(Click title to print, view or download in PDF)
by Pete Wilson
2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
It is a real blessing when we come to realize that all things we have and do and experience in life; with no exceptions, are the work of the Lord. We really begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord when we are given to understand and to trust in that immutable fact. This is the hidden wisdom the world cannot see or hear.
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
What a mind boggling concept this is to the natural man. Everything that happens in your life, everyone you meet, every word spoken, every response given, whether good or bad or indifferent is for YOUR SAKE. Only fools would believe such a doctrine and that is exactly what we must be to become wise in the ways of the Lord.
1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This truth is shown in scores of powerful verses those without ears to hear and eyes to see cannot see much less apply in their walk. We that have such capacity are indeed a blessed little flock. Here is the extent of the working of the Lord in the affairs of every man.
Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Coming to see the sovereignty of God in ALL THINGS is essential for us to grow and mature in the faith. This understanding to me is what maturing is really all about. Until we get the knowledge of this doctrine into our walk (our actions) we will struggle in bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Love is mentioned first in the list of the FRUIT of the Spirit in Galatians 5 and for very good reason. Lest we confuse what love truly is we are told point blank what the love of God is that represents this fruit of the Spirit.
2Jn 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
We most often seem to cite 1 Joh 5:3 but here is a second black and white witness to what the definition of AGAPE or love is.
2Jn 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
As we hopefully are learning as we abide now with Christ; living with true doctrine is not enough. We must become doers of the Word to walk in the Spirit (Jam 1:22-23). It is when we show respect of persons and judge things in the flesh that we are not living by the truth that all things are for our sakes. When we are not content with what the Lord is doing, we are walking in the flesh and acting double minded. When we whine, complain, criticize, stay angry, look down upon others and have any other reaction than THANK YOU LORD, we are judging in the flesh.
We must come to know and trust in the Lord and His promises that He is working all things for the greater good. That is how the scourging grace of the Lord, the very thing that saves us by transforming us rebounds with thanksgiving to the glory of the Lord.
Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
How often have we failed at doing this? Many times we will fall down before we learn. It is beyond this study to cover “judging righteous judgment” but we had best learn to make judgments but to make them according to the Word of God and not the logic of this world or the carnal mind.
Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
There are many witnesses of the old and new to judging the right way vs the wrong way. I used to think of respecting persons as simply respecting their worldly economic standing but it has a much wider meaning. Respect for persons is judging them in the flesh and not attributing what they do to the Lord and His absolute sovereignty. Doing so is the opposite of faith. When we put the cause and the blame on any individual, even ourselves, we are having respect of persons and judging in the flesh. We are commanded to do no such thing.
Deu 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Pro 24:23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
1Pe 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
The Elect of God are in training now for our roles in the ages to come (1 Cor 6:2, Mat 19:28). Those roles are to rule with Christ in the Millennium and to be the judges through which all men shall be saved in the end. We best learn how to judge righteous judgment and get past having respect of persons now. When we judge people in the flesh we are forgetting that ALL THINGS are for our sakes and were caused of the Lord.
Once we come to understand what the grace of God is and realize it is that grace that chastens us then we begin to mature. We mature when we accept the things the Lord is causing (working in our lives) without bitterness and receive it all with joy trusting in what the Lord is doing in our remaking process. It is so easy to be led astray by the deceitfulness of sin and the pulls of this carnal world. Peter warned the church and warns us to beware lest we ourselves fall.
2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
The fail safe way of not falling is to learn to apply this principle in our walk and in all of our judgments of people, actions, events and situations.
1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think [of men] above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
When we think above what is written we will get puffed up and will soon find ourselves doing what the adversary does which is being an accuser of the brethren.
As we grow, we learn to apply all things being for our sakes. We may not outwardly receive the chastening with joy but our inward man will receive it and we will grow in our ability to endure the trials the Lord has put before us in this age.
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Mal 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
The new man “Christ in us” will be called out of the darkness that is the old man. Look at this verse again and notice why all things are for our sakes as God’s Elect and where are eyes are to be focused.
2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The grace of God that is poured out upon His Elect comes back to God with thanksgiving and praises to the Lord. This is what occurs as we become mature men and the will of the Lord is being accomplished in our life more and more. This is the will of God for all men….
1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
1Th 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
When these things happen, the Lord will get all the glory and we will learn to rejoice in our trials knowing they are what is working the fruit of righteousness in us and accomplishing the Lord’s will in our lives. We must learn to be patient and to wait on the Lord to bring it to pass.
Heb 12:11 Now no chastening (Grace) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Relatively speaking our trials are considered a light affliction considering the honor we are being prepared in service to our Lord, if we endure.
Isa 54:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
Isa 54:8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
In the same way Jesus Christ in the flesh cried out to God and His Father while on the cross, we too if we God’s Elect feel the same at times. And this is why we must be connected to the Body and be ministered to and strengthened by the angels of the Lord through our trials.
We can’t be reminded often enough of the sovereignty of the Lord and the endless extent to which it applies. It takes many repetitions to drill this truth into the fiber of our every thought and action. The sermon on Mars Hill defined the limitless boundaries of the Lord in the affairs of mankind.
Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
Act 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Act 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
All things that happen in our lives, ALL THINGS, are the direct work of the Lord. Those things, be they good or evil have already been determined by God and He has already declared what shall be from the very beginning. We know but forget to apply these powerful Scriptures in a carnal and immature way. The sooner we get them into our walk and not just head knowledge the quicker the fruit will come.
Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Our natural mind only wants to give the Lord credit (and the glory) for the good things that happen. Even knowing the truth of His sovereignty our carnal mind will want to blame ourselves and others for their actions. While we certainly have to learn from our mistakes the fact is the Lord is working all things, even the dark things when they happen.
Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee
Lam 3:37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not?
Lam 3:38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?
No man can enter into Christ (the temple) until they live through the judgments of the Lord against their flesh and carnal mind. Contrary to the doctrines of man’s religion there is no other way in. The redemption of the Lord’s people is with judgment.
Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
Isa 1:27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
Nobody’s unrighteousness is going to get a pass, there is no respect of persons with the Lord either.
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
So we learn the truth and are given the garment of salvation by experiencing that judgment.
Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments (the fiery trials) are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Judgment is us being crucified, a living sacrifice and losing our life through the death of the old man. Yes it hurts, it is very painful to be crucified with Christ. Yet if we are given faith to believe we can say this about the judgment of God.
Psa 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psa 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
The new man is being saved by the destruction of the old man within us. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God and was never intended to (1 Cor 15:50). The Lord is merciful in that He only gives us to understand things when we are also given to bear them (Joh 14:12, 1 Co 10:13). It is only as we mature that the Lord will give us greater understanding of His processes and truths. With that understanding comes a greater expectation.
Luk 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
The grace of God will be dialed up perfectly for us to bring the trials and tribulations preordained for each of us to enter into the kingdom of God and be in that first resurrection Lord willing. Here is just a small sampling of treasures from the old and the new that confirm this wonderful work of trials and suffering in our lives. This is also known as the wonderful works of the Lord to the children of men.
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and thatwe must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Php 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
1Pe 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Jas 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
The Lord is going to work all things in your life to bring about the tribulation, suffering, fiery trials and heat that furnace of affliction to the perfect temperature. I hope all of us will grow in the knowledge of the Lord’s grace and move on to maturity. This comes about by experiencing good and evil and learning the lesson and true righteousness of the Lord through that process. I hope this study has reminded us all to stand on our faith and the word of God in discerning the truth of any situation and that the Lord has caused that situation for your very sake. How we respond to these situation and circumstances is the best measure of our maturity rather than our head knowledge of Scriptures.
Rom 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
What should our response to be to these “works of the Lord” in our lives? We could write pages to answer that, but let me just share Paul’s words to the Philippians to summarize it.
Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Comments and sincere questions are welcome. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org