atheist ‘borrow capital’ from the Christian worldview (eg. ethics, justice, good/evil, etc) to try and argue against Christianity. We can’t let them use these categories. 3) The atheist can’t consistently live out his worldview. This is where we need to point out their weakness. They can’t believe in Evolutionary Survival of the Fittest and claim there’s a ‘problem of evil’.  3) No external standard of righteousness, etc can be forced on God. God Himself is the very definition of righteousness. “God doesn’t do something because it’s right; it’s right because He does it.” 4) the ultimate purpose in God ordaining evil is to reveal His mercy, grace, compassion, and forgiving nature which not would have been possible had not sin not been ordained to come into existence. Recall, the ultimate good is the revelation of the glory of God.

            Two texts of Scripture stand out to highlight that God ordained evil to reveal His nature. Romans 3:1-8 and Romans 9:19-24 are two passages that are not expounded on these days due to the undue emphasis on the free will of man. Man’s freedom does not restrict God’s sovereignty. In other words, God does NOT plan around man’s ‘freedom’. (However people want to define free will today, but that’s another discussion!) Romans 3:1-8 is Paul’s defense about God’s sovereignty in judgment in light of the Jews’ unbelief. Paul anticipates the objection that “if we the Jews have the law are still lost even after we received God’s revelation, does that make God unfair?”  No, Paul says, the law shuts every man up under the guilty verdict so that God is shown to be righteous when He speaks judgment. Then Paul answers the next objection (vs. 5). “Ok, if God uses the law to condemn us and show His righteousness by highlighting our unrighteousness, how is that fair? How can God ordain that I receive His law knowing that I am going to fail, use it to condemn me, use my unrighteousness to magnify Himself, and He be just in doing this? If that’s true, why don’t I just do more evil so that God will get more glory because the more I sin the more He is seen as glorious? Why would God want to judge me, even though I sin, if I can bring Him more glory that way??” Paul says such reasoning needs no rebuttal. Their condemnation for thinking that God will not judge sin just because He will show His righteousness and glory by judging it is silly. God will get glory one of two ways: either in showing His righteousness against sin or by showing mercy. He talks about this in Romans 9 and to this we turn.

            Paul anticipates the objection that  if God ORDAINS only those who will be saved and purposely passes over the rest, then why does God still judge them? “They didn’t have a choice to be born but God passed over them?! That’s not fair.” Paul’s answer is that you have no right as a mere creature to question the Sovereign God’s divine rights. He is the potter and He can do what He wants with HIS creation! See vv. 19-21. Paul goes on to state that the lost will ultimately glorify God by God having the opportunity to REVEAL (we know He has always been this in His nature, but here were talking about it being DEMONSTRATED!) His righteousness against sin and mercy He has on the elect. See vv. 22-24. So Paul states that God ordained evil so that He could REVEAL His great mercy towards some sinners and His great righteousness towards other sinners. Again, the whole point of God ordaining evil is for the revelation of His character to be put on display for all eternity! No man will argue against God’s just verdict on judgment day. They prepared themselves freely (vs. 22) for wrath even though God ordained the means! Those saved will realize they too would have been justly condemned had God not prepared them for salvation to show His mercy! (vs. 23-24).

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