What does the Bible say?
Gavin Matthews, Solas Centre for Public Christianity
There are two weird extremes which Christians fall into when it comes to the idea of “providence”, that is the way that God orders believers’ lives here on earth. One is the prosperity-gospel – which suggests that health and wealth are always God’s design, promise and plan for each of us here on earth. The other error Christians fall into is to think that (while God will provide us with an eternal home which will be perfect in every way), in this life everything is essentially a lottery. Many Christians live with a confidence that by the year 2090, they will be definitely living in paradise with God; alongside an ongoing anxiety that God might not look after them throughout 2021.
What does the Bible have to say?
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
When Paul wrote “how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” he did something wonderful. He tied the doctrine of salvation to the doctrine of providence! That is, he says that having given the life of Jesus for our eternal salvation – God is so radically committed to us, that he couldn’t possibly hold anything back from us that is good. Imagine a multi-billionaire who said to you, ” You can have my mansion, my island, all my aircraft and my fleet of Rolls Royce’s!” He’s not going to then say, “but you can’t have my wheelie-bin!”.
If he has already given you the things that would actually cost him greatly, he wouldn’t be worried about some item of small significance. God has not held back the life of Jesus for us – how then will he withhold any good thing from us?
Does that mean an automatic claim to health and wealth in this life? By no means! The reason for that is that unbridled access to worldly goods would not be good for us! God’s great aim for us is that we will become like Christ – and to provide everything that we need to live and thrive for Him in this world; and prepare for the life to come. It means that whatever happens to us in 2021, The Lord has our back. He will be with us and He is for us. In fact, he will work everything together for our good – our eternal good – and that includes everything that will happen in 2021. The proof of this, is that he has already given Jesus – and paid the great price for this total commitment to us – His people.
Therefore we do not lose hope!
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