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The Daily Word of Righteousness
God's Unfolding Plan, #7
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
There is a common faith that exists among all the saints of God no matter under what covenant they learn to walk with God. All of them were and are declared to be righteous because of their trust in the Lord, their hope of a better world wherein dwells righteousness, and their continual seeking of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, of a city that has foundations.
There is a Divine purpose, an eternal plan and goal, that has guided all that has transpired on the earth. The entrance of sin into the garden was not a breach in the Divine plan, it was the calculated means of creating eternal immunity against sin in the heirs of the Kingdom.
God did not cause man to sin nor did He tempt man. However, nothing ever takes God by surprise.
There are some factors that do change from time to time as God moves us toward the image of Christ, toward perfect union with Himself through Christ, toward dominion over all the works of God's hands, and toward great fruitfulness—the filling of the whole universe and its creatures with the Person and image of Christ.
We have selected four factors that undergo change from time to time as God pursues His eternal purpose:
The Divine gifts and provisions—that which God gives to man. This is what grace is. Life itself is a grace God has given to us (I Peter 3:7).
God's requirement concerning what man must become and do. During one period the Law of Moses was a large part of the Divine requirement.
The opportunities and rewards that are available. The consequences of living the victorious life, mentioned in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, are examples of the opportunities and rewards available to the saints of the new covenant.
The punishments that are inflicted when people do not respond to God's provisions and requirements. God punishes people when they transgress His will. Punishment can take place in the physical realm and also in the spiritual Hell and Lake of Fire.
God's provisions, requirements, opportunities, and punishments have undergone some changes as God's plan has unfolded.
During any given period of history the four factors of the particular age are not applied to all men with equal vigor and exactness. It is obvious that predestination and election seek out chosen individuals from the whole of mankind. Abraham, the nation of Israel, and the Christian Church are examples of those to whom much Divine favor has been shown and of whom much therefore is required.
There is no middle ground for those who have been chosen to be part of Israel, God's "firstborn." If the person selected meets the requirements he is blessed exceedingly. If he does not, he is punished severely. He either is given more talents or cast into outer darkness. He gains dominion over all things or courts destruction.
Being called to be a saint carries dreadful responsibility.
We should mention in addition that the opportunities are for "whoever will." If a person's heart stirs him up to seek God, and he does what God directs him to do, God will not reject him.
To be continued.