How to Approach Your Role in History

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Imagine taking the stage to act in a play without knowing what the play itself is about, without even knowing your part. It would be a disaster! But many Christians assume that if they love the lead Actor enough, everything else will fall into place. We have a role in history, and we need to know our lines. By understanding the play, as we discussed above, we gain insight into where it is going. By understanding that God has a purpose for us as individually and by devoting ourselves to it, we gain insight into where to go.

God accomplishes His purpose in “History” by providentially superintending His creation. This is called the Providential view of history and it was the predominant view of Christians from all ages, including our American founders. Noah Webster, the great educator and LEXICOGRAPHER, who complied the first American dictionary in 1828, defined providence as:

The care and superintendence which God exercises over creatures… Some persons admit a general providence, but deny a particular providence, not considering that a general providence consists of particulars. A brief in divine providence is a source of great consolation to good men. By divine providence is understood God Himself.

As you might have surmised, Noah Webster was a devout Christian holding to the Providential view of history. Note that in his definition of providence, Webster said that it is a “source of great consolation to good men.” In this statement, he alluded to the peace that comes from knowing that a just God presides over the nations and that His plan cannot be thwarted. The opposite is also true. If one is fighting the God of History and then learns of His Providence, it can be very disconcerting!

Eighteenth-century historian Charles Rollin reflected on the predominant view of early America and Christendom all the way back to Saint Paul when he wrote:

Nothing gives history a greater superiority to many branches of literature, than to see in a manner imprinted, in almost every page of it, the precious footsteps and shining proofs of the great truth, viz. that God disposes of all events as supreme Lord and Sovereign; that He alone determines the fate of kings and the duration of empires and that He transfers the government of kingdoms from one nation to another because of the unrighteous dealings and wickedness committed therein.

Has the great God of the universe unveiled to us His cosmic plan for the ages? Yes! The Scriptures reveal His will. The Godhead (trinity) before time began planned the redemption of His people and His world (revelation 13:8; Titus 1:2). Jesus Christ – through His death, resurrection, ascension, and eventual second coming – provides the center focus and meaning for history. As 1 Corinthians 15:24 says, at the end of time as we know it, “Then comes the end, when He (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” All of God’s created order is destined to bow before Jesus Christ: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). The Lord himself tells us what will happen at the end of history, “For it is written: ‘As I live, saith the LORD, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11)

Read more at World History Institute