God's Permissive Will
In the very first chapter of the Bible, we see that God’s perfect will was that man would never know evil, or the sin, sorrow, sickness, and death that it brings. However, man sought that knowledge, and as a result sin and death entered the world.
In Genesis 2:2-9 and 15-17, we read:
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
As a result of Adam and Eve’s choice, sin entered into this world and into the very nature of mankind. Today, each of us exist in this world and our lives are touched on every side by sin – by misunderstandings, by hatred, by lack of love and compassion, by discouragement and failure, by sickness and death. These things are consequences of sin and God allows such conditions in our world . . . situations human beings brought on ourselves through the exercise of our own free will.
Now we are living not in the kingdom of God’s perfect will, but in the realm of His permissive will. Sin and its consequences exist and operate in our day. Rather than destroying sin, God permits it – thereby allowing a time of grace in which people may still come to Him. All that happens comes because God permits it; it comes because He allows it.
God promises that in the lives of His own children He “so overrules all the evil of men and devils that in permitting the evil, He can take it up into His will, and make it work out His purposes” (Andrew Murray). We find many clear examples of this in the Bible. One such instance occurs in Genesis 50:20, when Joseph says of the sin of his brothers,
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
As God’s children we find that sickness, bitter disappointments, and failure enter our lives, yet we can say with assurance, “You could have no power at all against me except that God allowed it.” Nevertheless, His word to us is . . . My precious children, my perfect will was that you should never know evil or sorrow or sickness or death. But IF YOU WILL TRUST ME, I will take those things up into My will and make them work for good in your life.
Romans 8:28-29 promises us:
“And we know that 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.”
God’s purpose in allowing trials in my life is to make me LIKE CHRIST. The important point here is – IF I WILL TRUST HIM. Things do not automatically work together for good for all who trust God for salvation. In daily living, we must trust His Word and believe His promises, in order that He may work out HIS WILL and HIS WAY in our lives.
Lord, in the midst of this sin-filled world, continue to conform me to the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ! Thank you that ONLY YOU are able to truly work all things together for good in my life as I CHOOSE TO TRUST YOU - EVERY DAY and in EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE. To God be the glory – Amen.