Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word “provider” in the following way:
PROVI’DER, n. One who provides, furnishes or supplies; one that procures what is wanted.
I’d like to ask a few questions:
Who or what is the provider of our water? If we pay to get our water piped into our house, the company that does that is our provider.
Who or what is the provider of our food? If we go to a grocery store, the grocery store is (along with every part of the chain involved in getting it there).
Who or what is the provider of our clothing? If you get it from a retail store, the store and the manufacturers are.
I could go on; but if we’re paying someone or some entity for us to have the necessities of life, then by the definition above, they are our provider.
If we’ve placed a middle man between us and God’s direct provisions, then in reality we no longer look to God for His providence — we look to the middle man. Don’t believe that? In a town, if our water stopped flowing from the faucet in our house, what would we do? We’d call the water company — our water provider. If we would starve without the nearest grocery store having food to buy, then it is our provider.
To whom we look for your life provisions, they are our provider.
Gen 22:13-14 – “13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [the Lord will see/provide]: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (see John Gill’s commentary on vs. 14)
God provided the ram for the sacrifice, and we are to look to Him alone as our provider.
God providing temporily is really a “type” of His spiritual provisions (we eat bread — He is the bread of life (John 6:35); we drink water — He gives the water of life (John 4:14); etc.) In the same way God provided the ram above (also as a type), He provided a Sacrifice, a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for His people; and we are to look to Him alone for salvation.
Further, God is the only source for all other spiritual provisions, such as spiritual graces, as the heart of man is desperately wicked; and everyone is dead in their sins until God, by His own sovereign will, graces and mercies, breathes new life into them. Did we conjure up our own free-will faith to believe in God, and that’s why He saved us? Then we were the provider of our faith (and thus our salvation?!) Do we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, have “power thoughts” for courage and strength, and declare we’re going to be meek and humble and not let the things of life get us down? Then we are the provider of our Christian graces.
The Bible says otherwise, and prevents any man from boasting of providing his own faith and spiritual graces.
And so, in the end, who is our provider?
Morning David and Susan! Fabulous post! I don't think I got the end part though…sorry.
"Did you conjure up your own free-will faith to believe in God, and that's why He saved you?"
Are you saying that God chooses certain people to be saved?? Or are you saying that God gives everyone the same deal and only some act on it? Because if it's the former statement…that really scared me!
Bear with me…I'm still learning.
We believe that God is sovereign over everything, including salvation. Being dead in his sins, man is incapable in himself to choose God or believe. God did the choosing, gives life to the dead soul, grants faith to the person so they can believe; and then when they hear the Gospel, the person believes, because they now have the God-given faith.
Our Lest Any Man Should Boast post discusses it some from the Scripture; and here is our local fellowship's statement of faith, which states these beliefs also using Scripture. And if you're interested more, I would encourage you to examine and pray over lots of scriptures that talk about God's sovereignty over salvation in our Election, Atonement, and Other Interesting Verse Sets document.
Further, I would highly recommend a couple of books you can buy or read online: A.W. Pink's "The Attributes of God" and "The Sovereignty of God."
If you are new to the idea of God's sovereignty in salvation, I hope you'll spend the time to investigate it. May the Lord guide your studies and grant you light, wisdom and understanding.
I have made it down your list to the A.W. Pink writings. I don't even know what to say…I'm stunned!!! Eyes wide open!!!
Thank you for your help…I'll be rereading these for awhile.
Pink's writings are excellent in my opinion, and I hope you take the time to go through them. If you have any other questions or anything, or if you would like some other articles and the like to read, you could post a comment with your email address, I wouldn't publish your comment, but would reply via email. No pressure…just an option if you want.
Don't forget "The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination" by Jerome Zanchius. It is excellent. I got my copy from monergismbooks.com. It should also be available online.
Great post David. I love the middle man comment – its the base of Catholicism. God's mercies and graces with you.
Hi Todd, thanks for the info. I've heard Loraine Boettner's "Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" is good too.
And hi Ante, thanks for saying hi and for the prayers. May God's graces and mercies be with you and your family too.