God’s Role in Sin ~ Mystery of Providence by John Flavel (Chapter 6)

Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Together we have been reading through The Mystery of Providence written by Puritan John Flavel. You can read more about the project here.

How easy it is for sin to ensnare us and trap us, taking our gaze off of our savior and fixating it on our own desires instead! Yet, with great love our God works to preserve our lives by directing us away from sin. If it were not for the work of God in our lives, how much more abundant and frequent would sin be in our lives? Perhaps we take for granted the work of God, with little regard of what it means to be called children of God (1 John 3:1). As Flavel rightly says, “God has more care of men’s souls than they do of their own!”
In this great care, God preserves the lives of men by keeping them from sin in no less than the following five ways:
  1. By providing others in our lives to help us avoid sin.
  2. By hindering any instruments that may be used to entice us into sin.
  3. By even laying afflictions on us so that we may not fall into greater sin than what we are already engaged in.
  4. By the provoking of our mind with the things of God, so that we do not become more susceptible to it.
  5. By physically removing those prone to sin from the world.
I have often watched people deal with the enslavement of sin, myself included, with great agony and just when they think it is conquered, they fall into it again. It is because the reliance was on self, thinking that “I have conquered sin” only to find out that sin can only be conquered through the work of God. It is no wonder that we fall back into when we think it is of our own watchfulness or wisdom. However, Flavel reminds us that escape from sin was no accident. It was nothing less than the working of God in a person’s life!
Oft times we forget just how near to sin we are and how easy it would be to fall into it were it not for the intervention of God. Even in this way, we take our relationship with Him for granted. Fixated on Him, there is a great need to fixate on His work in our lives and acknowledge that more profoundly than we do. May God be praised all the more by lives sanctified because of His work and definitely not by our work, because we would fail without Him. Indeed, God does have a role in sin: it is not as instigator but as protector.

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