by Jerry Bridges /
Read all the posts published to date in this 9-part series on God’s Providence from Cruciform’s good friend, the late Jerry Bridges. This was a teaching Jerry was presenting in the months leading up to his fatal heart attack in March, 2016.
GOD’S PROVIDENCE, PART ONE OF NINE
Human birth is usually accompanied by difficulty, pain, and suffering. The same is often true of the process of dying. And in-between, every life will have moments that are traumatic and heartbreaking. This is inevitable, even for those of us who have been adopted into the family of God through Christ.
This is precisely why every one of us needs to have a clear understanding of the scriptural resources that can be grouped together under the phrase, the providence of God.
Like trinity, the word providence never appears in the Scripture, but again like trinity, the concept occurs throughout the Bible. So what do we mean by the providence of God?
The providence of God is his constant care for, and his absolute rule over,
all creation for his own glory and the good of his people.
In his providence, God rules over all things, directs all things, and orchestrates all things to accomplish his purposes. Nothing is left to chance. A sparrow cannot fall to the ground apart from his will. Even the hairs of your head are numbered.
The God of Providence
In order to understand the providence of God, we first need to understand the God of providence. A good place to start is the Westminster Confession of Faith Shorter Catechism, which begins with the well-known question, “What is the chief end of man?” and its answer, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
But it is the fourth question from that catechism I would like to consider at this time: “What is God?”
God is a Spirit: infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
As an infinite being, God is also omnispresent and omniscient.
Omnipresent–God is present in his entire being throughout all his creation, all the time (Jeremiah 23:24).
Omniscient–God knows absolutely everything past, present, and future. In fact, for God, who exists outside of time, there is no past or future, but only an eternal now (Psalm 139:1-4).
This is the God of providence, the God described by Paul in Ephesians 1:11, who “works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
A biblical understanding of the providence of God has great value—it will see you through the tough times of your life. The process of learning it begins and ends with knowing the character and attributes of God. I know that’s a tall order, but as we move through this series of posts we need to understand the basics of who God is so we can keep building on these critical, fundamental truths.
This has been Part 1 of a 9-part series on God’s providence from Jerry Bridges.
Jerry Bridges (1929-2016) was the author of Who Am I? — Identity in Christ, as well as numerous other books, including The Pursuit of Holiness (which has sold more than 1.4 million copies), and the award-winning The Discipline of Grace and I Will Follow You, O God. He maintained an international speaking ministry and, from 1955 until his death, served in a variety of capacities with the Navigators.