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Page 147

God's decree of predestination does not remove my responsibility and activity. To be spiritually healthy, I must actively use the means that God has provided. Although I cannot save myself and salvation is a gift from God, yet, I must actively seek it through the means God has given, the means which He has promised to bless for this purpose.

    Imagine visiting your uncle who recently purchased an old corner grocery store. The store had been vacant for some time, but now he had re-opened it.

    You are quite shocked, however, by that which you see. The shelves are very empty, the store is quite dirty, and the groceries are in disorder.

    "You won't get many customers this way," you tell him. "Let's work hard to clean and straighten everything. "

    "No," he answers, "that doesn't matter. If God will bless my business then He will, and if not, then no matter what we do, it will not prosper."

    What mistake is your uncle making regarding God's secret and revealed wills? His statement is true, but is it the full truth? Why not?

    What similar mistake or excuse do some people make with God's decree of predestination and the means of grace that He has provided?

    When we eat a meal, we pray and acknowledge God's goodness in providing food for us. Bread is a gift from God.

    God could sustain us without food as He did Moses, Elijah, and the Lord Jesus for forty days and nights. He could miraculously provide bread as He did for the four and five thousand men on different occasions. But God's normal way is to work through means.

    Think of all the means God uses to provide us with bread: the farmer's plowing, disking, planting, fertilizing, and harvesting; the necessary rain, sunshine, and temperatures; the mill and its workers' processing of the wheat flour; the baker's preparing of the bread, etc.

    We cannot make one seed grow, nor can we provide the proper weather. We could neither process the wheat nor bake the bread if God did not give the required health and strength.

    Bread is a gift from God; yet He gives it to us through a way of means. What comparisons can you make between this example of natural bread and spiritual "bread"?

Believing in God's predestination is not fatalistic. How does believing in God's decree differ from believing in fatalism, which teaches the following four points:

1. Everything that happens is a result of fate, an unintelligent, natural force.

2. Nothing is taking place according to any knowledgeable plan, nor leading to any planned end.

3. Human choices do not affect events which will take place regardless.

4. Man cannot be held responsible for his dealings for he is only a victim of fate.

Some "Christians" only emphasize the use of the means; little or nothing is spoken of God's election. What problems would this teaching promote?

Some emphasize only God's election; little or nothing is spoken about the person's responsibility to actively use the means. What problems would this instruction produce?

What mistake in spiritual reasoning do these two examples illustrate?

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