The doctrine of Providence

We may define God’s providence as follows:

God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes.

Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A. (2009-05-18). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (p. 315). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Legend has it:

0 N E N I G H T, early in the fourth century, St. Anthony, the revered Egyptian monk, was standing in the desert engaged in earnest prayer. Satan seized the opportunity to rally the wild beasts of the area and to send them against Anthony. As they surrounded him on every side, “and with threatening looks were ready to leap upon him, he looked at them boldly and said unto them, `If ye have received power over me from the Lord, draw nigh, and delay not, for I am ready for you; but if ye have made ready and come at the command of Satan, get ye back to your places and tarry not, for I am a servant of Jesus the Conqueror.’ And when the blessed man had spoken these words, Satan was straightway driven away by the mention of the Name of Christ like a sparrow before a hawk.”

Dr. Bruce L. Shelley. Church History in Plain Language: Updated 2nd Edition (p. 116). Kindle Edition.

In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin exposes the bad fruit of our superstition vs. embracing the doctrine God’s providence:

We are superstitiously timid, I say, if whenever creatures [man or beast] threaten us or forcibly terrorize us we become as fearful as if they had some intrinsic power to harm us, or might wound us inadvertently and accidently, or there were not enough help in God against their harmful acts. (1.XVI.3)

The point is not that we have power over the creatures that come against us [man or beast].  The point is – God does:

“They are governed by God’s secret plan in such a way that nothing happens except what is knowingly and willingly decreed by him.” ~ John Piper

Per the Heidelberg Catechism:

The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What advantage comes from acknowledging God’s creation and providence?” And answers:

We learn that we are to be patient in adversity, grateful in the midst of blessing, and to trust our faithful God and Father for the future, assured that no creature shall separate us from his love, since all creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they cannot even move.

Bask in the glory of God’s providence today and know that He is in control for our good and His glory.

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