Visibly shaken, Gary related the day's events. "I should have been dead. Weslowed to fifty miles per hour to keep our radiator from overheating. The commercial bus, doingeighty behind us, did not slow down. At the last second, the bus swerved just enough to avoidhitting us full force. Still, it hit us hard enough to rupture our gas tank yet, there was noexplosion. Again, I knew; God is watching and has a purpose". "What do you mean, again?",the Bible teacher asked. Gary continued, "In Vietnam, three of us crouched in a small bunker,after the VC penetrated the security perimiter. I can still hear the sound -- 'kablam! Just likethat," he snapped his fingers, "my two buddies, on either side of me, were dead! For years, Ifelt guilty about being alive. The third time was an automobile accident four years ago. My tenyear old son was unhurt. The police and rescue team that pried my broken body out of thewreckage, did not understand how I survived". "Why do you think you were spared", theteacher asked. "It has something to do with my son", Gary replied firmly.
"Six years ago, my wife left me and our eight year old son one day, and never cameback. Even then, my son had a special relationship with God. He loves the Lord and wants to bea preacher. We are very close and I have seen God's mighty hand on his life". God is orderingmy son's steps and watching over his ways", declared Gary. We have faced many trials, such aslosing our home, living on the streets, having no money or work and living in a homeless shelter. Through it all, the thread of God's faithfulness runs like a river. God is already using these trialsto his glory, as he 'orders my son's steps and watches over his ways" (Ps 1:6, 37:23).
God has always 'ordered the steps and watched over the ways' of his people ... Samuel,Moses, Joseph, Abraham, Daniel, David, Solomon, ... the list goes on. God has not changed!. Some suggest that God pre-arranges life and that man has no real choices. The inference is oftenthat God is ultimately responsible for unrighteous, sinful behavior. God's blessings in the lives ofthe righteous, are unavoidable! By his grace, he also "causes his sun to rise on the evil and thegood, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Mat 5:45 -NIV). God'srighteousness never changes. Human righteousness and wickedness are choices. God cannot betempted by evil nor does he tempt man (Jas 1:13). Even Judas had a choice (Jn 13:26-27). Mostdoctrinal issues of predestination focus on whether salvation is determined by election or volition,not whether man has a choice to sin..
Human choices cause frequent bends in road of life and keep man from seeing too farahead. Thus, every person must choose to trust and obey God, or to stumble blindly onward inthe world's darkness (Prov 4:19). God's view is not blocked by the bends in the road! Godknows the choices each person will make, but does not dictate or make them for us. He couldforce man to obey, but leaves the choice to man (I Pet 3:1-5). The righteous believe and obeyGod, without being forced. The unrighteous reject Christ and disobey God, without being forced. The wicked are without excuse (Rom 1:20). God has predestined the consequences [wages] ofsin and the blessings of righteousness into existence by his Word, once and for all. These aretimeless and unchanging.
God "created man in his image" and does not create evil men. Man in God's image, isable to be conformed by God's Holy Spirit to the 'image' of God's righteousness (Col 3:10, Rom8:29). One who chooses to be 'conformed' by the Spirit, can also choose to resist the Spirit andbe unconformed (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 4:4, I Pet 1:14). The only thing in which there is no choice is choice. Everyone must choose! The "wages of sin" are not a punishment, but an unavoidableconsequence spoken into existence from the beginning (Rom 6:23). There are also unavoidableblessings of righteousness. It is impossible for a person to trust and obey God, and not beblessed by God! Believers put themselves squarely in God's Blessing path, by choosing faith inChrist. (#610)