What Have You Learned About God In the Last Year?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
What have you learned about God in the last year?
There are two ways to answer that question.
One is by answering with particularities of things he has done that I didn't know he was going to do. And so I know now that he did them. He took my granddaughter. I didn't know he would do that. I've learned that. He took a lot of people. He ordained a million things in the last year, a tenth of which I've heard about, that I didn't know he would do.
So I'm constantly watching providence, watching God through providence, and learning what sorts of things God is willing to ordain to come to pass in my family—for good and for pain—and in the world. So that's one way to answer the question; and in that sense I've learned thousands of things about God, namely, that he did this and this and this.
That's probably not what this question is asking.
This question would be, Are there new things about his nature, his character, his consistent way of working that you have hit upon that you hadn't known before?
God's intention and design that there be sin in order to highlight the majesty, glory, and beauty of his grace in the work of Christ on the cross is a new constellation coming together. The pieces of it I think I've said before, but the coming together of it in the last year or two has been very different for me.
I have known for years, say 30 years plus, what it says in Romans 9: "If God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory..." and the sentence breaks off. The "if" clause breaks off, and you have to finish it. And I think the finishing, in the context, is, "then he cannot be faulted with wrongdoing."
But the point there is that "desiring to show his wrath," "make known his power," and "endure evil with long-suffering" is all by design in order to make known the riches of his glory. And now, in the last year or two, I've seen that consummately in Christ on the cross.
This leads me to say now that the whole meaning of the universe—the whole reason we exist, and the earth exists, and history and the universe and angels and the devil exist—is so that an untold number of people will see the grace of God in Christ on the cross and admire him with white-hot admiration forever.
It's all about magnifying the grace of God on the cross. And, therefore, evil is ordained, Satan is ordained, tsunamis are ordained, Judas is ordained, Peter's denial is ordained, and everything is ordained so that the riches of his glory might be manifest in and through Jesus Christ.