Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 23, 1949

Defeating God's Purposes

Cornelius C. Abbott, Altus, Oklahoma

"And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; and he saith unto them, 'it is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer: be ye make it a den of robbers'," (Matt. 21:12-14)

These people had defeated God's plan or purposes concerning the temple. God had planned it as a house of prayer; they had perverted it into a den of thieves. They had set up tables and carried on dishonest trading. This was not the first time in human history (nor the last) in which God's plans were defeated by his creatures. It was Robert Burns who mourned that "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley (astray)". And such a fate is equally true of the best-laid plans of God.

God Proposes, Man Disposes

When the execution of God's plans are dependent entirely on God, they are carried out to the very letter. When, however, the carrying out of his plans is dependent on man, the plans are often defeated and thwarted. This is because God has given man freedom of will. Man can, and often does, reject the commandments of God concerning the human race, the family, the church, and individual salvation.

God placed in the earth oil, coal, minerals for man's welfare and happiness. They are available to heat his home, run engines of transportation, provide materials for food, clothing, shelter, and all the necessities of living. Man, however, has taken these elements and perverted them to diabolical ends. He has used them to make poisonous gases, atomic bombs, instruments of destruction and devastation. It seems that he may certainly destroy civilization unless he is checked by a spiritual reformation. He has used the very things God put here for his happiness to destroy the happiness and even the lives of his fellow-men.

God's Plan For The Church

Jesus promised to build his church. (Matt. 16:18) He did build it; and it is his. God purposed to establish, and did establish, that one church (Acts 2:1-47; Eph. 4:1-4) Jesus prayed for the unity of all believers, (John 17:20) and Paul severely condemned division, (I Cor. 1:10,13)

In spite of this clear purpose of God, however, man has multiplied his divisions and denominations. He has defeated the plan of God by dividing the so-called Christian world into innumerable factions, sects, splits and re-splits. It has become so that the average person is bewildered and confused concerning the "church that Jesus built". He does not know which way to turn.

Jesus pictured the church as a "city set upon a hill". (Matt. 5:13, 14) The light of that city's influence should lead men and women to the Lamb of God. Yet the very members of that church are often the ones who exert such an influence that they defeat God's plan. Instead of the church being the militant, aggressive, evangelistic "light of the world", leading men out of darkness into light, it is often the church itself that walks in darkness.

It seems that the church of the Lord is lately beginning to recognize her responsibilities to carry the gospel to every creature. But even in this, there is evidence that she may be allowing herself to become unbalanced. We must be on our guard against "across the seas" fever, and be careful lest in our enthusiasm to reach people in distant lands we ignore the millions near at hand who have never heard the gospel. We need caution in this matter, lest we defeat the plans of God.

A School For Mankind

God purposed that the church should be the greatest school in all the world. It is to teach the truth of God's word to all. As Christians we may establish and operate secular schools where our young men and women may receive their education under the influence of Christian teachers. That is right and commendable. But let us remember this, such schools must never overshadow the church. It is the church which God intended to be the "pillar and ground of the truth"; it is the church, not secular schools, which God intended to provide education for Christian living and in principles of righteousness.

Sometimes brethren will give thousands of dollars to some secular school when they give only a few measly dollars to the church of the Lord. They say they are interested in "Christian education". But the Lord's plan for "Christian education" is the church. What about our Bible schools in our congregations? Are they being given the support and enthusiastic backing they ought to have? In some churches less than a third of the members are in attendance. They are clearly defeating God's purposes by such an attitude. The church is charged with the responsibility of "teaching"; no secular school can ever release her from the obligation.

God's Plan For The Home

The home was the first institution God ever ordained. He has set high ideals for all members of the family. Marriage is monogamous and not polygamous. Jesus said, "he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. So that they are no more two, but one flesh.' What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

God made but one Eve for Adam. Modern man, however, defeats God's purposes in that he marries often and carelessly. This has ruined the home life, destroyed the sanctity of marriage, and cast many helpless children upon society.

May God help us, as Christian men and women to carry out his plans. God is depending on the church, on Christians, to fulfill his plans and his purposes in the world. Let no Christian be guilty ever of "defeating God's purposes".


The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.

— Abraham Lincoln


Some brides solve the housing problem by going home to mother—and taking hubby along.

—E. H. Dreschnack