Why You are Not Going to “Let” God Do This nor “Allow” Him to Do That
Most Christians are practical atheists. We love Jesus Christ because He loved us, first, before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4, 5; 1 Jn 4:19). He demonstrated His love toward us on the cross (Rom 5:8), and then the Father and the Son sent their love with the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 5:5). So how does a Christian become a practical atheist?
We begin our Christian life and walk at the point when the Spirit opens our hearts in regeneration (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). We are born again and that means, in a spiritual sense, we are babes again. The Holy Spirit, indwelling each Christian, is the agent of our spiritual maturity (Rom 8:9, 11). We grow in grace, and we grow in knowledge, as the Spirit fills us with the life of Christ, the heart of Christ, and the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).
Christ is each Christian’s all in all. In God’s design, believers are not regenerated and then catapulted to glory. Rather, God’s will is our sanctification (1 Thess 4:3). This includes our tutelage, by our Teacher, the Holy Spirit. We are objects being grown, spiritually, like tree branches over time (Jn 15).
Christians learn to speak in tongues, that is, in the new language of our home country, heavenly Zion. The Word of God has its own vocabulary, with terms of endearment. The meaning and proper use of words is part of our growth. First, we learn the jargon, itself; and second, we learn the meanings of the words. Often, because of the work of false teachers, we must re-learn definitions. This is common. It is frustrating, but it is quite possibly God’s way of showing us the truth and the lies, in a way we will remember which is which.
We are recognized as theologians, as our speech adds our new vocabulary. We think about God. We talk about God. We talk to God. We write about God. We preach Christ, the God-man. One sign of immaturity in Christians is how their sentences are structured. In the immature believer, the subject of his theological discourse is himself, with God as the object. This is a carry over from one’s selfish, self-centered life, as an unregenerate sinner. As believers mature, there is a juxtaposition in sentence structure. God becomes the subject and the believer, the object. So practical atheism is more a matter of beginning with a low view of Christ, and then, not progressing in faith and knowledge. Our view of God should become larger, while our view of ourselves should become less…much less.
The immature believer, that is, the one who has not yet grasped God’s absolute sovereignty, writes, “I am going to let God have His way with me.” At first glance, this sounds submissive, as one who is declaring her allegiance and dependence. She is actually sending a subliminal message, “I have choices in my personal sovereignty, and on this occasion, I am going to relinquish my power to another, thus, demonstrating my ability to do so.” This, of course, is absurd. God is sovereign and subject to no one. Christians who talk and write this way are legion, however.
Now, guilty parties will heartily deny they ever made such a statement, or even, ever thought such a thought. In fact, the only thing betraying them is their own words. Most Christians are oblivious to this communication of the heart, but they are sending a very potent message, “I am going to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.” Read that again to ensure you see the perversity of the statement.
By God’s grace, our view changes, grows, matures, and we become more careful with the way we present our relationship with God to others. Do you wish to improve your vocabulary and grammatical structure to be more biblical and theologically accurate?
There is nothing more effective for expunging the truly sublime, but ludicrous statements about letting God do this, or allowing Him to do that, than a study in the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty. When the Christian discovers that God sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6), she will omit words like: chance; choice; luck; decision; will; etc., when communicating about man’s relationship toward God. Better to say, “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.” “God first, not me,” is a simple maxim to remember when thinking, speaking, and writing as Christians.
Others may not be helpful in this exercise to dispose of erroneous words, possessing false views. The reason is that much of Christianity has sold its soul to the exclusivity of God being love, only. When one is demonstrating a low view of God, with her words/ideas, she may be offended by the reproof of her low view, so, unfortunately, man-centered Christianity thrives in the, “Don’t judge me, love-only environment.”
Christians must love Christ supremely, and our zeal for his reputation should be foremost, even when it comes to suffering a bit of scorn, after correcting a brother or sister in Christ. Speak the truth, in love, and use exalting words of Christ and of God when you do.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 12, 2021