Jerry C. Brewer
The denominational world of pseudo-Christianity is soaked to the gills with the Calvinistic notion that God micro-manages the life of every human on earth, as a puppet master manipulates his puppets’ strings. That mantra is repeatedly intoned by denominationalists—and some members of the church even join in the chorus. When one’s marriage is good, he says, “I think this is God’s plan for my life.” A college graduate finds a job he absolutely loves and says, “I think this is God’s plan for my life.” A preacher “feels led” to move to another location and says, “I think God had this planned for my life” (and that “plan” usually involves more pay). One lady told of a man falling from a drilling rig, uninjured, and said, “Someone was riding down with him,” meaning, that was “God’s plan.”
A few years ago, when a Baptist preacher said that he had prayed about what scripture to use at a lady’s funeral, I whispered to my wife, “Proverbs 31”, after which he said, “And God led me me to Proverbs 31.” I wasn’t “led” by some mysterious “urge,” “prompting,” or “Holy Spirit nudge” to suggest that scripture. I had studied it with the brain God gave me for that purpose, and recalled it. Neither was he “led” by a vague “hint” or a miracle. Some Calvinist preachers still claim to be “God’s Mouthpiece” thinking God directs every movement and thought as part of His “plan” for their lives.
Even when tragedy strikes, God is not immune from such speculations about a mysterious “plan.” When my brother died, a Methodist aunt said, “Well that’s God’s plan.” I pointedly told her it was not. God does not kill people and it was never his “plan” that we die. When a person escapes a car wreck, or some other accident unscathed, he often reasons that “God has a plan for my life.” Really? What is that plan? Was part of it to save you from a car wreck? And, since God is no respecter of persons, (Acts 10:34; Matt. 5:45), why does he not save everyone from accidents if that is “His plan?” None of these people know what “God’s plan” is. They just blindly fumble through life trying to figure it out.
What all of them have in common is the Calvinistic notion that God foreordained everything that happens, even to the moment and method of one’s death. General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson was most consistent in his Calvinistic belief. When asked how he could be so calm in battle as bullets flew about him, he said, “My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.” His statement sums up the gamut of one’s life as viewed through Calvinistic lenses. It was his Calvinistic doctrine that cut short the General’s life at Chancellorsville. Had he not embraced that false doctrine, Gettysburg might have had a different outcome.
To Calvinists, God ordained everything that occurs in their lives, from the moment they are born to what clothes they will wear, where they will go, when they will eat, what they will eat, where they shop, how they travel, who they will marry, (I wonder if Calvinists apply this to “same-sex” marriages), what diseases they will contract and the moment they will die, etc., ad nauseum. The Calvinist who says, “God has a plan for my life,” believes it is shrouded in mystery, which he must learn by his subjective conclusions through vague “nudges,” “promptings,” and “hints” from the Holy Spirit—an absolutely false concept.
God Does, Indeed, Have A Plan
There is nothing mysterious about God’s plan for man that leaves us groping in uncertainty. In communicating His plan to the human race, God did not leave us in doubt. His plan has been set forth by inspiration, and clearly revealed in the Bible. It is not one that destroys the free will of man as God created him, but is adapted to his free will. Nor does God “have a plan” for each individual’s life that must be sought through subjective feelings. It is a plan that sets two paths before every person, one of which each of us chooses by his own free will. Joshua set those before Israel in these words:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods that your fathers served which were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15).
That same choice was expressed by Jesus in the Sermon on The Mount.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:13-14).
God has a plan for all of mankind, not individual plans for each of the billions who have lived in ages past, who live today, or will ever live. His plan is so simple that a child can understand it and it was written by the wisest of ancient mortals. After recounting the vicissitudes, joys, tribulations, and sorrows of this life “under the sun,” Solomon wrote,
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Eccl. 12:13-14).
God’s plan for the human race is two-fold: Fear Him and Keep His commandments. It’s as simple as that. It applied to every person who lived in the past and applies to every living person today. Those who accept that plan will enter into life’s strait gate and those who refuse it will enter into the broad way of eternal doom.
To “fear God” is to reverence and respect Him as the Creator—to hold His Person in awe and to recognize that He alone is the source of our life. Growing out of that genuine reverence will be the desire to “keep his commandments.” In verse 14, Solomon sets forth incentives for doing those two things. God will bring everything we do into judgment. We will be judged according to the lives we have lived, and the standard of Judgment will be His commandments. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
When an architect designs a building, he has a plan—a blueprint, as it were. That plan is clearly set forth in words and with specifications that can be understood by the builders. The Great Architect of humanity also has a blueprint—a plan upon which we are to build our lives—that is easily understood. If the architect who designs a building is as vague about his plan as so many believe God is, our cities and towns would be filled with buildings that have no utility or purpose at all. The Bible sets forth God’s blueprint in clear, Holy Spirit-inspired language:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth (1 Cor. 2:12-13).
…how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words; whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit (Eph. 3:3-5).
Great masses of “religious” people grope in the darkness of their subjective feelings, saying, “I think God has a plan for my life,” because they refuse to “fear God and keep his commandments” expressed in His objective standard—the Bible—where His plan is revealed in clear terms. They are the same people who reject the worship God has prescribed in the Bible, the plan of salvation He prescribed there, and the righteous living He demands therein. They think God has a plan for their lives and they are right, but they are seeking the wrong kind of plan in the wrong place.
God’s plan for your life, and mine, is plainly set forth in His word. Hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believe it (Mark 16:16; John 8:24), repent of your sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31), Confess Christ as the Son of God (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37), be baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), and live faithfully all of our days so heaven will be ours at last (2 Tim. 4:6-8). That is God’s plan for the whole world, not the mundane things of life that happen to us by chance. “…time and chance happeneth to them all” (Eccl. 9:11), but God’s plan does not involve chance. His word is sure and forever settled “in heaven” (Psa. 119:89).