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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Justification and Kindred Subjects: Chapter 19
Justification and Kindred Subjects: Chapter 19 PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.H. Oliphant   

CONCERNING THE PERMISSION OF SIN

God does not BARELY permit sin, with no other concern about it; for then, sure enough his providence would be excluded from the greater part of human events. If we may depend on the Lord for protection against the cruelties of evil men, so as to rely on him for the overthrow of the plans and schemes of wicked men, then it must be true that God is not a mere spectator and idle looker-on at the wickedness of the world.

David said, "Lord, turn the counsel of Abithophel into foolishness." This prayer was answered. God so interfered in Absalom’s wickedness as to defeat the good, or rather wise, counsel of Abithophel. He so interfered as that David’s enemies pursued him at least one day later, which resulted in Absalom’s defeat and David’s restoration. Had this counsel been taken, David would have been destroyed; but Hushai gave his counsel, and Absalom and his advisors took it and rejected Abithophel’s counsel. It is plain that God’s concern in the conduct of these evil men was more than barely permission. In answer to David’s prayer they pursued David too late to be successful. Here David’s prayer was answered. How God led these men to do as they did, instead of as Abithophel advised I know not. Sure it is, God’s attitude in the matter was not that of BARE PERMISSION. It is well to consider prayerfully what concern God DOES TAKE in sin.

Certainly God is not the author of sin, but when we remember that the elect of God are mingled in all the nations and families of earth, we see the necessity for the preservation of the parents of every elect vessel of mercy till all the election of grace are developed in the world. The Saviour was in the loins of Abraham, of Jacob, David and Solomon, etc., and so the providence of God took the nation of Israel into special care, until Christ was taken out of that people, after which that people was no more the object of God’s special care above other nations.

The rise of kingdoms, empires and republics, and their continuance, must, in some sense, be determined by the Lord. It must be true that the course of human government is, in some sense, and in some degree, determined by the Lord. "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing, and none can stay his hand or say unto him, what doest thou?" It may be said of all nations, "There is a divinity that shows our end."---Dan. iv. 17. "To the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." This text shows that God’s concern in the affairs of earth is not barely permissive. It shows that human events, and national affairs, are not wholly determined by Satan, nor by chance.

The case of Ahab (1st Kings xxii) is an instance of God’s directing hand in the conduct of the vilest men. God did not barely permit Ahab to do as he did, but he employed a lying spirit in controlling and determining events. God did not make Ahab to be wicked, not did he make the lying spirit to be such, nor did he make the false prophets to be bad men, but in the conduct of Ahab, the lying spirit and the false prophets, God’s concern was more than BARELY PERMISSIVE. God was not an idle spectator or looker on at these events. The whole thing resulted in the fulfillment of God’s decree respecting Ahab in 1st Kings xxi. 19.

God so controlled, that CERTAINTY attended all these events as truly as it attends the conduct of good men. Deuteronomy xxviii, 48---"Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee." "The Lord shall bring against thee a nation from far." This was fulfilled when the Chaldeans, under Nebuchadnezzar took Israel captive. The Lord said, "I will bring a nation." It was a wicked nation. "I will bring" means more than a bare PERMISSION. "And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle and of thy land." "And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates."

In all the wars that Babylon, the mistress of the world, it is plain that God was using that nation as a sword to chastise the nations of the earth, Jeremiah shows that Egypt, Moab, the Ammonites, Damascus, Kedar, Hagor, Elam, Judah and Israel were all scourged by the King of Babylon. The Lord called Nebuchadnezzar his servant (Jeremiah xliii. 10.) He was not the Lord’s servant as his saints are his servants, nor did he do the will of God as Paul did it. Yet in some sense, it is certain that he was the servant of God. David says, "Deliver me from the wicked which is thy sword." This text plainly implies that God’s concern in the actions of evil men is not BARELY PERMISSIVE. If the wicked is the sword of the Lord then their movements are, in some sense, determined by the Lord. David also said, "From men which is thy hand." All this shows that God’s concern in the conduct of wicked men is not barely PERMISSIVE.

The books of the four larger prophets show that the hand of God was connected with the history of the nations of the whole earth for more than a century before Israel was restored from captivity in such a way that neither chance nor the devil determined the destinations of the nations of the earth. They show that God was so ruling that certainty attended events. God was not an idle looker on, a bare permitter of the conduct of wicked men. Jeremiah l. 1, "Thus saith the Lord, behold, I will raise up against Babylon." This was fulfilled in the days of Bellshazar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, when the Medes entered Babylon by night while the king was feasting a thousand of his lords.

This enemy was raised up to chastise Babylon for their sins. If the human race were left to do as fallen nature would direct it would be self destroying. But when we remember that elect are developed by each succeeding generation, we see the need that God so rule among men as to make sure of the preservation of the heirs of promise, and hence necessity that the devil and chance be dethroned until the whole elect family, redeemed by the blood of Christ, shall be developed and saved.

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