(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
The world today is full of troubles—wars, environmental crises, senseless violence, economic uncertainty, troubling new viruses, social upheaval. When you look at the chaos around the globe it can make you wonder, Does God have a plan? Why did He create everything? And if He does have a plan, how do we fit into it?
In this post, we’ll look at verses from both the Old and New Testaments, along with some key notes from the Recovery Version, to find the answers to these pressing questions.
God is a God of purpose
The Bible shows us that God never does anything aimlessly. He always acts intentionally, with a plan in mind. For instance, Revelation 4:11 says:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created.”
This verse makes it clear not only that God has a will, but that He created all things because of His will.
Now let’s read Ephesians 1:11:
“In whom also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
Here the words purpose, counsel, and will indicate to us that God is a God of purpose.
From just these two verses, we can see that God wants something. And to obtain what He desires, God has a plan and works everything according to the counsel of His will.
God’s creation of man
Now that we’ve seen that God created everything because of His will, let’s consider God’s creation, especially His creation of man.
Genesis 1 tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth, He simply spoke. God said, “Let there be,” and things came into being, including light, dry land, plants, light-bearers (the sun, moon, and stars), sea creatures, birds, and animals. God was happy with what He created. The Bible tells us God saw it was good.
Then God came to the peak of His work of creation: man. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible records for the first time God’s thought concerning the man He would create:
“And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”
God wanted to make man in a unique way: in His image and according to His likeness. Since God has a mind, emotion, and will, He wanted man to have a mind, emotion, and will.
He also wanted to make man according to His likeness, that is, to resemble Him. For example, when you look at a photograph of a person, you see the likeness of that person. God wanted man to be according to His own likeness.
Then, instead of simply saying, “Let there be man,” God created man in a very intentional way. Genesis 2:7 says:
“Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
In addition to creating man in His own image and according to His likeness, God also made man with a distinctive feature: the human spirit. Zechariah 12:1 says:
“Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.”
The human spirit is so special that God’s Word places it on the same level as the creation of the heavens and the earth! That’s because the spirit of man enables man to contact, receive, and contain God.
No wonder after God created the heavens, the earth, and finally man, Genesis 1:31 says this:
“And God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
Only after man was created did God look upon all His creation as not just good but very good. God was happy with all He created, especially man.
God’s plan for mankind
God already had myriads of angels to worship and serve Him. What was in His heart for mankind was something different.
In God’s heart was the deep desire to enter into the human beings that He created with such thought and care. He wanted us to receive Him so He could be joined to us. God wanted to share His life with us and live in us. In such an intimate relationship, God would be everything to us. He would live together with us, and we would be one with Him.
And because we were created in God’s image and according to His likeness, by being filled with Him, God would be manifested and expressed through us and with us. Simply put, this is God’s plan.
The fall of mankind
We’ve seen how God created man according to His plan in a wonderful way. But in this universe, God has an enemy, Satan. Satan hates God, and he hates man because man will fulfil God’s desire. So Satan seized the opportunity and tempted man into disobeying God. Instead of receiving the life of God as God intended, man took in the evil nature of Satan. Because of that, all mankind was polluted by sin and separated from God. This corruption has been the source of all the vicious evil in the world throughout all of human history.
But nothing can deter God from carrying out His plan with mankind! In His wisdom, God Himself became a man, Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. He took care of the problem between the righteous God and sinful mankind. Because the redemption Jesus accomplished is thoroughly effective, God’s plan can be fulfilled with everyone who believes in Jesus.
God’s plan and our life as believers
As believers in Jesus Christ, when we received Him as our Savior a number of wonderful things happened to us. We were forgiven of our sins and saved from eternal judgment. And what’s more, Christ came to live in our spirit, our deepest part.
Now the Savior who loves us and died for us is no longer outside of us. First Corinthians 6:17 says:
“But He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”
Note 2 in the New Testament Recovery Version on one spirit explains the amazing meaning of this verse:
“This indicates the mingling of the Lord as the Spirit with our spirit. Our spirit has been regenerated by the Spirit of God (John 3:6), who is now in us (v. 19) and is one with our spirit (Rom. 8:16). This is the realization of the Lord, who became the life-giving Spirit through resurrection (15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17) and who is now with our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). This mingled spirit is often referred to in Paul’s Epistles, e.g., in Rom. 8:4-6.”
First Corinthians 15:45, referenced above, says:
“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving Spirit.”
Now as the Spirit the Lord is more than near to us. His Spirit and our spirit are mingled as one. This brings us into the most intimate relationship with the Lord.
God’s great plan for every one of us is that we would know Him not merely objectively as our Creator God, but subjectively as the One who saved us and came to live in us.
It’s because He lives within us that we can know Him in a personal and experiential way. He can speak to us inwardly and we can fellowship with Him. We can enjoy Him as He walks with us, supplies us, comforts us, and supports us all the time. At any moment, we can contact and experience Him in our spirit.
How God fills us
It’s an astounding fact that the Lord is now living in our spirit, and we can experience Him at any time. But He doesn’t want to stay confined to our spirit. He wants to fill us by spreading out from our spirit into our whole being. As He fills us with Himself, He can be expressed through us.
We see this in 1 Thessalonians 5:23:
“And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our being is composed of our spirit, our soul, and our body. God wants to sanctify us wholly, that is, in every part.
Note 5 in the New Testament Recovery Version on this verse is enlightening and includes references to some key verses, which we encourage you to read. The note helps us see how God works to sanctify us wholly. The first section of the note defines our spirit, soul, and body:
“This word strongly indicates that man is of three parts: spirit, soul, and body. The spirit as our inmost part is the inner organ, possessing God-consciousness, that we may contact God (John 4:24; Rom. 1:9). The soul is our very self (cf. Matt. 16:26; Luke 9:25), a medium between our spirit and our body, possessing self-consciousness, that we may have our personality. The body as our external part is the outer organ, possessing world-consciousness, that we may contact the material world. The body contains the soul, and the soul is the vessel that contains the spirit. In the spirit, God as the Spirit dwells; in the soul, our self dwells; and in the body, the physical senses dwell.”
Then the second section explains how God sanctifies each part:
“God sanctifies us, first, by taking possession of our spirit through regeneration (John 3:5-6); second, by spreading Himself as the life-giving Spirit from our spirit into our soul to saturate and transform our soul (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18); and last, by enlivening our mortal body through our soul (Rom. 8:11, 13) and transfiguring our body by His life power (Phil. 3:21).”
Our daily Christian life
Our life as believers in Christ is one of experiencing and enjoying the Lord who dwells in our spirit. In a loving and intimate relationship with Christ, we can know Him and experience Him as everything to us.
We can maintain our fellowship with the Lord by praying to Him, feeding on His Word, obeying Him when He speaks to us about any matter in our daily life, and confessing any sin He makes us aware of. As we do this, He has the opportunity to grow in us and spread from our spirit into every part of our soul; eventually, He’ll even enliven our body. By being fully saturated with Him this way, we redeemed and regenerated human beings created in God’s image and according to His likeness together will become His expression in this universe for His glory.
This is why God created all things, and this is His plan for every human being. God desires all men to be saved so they can be part of His wonderful plan.
Seeing God’s plan will revolutionize the way we view the world and humanity. Nothing is happening in a random way. His enemy is still at work inciting chaos and trying to keep people away from God. But God, who is far greater, is operating in many ways to save people and bring them back to His original plan. This view will be a solid foundation for our Christian life and even help us tell others about God’s plan for them.
The subject of God’s purpose and plan is great and profound and has many aspects. We’ve only touched upon it briefly in this post. For a more detailed view, you can download The Economy of God here and start by reading chapter 1.
And if you live in Australia, you can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version here so you can read all the New Testament verses we mentioned in this post and their accompanying notes and verse references.
Have you ever wondered if you can lose your salvation? Or if you can be “unsaved” if you do something wrong or sin?
It’s extremely important for us believers to be clear about several fundamental matters. One of these is having the assurance that we’re saved once we believe in Christ. Another fundamental matter we must be clear about is the security of our salvation. Just how secure is our salvation? What safeguards it? Does its security depend on us? Can we lose our salvation?
Let’s get into five points that address the security of our salvation.
1. God initiated our salvation, and His calling is irreversible
Not a single one of us initiated our salvation. Ephesians 1:4-5 show us that God initiated our salvation before we were even born:
“Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love, predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
Our salvation didn’t start with us; it started with God. He chose us before the foundation of the world. And Romans 11:29 gives us this reassuring word:
“For the gracious gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Irrevocable! This means our God-initiated salvation is irreversible, permanent, final, and unalterable.
2. God’s love and grace are eternal
We may withhold our love from others if they don’t love us in return, or we may want others to meet certain conditions in order to gain our love. But God isn’t like that. He loved us when we were His enemies, even dead in our offenses and sins. First John 4:10 tells us:
“Herein is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins.”
God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins. His love for us is so great, and it’s also eternal. In Jeremiah 31:3 God says, “Indeed I have loved you with an eternal love.”
God’s grace to us is also eternal. Second Timothy 1:9 says:
“Who [God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.”
God gave His grace to us before the times of the ages—that is, in eternity past. Our salvation is not based on our love for God or on our works, but on His eternal, unchanging love for us and on His eternal grace.
3. God is righteous in regard to our salvation
God’s salvation surely arises from His love for us. But it is also a matter of His righteousness. Our sins violate God’s righteousness, and legally we should pay the penalty for them.
But Christ fulfilled the demand of God’s righteousness by paying the penalty for us. He died in our place for our sins, bearing them in His body on the cross. Because Christ died for our sins, God must righteously acknowledge that our debt has been paid; He can no longer demand that we pay it.
As an illustration, let’s say we violate a traffic law and a police officer gives us a ticket. But we have a problem: we can’t pay the fine. However, say someone pays it for us. Since that person paid the fine, a judge can’t require us to pay it again. The judge has to acknowledge that the fine was paid.
The righteous God can never take away our salvation because our debt was fully paid, once and for all, by Christ’s death on our behalf. We’ve been forever redeemed by His precious blood.
4. God begot us with His eternal life
When we were saved, we were born again with the life of God. John 1:12-13 tell us:
“As many as received Him [the Lord Jesus], to them He [God] gave the authority to become children of God, to those who believe into His name, who were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Once we’re born of God as His children and receive His eternal life, we can never be “unborn,” even if we do things that aren’t pleasing to God. The life we’ve received from God is eternal, and our life relationship with God is also eternal.
To illustrate, let’s say our son or daughter isn’t behaving well. While this makes us unhappy, it can’t cancel or undo the fact that they are our children. Their bad behaviour can’t annul the fact that they share our human life.
In the same way, we’re children of God. We were born with His eternal life, and nothing can undo that.
5. God holds us in His hands
Furthermore, John 10:28-29 tell us:
“I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
Once we receive the eternal life of God, we’re held in the strongest hands in the universe. No one, not even Satan, can snatch us out of these hands! Our salvation could not be more secure.
Being absolutely clear that our salvation is eternally secure
The verses in the points above prove to us that our salvation is eternally secure, safeguarded by God Himself. We must be absolutely clear about this. Reading and understanding the verses related to each point will reassure us that we can never lose our salvation.
But what if we sin?
We should never think that because our salvation is eternally secure, we have license to sin. Although we can never lose our salvation, we shouldn’t be careless about sin. When we sin, we suffer the consequences. We don’t lose our salvation, but we lose our joy, because sin interrupts our fellowship with the Lord.
So what should we do when we sin? When our conscience bothers us about any sin we’ve committed, we should confess it to Him so we can be forgiven and cleansed from that sin. We shouldn’t let unconfessed sins remain on our conscience; we should keep short accounts with the Lord. We should build up a habit of daily confessing our sins in order to maintain our fellowship with the Lord and our enjoyment of Him.
Praise God that our salvation is not based on us, but on God Himself—on His calling, love, grace, righteousness, life, and strength. We can rest knowing that we can never lose our salvation.
To learn more about these wonderful facts, click here to download our free e-book Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 1 and read chapter 2, “The Assurance, Security, and Joy of Salvation.”