God brings His people “out with a strong hand and redeems [them] from the place of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 7: 8) Moses tells the people of God to “know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keep His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations to those who love Him and keep His commands.”
“For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7: 6)
When you prosper, warns Moses, do not say to yourself that “[your] own power and [your] own ability gains this wealth for [you], but remember that the Lord your God gives you power to gain wealth, in order to confirm His covenant.” (Deuteronomy 8: 17 – 18)
When you face enemies, trials, persecutions, challenges, doubts — “understand that…the Lord your God will cross over ahead of you as a consuming fire; He will devastate and subdue.” (Deuteronomy 9: 3) But, “do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord brings me in to take possession of this…because of my righteousness.'” (Deuteronomy 9: 4) Moses says twice that the Lord “is not giving you this good…to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Deuteronomy 9: 6)
“Keep in mind that the Lord your God disciplines you just as a man disciplines his son.” (Deuteronomy 8: 5)
Moses says to us, “Keep the commands of the Lord your God by walking in His ways and fearing Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into…good.” (Deuteronomy 8: 6 – 7)
We are saved before time begins in Christ Jesus who is with God and is God. As John writes, “In the beginning is the Word, and the Word is with God, and the Word is God.” (John 1: 1)
Paul tells us that our salvation is not due to our works, but completely rests on Christ’s finished work, which is God’s purpose and will.
“For [God] chooses us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestines us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favors us with in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1: 4 – 6)
Paul calls us to be strong in God’s grace, keeping ourselves from entanglement in the affairs of the world so that we are “set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2: 1, 21)
For the good works we do are prepared in advance for us by our Heavenly Father, and performed by the power of His Holy Spirit through the grace of His Beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul, of all people, boasts in his weaknesses. He even writes that he “takes pleasure” in them, recognizing that when he is “weak, then [he] is strong.”
How is this possible? In weaknesses, strength is perfected through the grace afforded by Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father — i.e. through the works and persons of the Godhead.
Paul claims that his physical [or perhaps psychological] weakness, his “thorn in the flesh” remains in order that he “not exalt [himself].” (2 Corinthians 12: 7) Within his weaknesses, including “insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and pressures,” Paul finds God’s “grace is sufficient for [him].”
Weakness remains in order that we not exalt ourselves, in order that we do not think more of ourselves than we ought.
Paul prays, “that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.” (Ephesians 1: 18 – 19)
“Yahweh, You are my God; I will exalt You. I will praise Your Name, for You have accomplished wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” (Isaiah 25: 1, Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Why is anyone surprised or bewildered that God plans? Why are we taken aback by God having created us knowing we would fall, having allowed the serpent to tempt us, having driven us from Eden, having planned our salvation? Why does it irk us that God makes choices? Is He not in complete control? Is He not sovereign? Does He not have the final say in any matter?
“For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid?” (Romans 11: 34 – 35)
The way around bewilderment or even resentment that God is in control is to recognize that everything He does is done “with perfect faithfulness.” In God’s sovereignty there is no error.