Dear Ms. Hunt;
I was reading your reply to one of the emails that is published in the [Reader’s Mailbag] and I honestly think that if you weren’t an author you’d make a very good pastor or youth leader because…you’re very good at explaining things. The question that April asked is something that I’ve often wondered myself and I haven’t been able to answer it whenever my non christians intentionally or unintentionally try to challenge my faith. You said, “He often ordains that men carry out evil deeds according to his will (example: the crucifixion of Christ).”
My question is – and I hope that I won’t sound disrespectful, but in your opinion, if it God who ordained for men to do evil even if it is for His purpose, then why are they punished for something that is beyond their control? When I say punish I mean in an earthly sense. I understand that no matter what one has done if they confess and believe that Jesus is their Lord and Savior then they will be saved from the fires of hell but that doesn’t mean that they’re exempted from being punished as according to the law. And if it is God who uses the evil for His will, then is it no longer something that is evil? For God is perfect, I would think that He’ll be…incapable of doing evil. I understand that because we’re only human, we can’t possibly fully understand God and the things He does but I was just wondering what your opinion will be in this. God Bless You!! ^0^ P.S Please continue to write more biblical historical fiction novels, I was so disappointed when I finished ‘Shadow Women’ and the ‘Legacies’ series. Soooo good ><
Thank you for your question. It’s a tough one, but I think we have to realize that this is something we won’t fully understand for a while. God’s thoughts and reasons are so far above ours. But lest that seem like a cop-out, I’ve come to realize that it works a little like this (an idea I tried to express in The Novelist): we are like characters in a story. God has created our characters, our personalities, our “bents.” He knows what we will do in any given situation, and he directs our path and orders our steps. As the Author of our lives and of Eternity, he is completely sovereign.
Just this morning, my gaze fell upon Proverbs 20:24: “How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps.”
We live on a lower plane. On our plane, we live and work and move and make decisions, often completely unaware of how God is working. We have–and we exercise–our free will. We are responsible for our decisions, because we freely choose to do good and evil. We cannot escape responsibility for our actions, nor do we deserve to. Yet God offers grace and forgiveness for those who trust Him.
So–though men crucified Christ according to God’s plan, they weren’t aware of that plan. They acted, on their own “plane,” of their own volition. They exercised their own free will, even though it was all part of God’s plan.
And–you mentioned that Christians believe in Jesus, they’ll be saved from hell yet still be punished . . . no, thank the Lord! The Bible says “there is no condemnation waiting those who are in Christ Jesus,” so when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be clothed in His righteousness. We are forgiven, and our sins have been removed “as far as the east is from the west.” We will be judged, but for our works, for the good deeds we have done–did we do them for the glory of God, or for the praise of men? On earth, we may suffer the consequences of our sin (if you steal, you have to confess, repent, and make things right), but in eternity we will not be punished for sin.
God is perfectly holy and he does not sin . . . and he is sovereign over all of his creation, including evil and the evil one. Nothing can touch the believer in Christ without God’s permission.