The Consequences of Our Choices

Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.

–Ephesians 5:15

God is in control of His universe. He has a plan for our lives, and He has the power to accomplish His plan. But God’s sovereignty does not excuse us from making wise decisions. I love this story about Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee. A man said to him, “I’m so convinced that God is keeping me, no matter what I do, that I believe I could step right out into the midst of the busiest traffic at noontime, and if my hour had not yet come, I would be perfectly safe.” McGee said, “Mister, if you step out in traffic at high noon, your hour has come.”

The sovereignty of God does not excuse us from making wise decisions. Ephesians 5:15–16 says we ought to live our lives wisely, with a sense of purpose.

The sovereignty of God also doesn’t exempt us from the consequences of our wrong choices. For example, let’s look at Acts 4. The setting is Jerusalem, a few months after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Referring to that event, the believers prayed, “In this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (vv. 27–28).

Who was responsible for the death of Jesus Christ? Verse 27 says it was Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Jews and the Gentiles–they were the ones who nailed Jesus to the cross. Yet verse 28 says they were doing what God had predestined to occur. God took responsibility. It was His plan for Jesus to be tortured and murdered on the cross. But the people who were immediately responsible still have to suffer the eternal consequences of their wrong choice. They rejected the Messiah. And even though it was part of God’s plan, they are going to pay the price.

You might ask, “How can we be held accountable for our choices if God is accomplishing His plan through us? I don’t understand that.” Neither do I. The fact is, God’s sovereignty doesn’t explain all our questions. Be wary of anyone who says they can fully explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. Both are true, but here on earth, we can’t comprehend how they work together. Romans 11:33 says, “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Though we cannot understand God’s ways, we can embrace the truth of His sovereignty.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “The Shepherd’s Safety Net” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

J. Vernon McGee, as quoted in David Jeremiah, Prayer: The Great Adventure (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004), 217–18; emphasis in original.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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