Searching For Truth

Glen Berry

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I wrote a treatise dealing with two major subjects that have divided two major divisions of Baptists for many years. I was trying to show each opposting “faction” (or should I say “FRACTION”?) that each in its own way, with  some error on each side, was trying  to present God in such a way as to give Him the most glory, in connection with our daily living and beliefs. One group emphasizes the DECREES of God, quite unwisely and unbiblically classifying everything under the general term of “predestination.” While it is true that all things are surrounded by the decrees of God, and it is true that God has predestinated the end from the beginning, and the conforming process all in between, that His children shall be conformed to image of the Lord Jesus Christ, take note that while the truth of “predestination” is there, the word itself is not in the Bible at all, and the word “predestinate” is in only two verses, and the word “predestinated” is there only in two verses also.  So that is enough to build a doctrine known as “Predestination,” right? Yes! That is right. Predestination IS a Bible doctrine.

But it is safe, also, to limit it’s usage to what the Bible itself limits it. That is, in Romans  8:30-31:

“For WHOM He did foreknow [which is an intimate fore-loving, as a man intimately loves his wife], He did PREDESTINATE to be CONFORMED to the image of His Son, that we might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover WHOM He did predestinate, them He also called: and  WHOM He called, them He also justified: and WHOM He justified, them He also glorified.”

Talk about the Golden Chain of salvation, there it is, RIGHT THERE!  Note that the ones so predestinated are the SAME ones that that are called, justified and glorified. And it is ALL according to the sovereign God’s PURPOSE, or according to His decree for it to happen!  And any decree is GOING to come to pass, no matter what man thinks about it!  So, I believe you could rightly say that “predestination” ties right together with the DECREES of God. His will shall NOT ever be thwarted, but all His purpose WILL come to pass. He is successful in ALL His decrees, else He would not be God at all!  Thus He not only SEES the end from the beginning, but He CONTROLS  it all to bring it to its intended and purposed end. He not only KNOWS the end from the beginning, but He so controls all things, even calamities, storms, the wind, and evil in the world, that His purposed end WILL come about and He will get glory from it all.

The Bible clearly states, “Surely the WRATH of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.”  (This is simply saying that if there is or could be any wrath in man that would not ultimately be turned to God’s praise and be turned by Him to His glory, He would restrain it and it would never happen or exist.) He has that much all-powerful control!

Proverbs 16:4 says, “The Lord hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”  Along with this, study Romans 9 and you will see the truth of it all.

Erwin Lutzer wrote an excellent book entitled “God’s Devil.” I urge you to get it and read it, if you are a seeker of truth.  Another minister told me, rightly, that God is not the author of  sin, but He is the “authorizer” of it.” In other words, sin could never have entered the world without God’s authorization, or permission. He has a purpose in it all, the fall of Adam and all that goes with it. And the devil is still serving God’s purpose whether he wants to or not—and of course he never wants to, but God turns the tables on his motives and designs so that in the end, God’s purpose is served, even while Satan is rebelling against Him. He is THE all-powerful, all-controlling, all-knowing, all-wise God!

NOW centuries ago, in medival times, scholars were foolishly arguing how many angels could dance on a head of a pin, or on the point of a needle.” Fruitless bickering.  No warrant for it, no precedent for it at all in Scripture.

But today we have the same sort of mental exercise that accomplishes nothing but dividing the flock of God!

The two divided groups I speak of, both believe in God’s predestinating, electing grace and in God’s eternal decrees bringing them to pass for His glory and for the eternal happiness of His elect bride. But one group emphasizes God’s decrees even to the point of bringing about a mental exercise to the point of the ridiculous, while the other group emphasizes obedience to God, even falling into the error of NOT emphasing that it takes the SAME grace of God to obey Him, as God uses to bring about a sinner’s regeneration in the new birth.  So there is truth on both sides, and error on both sides, even while wanting to bring glory to God BY both sides.

I will not go into all that I said in the treatise written years ago, but I will, a bit later in this booklet, describe an analogy I used to prove a point what I believe shows in a real way the power of God to His own glory. But first a word about DECREES.

As I have already indicated, all of history is decreed by God. To put it in human terms, He has His Master Plan, His purposes from first to last are DECREED, and there is no possibility of failure.

For example, God decreed to fill the earth with trees. He created the tree to bring forth after its kind, just as  He created the animals to bring forth after their kind, and man after his kind.  It’s impossible for a monkey to bring forth a fish, or for a man bring bring forth a horse. God DECREED it that way. We can speak that way because the Bible speaks that way and tells us the truth about it.

But does that mean we have the right or the authority to proceed to the point of the ridiculous and refuse fellowship with blood-bought children of God because they will not agree with our thought-processes? For example God decreed that the seasons would cause the leaves on the tree to fall every year. And So they DO. But does that mean that He speaks a separate decree for each single leaf that falls, telling that leaf that it must follow a certain path to the ground? And then another decree for every puff of wind, dictating to it exactly how far to blow the leaf, and where it must land, and that if someone comes along and steps on that leaf, and presses it into the mud, then the next puff of wind can’t move it.  So that took another secret decree to make that happen. Then if someone comes along and cleans his yard, raking up 10,000 leaves, and puts them in a pile to be burned, then  that takes 10,000 more decrees, one for each leaf. And if another 10,000 leaves land in a  compost pile, that is where each of them were decreed to land.

And think of all the billions of miles traveled by cars and trucks every day. Each has a unique decree to lay its rubber down on a certain spot on the road. Its track just must be 6 inches, or 12, inches, or 18 inches, or 24 inches, or 9 and 1/4 inches, etc., from the center yellow line. Of if it ever crosses over to the left of the yellow line, well that was decreed for it too. And before there were cars, there were horses and dirt roads, so each horse hoof had a separate decree as to where it would make it’s mark on that dirt road.

Can you see how ridiculous this can get? There is absolutely no end to it. It is MORE ridiculous and MORE fruitless than arguing about how many angels can dance on the  point of a needle!  THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PRECIDENT OR EXAMPLE OF THIS TYPE OF REASONING IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE! So why do we engage in it? Where is OUR authority to do so?  To make every material and living thing such a programmed piece of machinery, makes human brains useless, for each DECREE is going to happen anyway.  But make no mistake, ALL God’s decrees ARE going to happen and ARE happening. And He DOES have full control of every historical event, and every action of man, of beasts, of fowls of the land and fish of the sea. He controls the frogs, the locusts and the flies. Look what He did in preparing a large fish and guiding him to swallow Jonah, and just where to vomit him out on land. Look at all the frogs, flies and locusts in Egypt when God directed them to swarm upon the land and in Pharoah’s house during  the plagues He accomplished to get the Pharoah to “let my people go.”  Think of the ravens that were instructed to feed Elijah, both flesh and bread. What made the ravens pick up bread? They are a carnivorous bird, attracted to meat, or flesh. And they took Elijah also meat or flesh? Why did they not eat it themselves? Because GOD was controlling their little brains!

You have read of the old method of the “casting of lots” to find God’s will. Well, in  that connection, Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.”

There is absolutely NOTHING on earth that God does not have under full control. But then is EVERYTHING happening just as God wants it, and He could not be happier about it?

it, and He could not be happier about it? His secret will is done but not His REVEALED will for us. But some are led by man or Satan to reason that since every point is DECREED by itself, then if I have an evil or wicked thought, “that is according to God’s decree, and I am not responsible OR accountable to God for it. It is just as God wants it. My failure and my sin made Him happy.”  No, I take that back! He was already as happy as He could ever be, “so whether I do good or evil does not change His happiness, for God is unchanging, not dependent on man to make Him happy or sad.”  O. K., but what does the Bible speak about “grieving”—GRIEVING—the Spirit, which IS God? The HOLY Spirit.

At any rate, as the natural rationale would go, why be concerned about fighting against sin, if every thought and evil deed is DECREED to happen just as it happens, no matter how horrendous? Well, O. K., evil deeds of man ARE decreed, or as one minister said, “authorized.” Then know that the punishment of them is ALSO decreed. God has also DECREED to show His displeasure and His wrath  for our doing the evil or thinking the evil. As the saying does today, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it,” which is to say THINK about THAT, or meditate on THAT truth.

Regardless of what you think, was King David concerned about his “thought-life”? Of  course

course he was at some point of his life. His prayer to God was—

“Create in me a clean heart. . . .”

(Psalm 51:10)

“Let the words of my mouth,

and the meditation of my heart,

be acceptable in Thy sight,

O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer.”

(Psalm 19:14)

Some have ridiculed me and others for even mentioning that we should lead holy and godly lives. Perhaps they are excusing their worldly lifestyles, standing on what they call the predestinating decrees of God. I am NOT  speaking sacriligiously here. I love and I trust God for His predestinating purpose and His DECREES.

God has a secret will known only to Himself, and He has given us His REVEALED will, showing us how He wants us to live.  The evil He allows is His business. Our business is to obey His revealed will as recorded in the Word of God. To those who have no concern, then if that be so, your very profession of salvation is suspect. You who condemn ALL so-called good works, know this: The lost and unregenerate sinner can do NO good works in God’s sight, and is unable to discern the things of God, anyway. But once he is quickened, He has a new born-again will; he has the spirit of God within as his Enabler of good works and His Teacher. From then on, being alive, he is active toward God with good works, by grace.

alive, he is active toward God with good works.

Perhaps you have read, that Christ Jesus gave Himself in order to purify unto Himself a people “ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS.” (Titus 2:14)

And “WORK out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh IN you to will and to DO of His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:121,13).

If you do not crave to do this and the NEXT verse I list, perhaps you have never heard the Shepherd’s voice, and you are not following Him, or even trying to, being deceived.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us CLEANSE OURSELVES from all FILTHINESS of the flesh and spirit, perfecting HOLINESS in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Now, I  will conclude with my “analogy” that  I referred to earlier. Here is the scenario:

There was to be a contest between two skillful champions. They each were to take a team of horses to prove which of the men had the most wisdom, power, and skill, in controlling them. So the populace gathered for the contest and to pass judgment. This is what happened (in my analogy).

One of  the champion, before arriving at the site, had gone to the toy store, and bought as large a team of horses as he could find. They were pre-programmed for every action, but it took an amount of skill to learn how to use the remote control lever to keep them on track. Even guiding a robot takes a measure of skill  to know when to press the right button by the one at the controls.

But the other champion, came on the scene before the growing crowd with eight huge wild horses, live and “raring to go” their own rebellious ways, and you can imagine what a wild beast would do.

The first chapion put on his show  with his pre-programmed robotic horses. He did a good job with what he had, but it was a cinch. He just sat at the controls and maneuvered the levers.

Then the other chapion “showed his stuff.” A gate was opened and he was sitting in a chariot pulled by these wild and untrained beasts, “chomping at the bit,” pulling or trying to pull in different directions. On he raced them, perfectely  and adroitly  controlling them with the reins. Each one had a “mind of his own” and was using it, like the rebellious wild animals that they were. But the champion that was in control, wow—he was in FULL control. It was amazing to see his wise skill and power in his maneuvering those eight wild beasts, as though they were but ONE well-trained horse!  Those who knew horses well stood in shock and amazement. Why this was an impossible feat! They were utterly speechless and could hardly believe their own eyes.

The crowd roared with approval.

The official judges quieted the crowd and asked them who they thought the real champion was. Was it the champion that skillfully maneuvered his levers with his team of robotic horses?

The crowed yelled, “NO! Cheat! Fake!”

Then was the winner the one with the live wild and untrained beasts?

The sound was staggering as the crowd again roared their admiration!

Can you make any comparison, spiritually-speaking? God and His Christ takes the wild ones with rebellious wills and wild and evil natures, and He SUBDUES them and controls them without them being mere robots. Her even implant HIS spirit into their quickened spirit to subdue that evil nature! What almighty POWER, wisdom and grace THAT takes!  And He ends up totally successful and what GLORY HE deserves!!!

Now, reader, take a long time and meditate on this?  Which champion deserves the most  GLORY?   There is only ONE that is worthy!!!

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