December 11, 2020 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

Last week, I began the subject of “Predestination.” As I mentioned previously, “Predestination” has to do with the timeframe that an individual is called by God. It is not about God predetermining who will receive salvation and who will not.

God is all powerful! He’s the Master Designer, Creator and Sustainer of Life. He knows everything about you and me. As scripture shows us, He even knows the exact number of hairs on our heads. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). Now, does that mean He already knows the decisions that we’ll make tomorrow, next week, or next year?

In Psalm 139 we read:

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether (Psalm 139:1-4).

Nothing can be hidden from God. “…for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts…” (I Chronicles 28:9). Since God knows every thought, some might conclude that He already knows how you and I will handle every situation, every trial, test or difficulty that comes our way. So then, are our lives already mapped-out entirely for us? The answer is NO!

God certainly can decide in which of our experiences, trials and tests He chooses to intervene (I Corinthians 10:13). All that He does or allows has purpose. However, that does not mean He knows beforehand what you and I will decide to do in every situation. That’s where CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT comes in (Matthew 7:20; Galatians 5:22-25).

Mr. Armstrong wrote the following in his book, The Incredible Human Potential:

WHY is it IMPOSSIBLE for God to sin? No greater power exists that will prevent Him — but God has simply by His own power — supreme and above all power — set Himself that He will not!

What God saw was this. No being less than God could be certainly relied upon NEVER to sin, that is, NEVER to turn against God’s LAW, and God’s government, which makes possible His ultimate PURPOSE. To fulfill His PURPOSE for the entire UNIVERSE, God saw that nothing less than HIMSELF, and His holy, righteous and perfect CHARACTER, could be absolutely relied upon to carry out His SUPREME PURPOSE throughout the entire, vast, endless UNIVERSE!

The question might be raised: Could not God have known, in advance, what Lucifer and the angels under him would do? Doesn’t God know EVERYTHING? The answer is NO. If God were to have known in advance what choice they would make, He would have had to FORCE them to make it — taken away from them power to think, to reason, to have a choice, to make decisions. God does not CHOOSE to know, in advance, what YOU or I will be thinking, reasoning, deciding, tomorrow or in the future. He gave these Spirit beings, as He gives us, the power to think for ourselves, to choose, to make decisions. Otherwise we should be nothing more than automatons, doing what we are compelled to do. He simply did not choose to know. His PURPOSE includes the development of CHARACTER in His created beings.

Next week, I’ll write the final part on this subject. Please have a great Sabbath.

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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