gray and brown mountain

The Lord provides. Our lives depend upon his care. All creation depends upon God for
its care and its very existence. The creation has no existence in itself. From the moment it came
into being, it has existed only in and through and unto God (Neh. 9:6; Ps. 104:30; Acts 17:28;
Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:15ff.; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 4:11). Although distinct from his being, it has no
independent existence; independence [“separation from God” DLD] is tantamount to
nonexistence” (Bavinck, RD 2:592).

In him “we live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) and “in him all things hold
together” (Col. 1:17). God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11).
God’s providence includes his eternal plan, work in creation, and final accomplishment of his
will. Providence could, therefore, be defined as “that continued exercise of the divine energy
whereby the Creator preserves all His creatures, is operative in all that comes to pass in the world,
and directs all things to their appointed end” (Berkhof Systematic Theology, 166). Nehemiah 9:6
described God’s relationship to creation this way: “you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven
worships you.” The Bible describes God’s providential working in the maintenance of the universe (Heb. 1:3), the times and boundaries of life (Acts 17:26), the rise and fall of kingdom
(Dan. 2:21), the falling of sparrows to the ground (Matt. 10:29), and the giving of every good gift
(Js. 1:17). Providence, then, concerns the will of God and the work of God to bring about his will for his
glory and the good of his creatures.

God moves in a mysterious way, but it seems that God’s providence is brought by God
through his creation. Providence is addressed by several theologians under the following headings:
preservation, concurrence or cooperation, and government. These three headings illustrate how
God works through his people to accomplish his purposes. This allows for humans to retain their
will and maintains the reality of secondary causes while God remains the primary cause. This concurrent relationship is seen in Philippians 2:12-13, “work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” The
Philippians worked for God, and God worked in them. Christians have responsibilities in every area
of life, but it is still God who gives every good and perfect gift (Js. 1:17).

The reality of God’s providence is a constant blessing for his people. Christians know “for
those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his
purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:28). With confidence in
God’s secure providence, the Christian can say with confidence, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has
taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).


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