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Does GOD have a master plan?

   By Brian Knowles Page 1 2 Reprint Article 1976

Throughout the ages of man, philosophers, mystics and visionaries have pondered the meaning of human existence.
Why was man placed on this good, green earth?
What, if anything, is God doing with His human creation?
Does God have any kind of plan, or is man merely some kind of uncontrolled, divine experiment?


Life on earth just seems to happen, doesn't it? It's all action and reaction. The fickle finger of fate seems to be constantly stabbing the human race entirely at random. You never know what's going to happen next. There just doesn't seem to be any purpose in it all.


The Apparent Futility of Life

 It appears that there is no plan, no intelligible scheme of things. Life is a series of accidents and chance circumstances. Everything is cyclical, it seems; history does repeat itself. There is predictable pattern but no apparent purpose.

People go on having wars, maiming and killing each other, never seeming to learn the lessons of history. Any solved problem is immediately replaced by another just as serious. Man advances technologically, but regresses morally and spiritually.

Good people suffer too! Evil people thrive and capitalize on the vulnerability of the masses. Oppression is the hallmark of our age; there is no apparent justice. Those who break the rules seem to get away with it with impunity. The wicked flourish like a green bay tree (see Psalm 37:35, KJV).

To the average citizen of the world, life just doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. It's a series of happenings over which one seems to have little control. Many disillusioned people, faced with the harshness of life on this planet, descend into an attitude of despair and cynicism.

"Where is God?" they ask. "I don't see any purpose in all this mess that mankind has gotten himself into. I think the best thing to do is to eat, drink and be merry. Tomorrow we'll all be dead anyway."

And so they adopt an attitude of selfishness. Me first. I'm going to get all I can out of this life. I don't want to hurt anyone, but I will if I have to.

Life becomes an endless round of pleasure seeking and self-indulgence. It becomes meaningless and fruitless.

Too many people adopt an attitude of total pragmatism and opportunism. They give up on life in a sense. After all, what's the use of being moral if people are just going to step on you for it? Why try to fit yourself into some great scheme of things when everyone seems to have a different idea of what the scheme is — or even whether there is one?


Reason for Life

 Of course, not everyone who has searched for meaning in life has become cynical. Abraham Lincoln, for example, concluded that "The Almighty has his purposes" (address to an Indiana regiment). Winston Churchill, Britain's wartime leader, was convinced that "There is a great purpose being worked out here below."

Those who truly wish to find meaning in life can do so. God, the Creator of life, has revealed Himself and His purpose in the pages of the Bible. To those who accept God's written revelation, His plan is no mystery.

Speaking of the Church, the apostle Paul wrote: "For he [God]has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph. 1:9-10).

God has a purpose — a plan! That plan is being worked out by Jesus Christ. It will come to fruition in "the fullness of time" and it will involve the uniting of all of the elements of the universe in Christ!

What God is telling us is that someday it will all come together — it will all make sense! What seems to be a random, uncontrolled divine experiment will ultimately jell into a beautiful, cohesive unity that will dazzle the senses and stagger the mind!

Jesus Christ, as "Executive Director" of the divine plan, is very much on the job. He said: "I work, and my father works" (John 5:17). Christ is working out the great master plan of salvation which involves the reconciliation of all of mankind to God. Ultimately, Jesus will bring about the "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21, KJV).

But how is this to be done? What is the mechanism through which God is working? How does it involve Jesus Christ?


Jesus' Message

 Jesus Christ came with a message from God the Father. It was one of good news — the "gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13). That message contained hope for the future of the human race. It was a message of how man could be reconciled to God and how he could actually become a part of His divine Kingdom. Therefore it was called "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt. 24:14). In the first instance of Jesus' preaching, we find this account: "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel' " (Mark 1:14).

Jesus came to reveal the way into the Kingdom of God! Prior to Jesus' time the people had only had "the law and the prophets" (Luke 16:16), but now "grace and truth" were added (John 1:17). Jesus brought the light of the gospel into the world. He came with new information that had not previously been revealed. Until God sent Jesus Christ with the message of the gospel, the plan of God had been somewhat enigmatic to the religious world. A blanket of "darkness" had been spread over the Jewish people concerning the real meaning of the Scriptures. Paul pointed out that "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, down to this very day" (Rom. 11:8).

No one had really understood, with full comprehension, the marvelous plan of God up until that time. Even Paul confessed that "we know in part" (I Cor. 13:9, KJV).

Though we still see through a darkened glass, we do see much more clearly than in ages past! God has revealed the essential elements of His master plan to the Church.

The average man on the street would consider most of this foolishness, of course. "Nobody really knows what God is doing," he would explain. "The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned"(I Cor. 2:14).

So long as the world refuses to "repent and believe the gospel," it cannot know what God is doing! The world has shut itself off from that information by its refusal to submit to God.


A Way Out

 But you can know! You can understand. Jesus said: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me . . ."(Matt. 11:28-29).

Jesus Christ, the Captain of our Salvation, will teach and instruct you through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. But you will first have to allow Him to enter into your life — and become a vital part of it! The only real hope of eternal glory is "Christ in us" as Paul pointed out in Colossians 1:27. Jesus Christ is the "door" through which we enter into eternal life. He is the only way to the Kingdom of God. He said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

There is no way anyone can reject Christ and still expect to understand the plan of God. Christ is the key figure in that plan. He is working it out. He alone has made it possible for man to be reconciled to his Creator: "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Col. 1:19-20).

It is through Christ's sacrifice on the cross that God set up the mechanism by which man could be reconciled to God. That aspect of the plan is complete. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived, preached, was crucified, died, was buried and was resurrected after three days and three nights. He now sits at the right hand of God the Father as High Priest and Mediator for the children of God (the Church). The act that made it possible for man to be reunited with God is complete. In that sense, man has been reconciled: "And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death . . ." (Col. 1:21-22).

Paul was addressing the Church. Those who are true Christians and have accepted the lordship of Christ, and who have faith in His sacrifice, have been reconciled to God. We are forgiven, washed in the blood of the "Lamb." We are no longer cut off from God by our sins (Isa. 59:2).