God gives a promise and a plan.
He is able to do this for the entire world and all of the inhabitants therein, because he is both the creator and sustainer of all. He makes promises and plans.
He is able to make promises because he is sustaining all human activity.
He is able to make a plan because he is the creator. He is the chief architect of all that is—of everything and everyone who was, is, and will be in existence.
God is a promiser and planner.
He is the only perfect promiser and planner, but he is not limited to time and space. By nature he is ETERNAL, existing in a dimension that is not bound by the constraints of history and nature. He is able to SEE the past, present and future and he is able to KNOW the past, present and future, because he EXISTS simultaneously in the past, present and future.
The very words “past,” “present,” and “future” are completely foreign to the life of the triune God. They are words that we use from our limited, finite, human perspective. We experience these modes of time but God transcends them.
It is as if God lives in a helicopter overlooking a parade. We are stuck in the parade between the horses and the out-of-tune Junior high marching band. All we can see are the equestrian’s backsides in front of us and the band behind us. God can see all of it. He can see the very front of the parade and the tail end of the parade simultaneously.
He lives in a dimension that we cannot comprehend.
He lives in a dimension that makes him the most perfect promiser and planner. Nowhere is he plan better seen than in Romans 8:28-29:
[THE PROMISE] And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
[THE PLAN] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (ESV)
In thinking about the promise that “all things work together for the good,” I came across these lines from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon “The True Christian’s Blessedness.”
He who said, “all things work together,” will soon prove to you that there is a harmony in the most discordant parts of your life. You shall find, when your biography is written, that the black page did but harmonize with the bright one—that the dark and cloudy day was but a glorious foil to set forth the brighter noon-tide of your joy. “All things work together.” There is never a clash in the world: men think so, but it never is so….
…We must understand the word “together,” also in another sense. “All things work together for good:” that is to say, none of them work separately. I remember an old divine using a very pithy and homely metaphor, which I shall borrow to-day. Said he, “All things work together for good; but perhaps, any one of those ‘all things’ might destroy us if taken alone….
Remember, it is not the one thing alone that is for your good; it is the one thing put with another thing, and that with a third, and that with a fourth, and all these mixed together, that work for your good…. Too much joy would intoxicate us, too much misery would drive us to despair: but the joy and the misery, the battle and the victory, the storm and the calm, all these compounded make that sacred elixir whereby God maketh all his people perfect through suffering, and leadeth them to ultimate happiness.
“The True Christian’s Blessedness” (Sermon #159)
Preached October 18, 1857
These are some of the thoughts swirling around in my head as I get ready for Sunday’s sermon. My sermon, tentatively titled “The Promise and the Plan,” is sermon #334 and will be preached May 6, 2007…if you were interested.