—Treasure Beyond Measure


There is only one truth. The truth is what agrees with the whole of Scripture. It is a very big mistake to pick out some Scripture passages and interpret them while ignoring others. An honest and sincere faith is required to understand the Scriptures. In order to understand the truth in Scripture you must become like God, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal 5:22-23 (NIV84)

If a person attempts to understand the scriptures, but refuses to be conformed into the likeness of God, they will understand nothing. For that person the Bible becomes religion, and God is demanding. That person is self-righteous and deceived. He knows nothing of the truth. God will keep him in the dark, because he refused to love the truth and be saved. For God is the truth, and God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 6:7-8

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (NIV84)

There are some Scripture passages that seem to say that our life is predestined, but is that what they are really saying?

Ephesians 1:3-12

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (NIV84)

This Scripture passage seems to say that we are either predestined to become Christians or not. Some people teach that this is in fact the case. They say that those people who become Christians were chosen by God before the creation of the world. However, as we shall see, this idea of predestination of those who become Christians does not stand up to the whole of Scripture.

There is another way to interpret this passage. We can see that in verse eleven Paul explains that it is the plan that is predestined, not the individual. Before time began God formulated a plan that would result in his obtaining children for himself. The Lord knew that if he made beings in his image and after his likeness that they would be so beautiful that they would succumb to pride and rebel. The fall of man in the garden of Eden was not some surprising, and unforeseen development in God's plan.

1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV84)

It stands to reason that if Jesus was to be the sacrifice of atonement from before the creation of the world, then the fall of man was also fore known, and planned for.

In the book of Esther we see a plan for the extermination of all the Jews was brought to queen Esther's attention. She knew in her heart that she should go to the king and persuade him to nullify the plan. Esther was afraid because no one was allowed to enter the king's presence unless called for. To do so meant death, unless the king extended his scepter. In response to her hesitation Mordecai said:

Esther 4:12-14

When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (NIV84)

Notice carefully that the salvation of the Jews was predestined, but through whom that deliverance should come was not. The plan called for the salvation of the Jews, but Esther's role was not predestined. If Esther failed to act she would have been killed, and someone else would have been raised up to save Israel. It is the plan that is predestined not the individual.

Isaiah 14:24

The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. (NIV84)


Isaiah 46:10-11

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do. (NIV84)


Amos 3:7

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (NIV84)


Micah 4:11-12

But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, "Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!" 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor. (NIV84)


Job 42:2

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. (NIV84)

In these Scriptures we see that God has formulated a plan and is bringing it to completion. The world is not some plan gone wrong. God is not striving to make the most of a bad situation. The Lord is firmly in control. The world cannot deviate from his plan. The end has been determined and the world is marching toward it unswervingly.

So we see that the plan is set, the curtain has lifted, and the play has started. We are the players in God's grand play. Which parts we play has not been determined. As we saw in Esther, she was not predestined to save Israel, but rather God orchestrated events so that she was given the opportunity to be used by God as Israel's savior.

Esther had free will. She could choose to act in behalf of Israel or not. She had made herself available to God as a deliverer, and so God allowed her that role. Step by step, throughout her life, she was free to choose to be the sort of person she was. She chose to be obedient to Mordecai. She chose to remain obedient to him, even after she married the most powerful man in the world. She chose to be a pleasing and obedient wife to her husband. She chose to risk her life for the lives of her people.

Each and every day we make choices about what sort of person we are. The person who in their heart of hearts, seeks to please God, will make sacrifices of self to that end. That person will purge from themselves everything that displeases God, so that they might draw near to God, and God to them.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. (NIV84)

Do you see what this is saying? It is for us to rid ourselves of ungodly thoughts, actions, and desires, so that in God's great play we might be useful to God to act on the parts that result in greater blessings. Like Esther, we might find that we are in a position to help and save in a time of need.

All the parts will be played by someone. We should prepare ourselves to play the parts that bless, rather than the parts that bring judgment and pain. It was foretold in Scripture that one who shared bread with the Master would betray him and of him Jesus said; "Woe to the man that betrays the son of man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." (See Matthew 26:20-24.)

Judas was a vessel prepared for destruction. It didn't have to be that way for him. Had Judas earlier in life had a change of heart, and made himself useful for good, God would have used him for such and prepared another for destruction. God is always just and fair, and he is loving and kind. God wants what is best for us, but we have free will, and can, and will, choose to live the way we do. If we continue in our rebellion, then God will use us for the parts of his plan that have dire consequences. We must choose.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (NIV84)

Now, I am not suggesting that salvation is a matter of our choosing. What I mean is this: It is God who chooses us, and reveals himself to us, and we respond. If God did not call, we could never find him. God is at work in our lives from the moment of conception. We are offered countless opportunities to draw nearer to him, and at the time of God's choosing, he reveals himself to the ones that respond to his instruction.

It was not predestined that I would come to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was not born to, nor raised in, a Christian home. I was in my mid twenties when I came to believe in him. Looking back I can now clearly see that he was at work in my life from early on. The Lord was pleased to reveal things to me, and step by step, he led me from death to life. Praise God!

Romans 9:14-24

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath-prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory- 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (NIV84)

In the case of Pharaoh above, we must consider that God bore with great patience, for generations, the arrogance of the pharaohs of Egypt, so that at the time of his choosing he would destroy that particular pharaoh, as an example of what is to happen to those that hold his chosen in bondage. We must also remember that God is perfectly just. What was done to pharaoh and Egypt was just and right. God allowed pharaoh to choose a path of greater and greater power, and greater and greater arrogance, until pharaoh was the most powerful man, in the world's most prosperous and powerful nation, so that he could demonstrate to the children of Israel, and to us, his great power.

Looking back at Romans 9:19-21 above, we must be careful that we don't fall into the same error as Paul warns against. We must not blame God for our lot in life. God is always just and fair. Humble yourself now, and make yourself useful to the Master for every good work now, and God will use you for such. If a person persists in rebellion they may find themselves an object of God's wrath--prepared for destruction. Such a person may find themselves swallowed up before they can escape.

Over and over, we are warned not to go the way of evil and told to do good. If how we were to end up is predestined, why worry about what we do? People who teach this inaccurate philosophy do tend to be lax in their obedient walk with God.

As with all unsound teaching--be afraid. What you do and what you think are important.

The world today is filled with people who in their pride and arrogance, think that what they have, or know, has come about by their own effort. Man in his pride thinks that Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity by his own understanding. They think that through hard work and diligent application, that man reached the Moon, by his own efforts.

Nothing ever invented, or nothing ever learned, or achieved, was done apart from God's timing, and through his allowing or imparting. I am not saying that the evil things that come about were created by God, but that God allowed them to come, at the time of his choosing, in order that the effect of sin and rebellion can be seen. And these evil things came about because someone chose to do, or make them.

God is watching over everything and nothing can ever happen apart from the will of God. Nothing in the Bible is arbitrary or random. Everything in it is exactly what God wanted. Everything is designed by God to bring about exactly what he wants. Those people who feel lost in the world, and want a better place, and open their eyes, looking in hope for such a place, God reveals himself to. If these people, in their heart of hearts, want peace, and joy, and love, they will respond to the hope held out in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Be warned, my dear reader, that there are many "gospel" messages preached in the world today, but only the gospel of love and obedience to God will save you. Be very careful who you listen to. Read the holy Scriptures yourself-everyday-being careful to obey, and do, whatever you believe that God wants you to do.

If you want to live forever with God in heaven, then live a life worthy of him. Make yourself beautiful in his sight. Live to please God and forget about the world.

My beloved reader, don't be fooled by the world. Virtually the whole world has been fooled by the promised benefits of capitalism. Capitalism is the new religion that is sweeping the nations. People are putting their trust in money. Money, they think, will provide their needs. People think that new scientific developments are revealing the superstitious nature of the Bible. When in fact they are discovering the erroneous traditions held by man. God is love. Everything not done in love will be torn down. God is just. We must live righteous lives before him. Everything in the world today is exactly what God planed for. Seek the truth. Seek to please God, your maker. Forget the empty promises of the world. Look at the book of Revelation and see what happens to the world and all who put their trust in money. Consider the goodness of God.

Nahum 3:16

You have increased the number of your merchants
till they are more than the stars of the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
and then fly away. (NIV84)


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