Read: Psalm 73
The Catechism speaks of “providence.” It is striking that the word only appears once in Scripture (Acts 24:2) and then is not a reference to the work of God. Yet, the word is properly used in dogmatics to describe that work of God in preserving and directing all things. Matt. 5:45 speaks of the work of God which sends sunshine and rain on the just and unjust.
The word “providence” comes from two Latin words: “pro” meaning “before” and “video” meaning “to see.” The word means more than this according to Scripture. God not only sees beforehand what shall take place—and accordingly plans His action, but there is much more. Some claim that the work of God is only that He sees before what takes place—but has nothing to do with determining what happens. He sees beforetime that Adam will fall into sin, so He works out a plan to salvage as much as possible of fallen mankind by sending His Son into our flesh to pay for sin. Rather, Scripture teaches that from eternity God has determined everything that takes place.
Some have claimed that those who deny the teaching of “common grace,” in fact embrace the term “providence” to describe the same thing. There is, however, great difference between these two terms. “Common Grace” refers to an undeserved favor of God upon the reprobate unbelievers so that he can do many good things. Because of it he cannot be totally depraved. But this “good” that he does cannot in any way contribute to his salvation.
Providence includes good gifts of God upon all. The difference is that for God’s people, He gives in His favor, while upon the reprobate, He gives in His wrath (cf. Ps. 73).
The Catechism defines it as “the almighty and everywhere present power of God…whereby...He upholds and governs” everything. The Catechism presents this in contrast to “chance.” We live in a society where “chance” is glorified. Gambling finds its allure in its element of chance. Many abuse the good gifts God provides by using them to multiply the “chance” of obtaining vastly more. God is not in the picture.
The Christian confesses that without exception, God controls and directs all things within His creation. For those who belong to Christ, all things work together for their good (Rom. 8:28). We need neither fear nor doubt—for our Father knows what is good for us. For the wicked, all works toward their damnation.
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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