Skip to main content

Divine Providence: Resist Presumption, Obey God

Matthew 5:19

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Christian faith has long affirmed divine providence, which refers to God's sustaining and guiding presence in the world. This belief has been a source of comfort and assurance for many Christians who trust that God's wisdom and love will ultimately bring about the best outcome for their lives. However, Christians must be cautious not to allow this belief to lead us to neglect our responsibility to obey God and teach others about the importance of obedience.

One of the fundamental tenets of Christianity is that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and not by our own works (Ephesians 2:8-9). This teaching is essential to the Christian faith, as it reminds us that our salvation is a gift from God, and we cannot earn it through our own efforts. However, this does not mean that obedience to God and his commandments is unimportant. In fact, the Bible is clear that genuine faith in Christ produces good works and obedience (James 2:14-26).

As Christians, we are called to live lives of obedience to God, following the example of Jesus Christ, who perfectly obeyed the Father's will (Hebrews 5:8). We are also called to teach others about the importance of obedience, as Jesus himself commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything he had commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Thus, obedience to God is not only a personal responsibility but also a communal one, as we seek to encourage and support one another on our journey of faith.

However, there is a danger in taking the concept of divine providence to an extreme, leading some Christians to believe that sinning is acceptable because God will ultimately forgive them. This distortion of the doctrine of divine providence can lead to a dangerous sense of complacency and presumption, as Christians may feel that they can live however they please, with no concern for the consequences of their actions. The bible refers to this as turning grace into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4).

The Bible is clear that God's grace and forgiveness are not a license to sin (Romans 6:1-2). In fact, the apostle Paul warns that those who continue to live in sin, with no desire for repentance or change, may face eternal separation from God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Those who cannot cease from sin are described as cursed children (2 Peter 2:14). The writer of Hebrews cautions against the dangers of falling away from the faith, warning that those who deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth may find themselves beyond the reach of God's forgiveness (Hebrews 10:26-27).

Christians must be careful not to promote a false sense of security that minimises the importance of obedience and the eternal dangers of sin, for an example of this I would urge you to consider the message this sends to unbelievers whose sins may result in eternal damnation. Instead, we should emphasise the need for a balanced understanding, which acknowledges both God's sovereign control over all things and our responsibility to respond to his grace with faith and obedience.

In conclusion, the concept of divine providence is a vital aspect of Christian theology, but it must be understood and applied with caution. While we can trust in God's wisdom and love to guide and sustain us, we must not neglect our responsibility to obey him and teach others about the importance of obedience. We must also be cautious about overly affirming that we cannot lose our salvation and that it is okay to sin from time-to-time. As Christians, we are called to live lives of holiness and obedience, relying on God's grace to empower and transform us, while also being vigilant against the dangers of presumption and complacency. By maintaining a balanced understanding of divine providence, we can encourage one another to grow in faith, obedience, and love, as we look forward to the day when God's perfect will shall be fully accomplished in us.