“For He Chose Us In Him” (1 Corinthians 1: 18, HCSB) by Carley Evans


The cross appears a foolish means of restoring humankind’s relationship with God. Perhaps even to some there is no relationship with God to be restored, or there is no God at all. Still, if God exists and loves us, why is the cross necessary?

Heard it before, haven’t you? That God hates sin so much He has to punish it. He doesn’t want to punish us, so He punishes Himself in the form of His Son. Sounds downright bizarre to the intellectual.

I’ve always found it odd that anyone can say to another, “It isn’t head knowledge that saves you; it’s a relationship.” Who would believe, strictly by intellectual means, that God is like how He has been described over the years since Jesus’ death and resurrection? Our power to explain God is so weak, so inadequate, so pathetic that I can’t imagine anyone believing it intellectually unless the Holy Spirit has done His work in the heart of the one who hears the explanation.

How does someone who has not been prepared by God Himself come to believe in a God who is love and wrath simultaneously, a God who destroys nations while building up a selected nation, Israel? How does someone trust a God who expects total obedience, and destroys anyone who does not obey completely? How does someone — someone like Job — come to be absolutely grateful to a God who destroys everything he has? How do we understand God unless God has touched us first?

I maintain we can’t.

For God’s ways are not ours ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8)

“Praise God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.” (Ephesians 1: 2 – 5)

“To The Praise Of His Glorious Grace” (2 Timothy 1: 9, HCSB) by Carley Evans


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.

“God’s Plan For The Fullness Of Time” (John 19: 11, ESV) by Carley Evans


Pontius Pilate declares he has authority to condemn or free Jesus. Jesus answers, “You have no authority over Me at all unless it is given you from above.”

After hearing this statement, Pilate “seeks to release him.” The Jews, however, cry out against Jesus, claiming He is opposing Caesar’s rule. They demand Jesus’ crucifixion. The chief priests say, “We have no king but Caesar.” So, Pilate “delivers [Jesus] over to them to be crucified.” (John 19: 12, 15, 16) This is not Pilate’s desire. He wishes to free Jesus, as his wife warns that this man is holy and not to be touched. Pilate, despite his best intentions, relents — going along with the will of the crowd before him.

God holds all authority in heaven and on earth. No one has power over His purposes; no one succeeds against Him.

Even Satan seeks God’s permission to afflict us.

God asks Satan, “From where have you come?” (Job 2: 2) Satan responds that he has roamed “to and fro on the earth.” (Job 2: 2) God invites Satan to consider Job, a true servant of the Lord — a man of integrity who turns from evil “although you incite Me against him to destroy him without reason.” (Job 2: 3)

Without reason? — God destroys Job without reason?

Of course, Job’s friends maintain Job has sinned against God and this is the reason he is being destroyed. Job’s wife says it is God’s caprice, and strongly suggests that Job curse God and just go ahead and die!

God says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38: 2 – 4)

Essentially, Jesus says the same to Pilate. “Who are you that you think you have any authority at all over Me?”

Many respond to this truth like Job’s wife — falsely believing God “destroys without reason.” Others, perhaps only a few, know that God controls every moment in time, every motion in space. All is done with His knowledge; all is within His purposes. And all His purposes are good, perfect.

And this “is 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.” (Ephesians 1: 9 – 10)