In the doctrine of Providence, we have a specific Christian confession exclusively possible through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is no general, vague notion of Providence. It has a concrete focus: ‘If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?’ (Rom. 8:31, 32).
My father's life was changed right before my eyes [when he trusted Christ]. It was like someone reached down and switched on a light inside him. He touched alcohol only once after that. He got the drink only as far as his lips and that was it-after forty years of drinking! He didn't need it any more. Fourteen months later, he died form complications of his alcoholism. But in that fourteen-month period over a hundred people in the area around my tiny hometown committed their lives to Jesus Christ because of the change they saw in the town drunk, my dad.
Being able to disappear and appear and go through walls and fly with the speed of thought isn't going to make you half as happy as to see those you witnessed to, Hi there! Wow, didn't I meet you on the streets? Didn't I talk to you about Jesus? Wow! Here you are! Hallelujah! That's going to be the biggest thrill of all!
By seeing life's experiences through to the end, on our small scale, we can finally say, as Jesus did on the cross, "It is finished. " We, too, can then have "finished our preparations," having done the particular work God has given each of us to do. However, our tiny cup cannot be taken from us either. For this reason have we come unto the world.
It was this same Jesus, the Christ who, among many other remarkable things, said and repeated something which, proceeding from any other being would have condemned him at once as either a bloated egotist or a dangerously unbalanced person. . . when He said He himself would rise again from the dead, the third day after He was crucified, He said something that only a fool would dare say, if he expected longer the devotion of any disciples-unless He was sure He was going to rise. No founder of any world religion known to men ever dared say a thing like that!
The work of God in salvation is a supernatural work, but in the United States of America and among Baptists it's been reduced down to a few evangelical hoops that if we can get someone to jump through, we declare them popishly to be savedit has been the pulpit that's sending more people to Hell than any liberal organization on the face of the earthnot a liberal Methodist, not a liberal Episcopalian, but a Baptist who claims to know God's word and yet does not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not identify the person with his sin, but rather saw in this sin something alien, something that really did not belong to him, something that merely chained and mastered him and from which he could free him and bring him back to his real self. Jesus was able to love men because he loved them right through the layer of mud.