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God and the control of sin, Pt 2 (from "Spectacular Sins")


3. What role did God play in the most spectacular sin of the murder of Jesus?

But first, more questions:
Is allowing something the same thing as controlling it? Does predicting it make you responsible for it? If you have the power to prevent it, but don’t exercise your power, is that equal to causing it?

God did allow every piece of the puzzle to fit, through time and place, for Jesus’ death. And he certainly had the power to prevent any of the smaller sins that led up to the ultimate sin of Jesus being crucified. Jesus himself said that he could have appealed for legions of angels, but he didn’t (Matthew 26:53-54).

And God certainly predicted Jesus’ death throughout scripture, even down to the details (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; John 15:25; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31; John 19:34-37; John 13:18; Zechariah 11:12-13; Mark 10:33-34; Matthew 26:24).

So was he responsible for it? Did he cause the death of his own son? Piper phrases his answer “carefully and with trembling,” to properly echo the Bible’s own phrasing of the answer, that “the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe...(Acts 4:27-28).”

I conclude that yes, God was responsible for Jesus’ death. If he had not been, then what’s the gift?

If you happen upon $1 million in the road, I can’t take credit for giving it to you. But if I write you a check for it, then the gift is from me. If God did not give us Jesus’ death, then it was only through fateful circumstances that it happened, and no proof of his love.

God did give the gift to us. He executed the giving through no sin or wrong-doing or unrighteous of his own. And he continues to sustain our lives through continual cleansing.

Why should this matter to us? “If you separate God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.”

I don’t want to lose the gospel. Thank God we can’t lose his love.


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