Nothing Thwarts God
As far back as 1939, the Dutch theologian Johan Herman Bavinck observed, “It looks more and more likely that our culture, based as it is on self-satisfaction, will at a certain moment collapse and then we as humanity will face a worldwide calamity that will occur without warning. It may yet take a while, but there’s no doubt it will come.”
If Bavinck were here today, perhaps he would find our present circumstances to be something of a fulfillment of that prophetic word. For materialism, instant gratification, and individualistic autonomy were all sold to us as the path to satisfy ourselves—and, these things having failed, where do our societies turn?
We shouldn’t misunderstand all the troubles of our world as being explicable in worldly terms alone. Mankind, the Bible tells us, is opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we consider our circumstances in light of the Scriptures, we recognize that this is what the psalmist meant when he wrote, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed.”
If we do not want to be buffeted and bowled over by opposition and persecution, we must remember that God is sovereign and that He cannot be defeated. The unfolding of His purposes from all of eternity is at the very heart of biblical Christianity. He is the Maker. He speaks, and He decides. Even the calamities of our world are all part of the plan God has predestined to take place. He has set His King to reign, and nothing can thwart His purpose. As His people, the church should therefore sound not retreat but reveille! We must remind ourselves and others of who the enemy is: our battle is primarily a spiritual one, waged not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). And we must remind ourselves and others of who the victor is and always shall be: the King God has appointed—His Son and our Savior.
As we consider the amazing juxtaposition between our sovereign God and this world full of rebellion, we ought to turn to Him in prayer. Indeed, Paul reminded his readers to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18), encouraging them with the truth that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We can pray boldly and live bravely because God stands sovereign. He is advancing His purpose—and nothing and no one can ultimately stand against His desire to glorify His King and bless His people.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
The Whole Armor of God
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
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