I worked in building construction as my career. Everyone who works in building construction knows that we have to get the concrete foundation, the structural embed hardware, and the framing layout correct in order for all of the future pieces to fit together.
If the concrete slab has a hump (is not perfectly flat), if a structural embed for a structural wood post is off by a few inches, or if a door or window rough opening is mistakenly framed the wrong size…this produces future corrections that surface later in the construction…that take time and cost money to repair.
Because humans are imperfect and lack foresight…the best way in building construction to approximate the beneficial features of foresight…is to record and document subtle building design and construction problems as they surface …compiling a generic checklist of photographic images, sketches, and explanatory text to use as proactive information in preventing future similar problems and mistakes from reoccurring.
One point I want to make in this section…is that even with a knowledge of the “law and the prophets” in Old Testament times…and even with a thorough knowledge of the New Testament today…the unfamiliarity of the pathway in a walk of faith with God…and the divine creative ingenuity in crafting life-scripts that take us from going our own way to God-sovereignty…without exception brings biblical faith (Heb. 11:1) into operation on our part.
Biblical journeys of faith universally have this as a built-in component.
What is uniquely original to Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity…in all of literature and in all of human experience…is that the tribulations, challenges, disappointments, and heart-breaks written into God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are deliberately designed by God to separate us from going our own way.
We see this repeatedly throughout the Bible…as people of faith reach the divinely premeditated point of exasperation in not being able to “see” just around the corner in time in their particular calling and mission…and must abandon self-reliance in whole or in part…and exercise instead the hope…spread out over time…of Hebrews 11:1 faith in a God whose pinpoint accuracy is based upon timeless foresight into the future…and perfect moral character.
There are no “one size fits all” 3-point or 5-point plans in the Bible that we follow using our own abilities…that can substitute for a personal walk with God.
Even though we have the brilliant and informative backstory of the Bible…with all of its precepts and life-examples…every Christian today is called to experience biblical faith…within a scenario that is crafted by God.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God that we get to know through study and through a personal relationship (Jn. 14:8-9).
What differentiates Judaism/Christianity from all other worldviews…is that unlike amassing a database of past mistakes to use for future proactive prevention in building construction…thus partially solving the human capability gap where timeless foresight does not exist…in God-composed journeys of faith…the missing ingredient of timeless foresight being identified as a fundamental deficiency in going our own way…is precisely the divine attribute that God uses to skillfully spread apart life-script events and circumstances to create the uniquely biblical faith of “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
A biblical example might be helpful here in understanding the wide gulf between the two tracks of biblical faith…contrasted with going our own way…and the real difficulty of changing from our thoughts to God’s higher thoughts having the benefit of timeless foresight.
In Matthew 11:9-11 and Luke 7:24-28…Jesus calls John the Baptist one of the greatest prophets who has ever lived.
John 1:29-37 records John the Baptist early on saying about Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29)…and that while baptizing Jesus…John saw the Spirit shaped like a dove…descending upon Jesus.
But this is at the very start of the public ministry of Jesus. John the Baptist has not at this point been able to view Jesus over a long period of time.
John the Baptist is no less than the very important person identified in scripture (Isa. 40:3-5)…called to be the forerunner to prepare the way ahead for the coming of the messiah to Israel.
Yet in prison, while contemplating the growing negative reception to the teaching and ministry of Jesus by the religious elites in Jerusalem…John the Baptist has trouble squaring this disappointing reality with what he knows with certainty early on about the divine identity of Jesus from their first meetings at the river Jordan.
The gap between the “going our own way” expectations and preconceptions on what the messiah would be like…normalized for hundreds of years in the Jewish culture…contrasts sharply with the life-script God has written for Jesus the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)…causing John to send two of his disciples to ask Him the question: “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Mt. 11:3).
If over the course of this short interval of time…from the opening expectations for the messiah…of a great prophet John the Baptist…to the realization of the entirely different higher ways and thoughts of God (Mt. 11:4-6)…if the gap is this wide…this tells us that God is making an important point about His capacity to rule and reign…having timeless foresight, perfect character, free-will choice, the knowledge of good and evil, and a brilliantly creative imagination.
If the leap from going our own way to biblical faith is this far…for John the Baptist…for Mary the mother of Jesus (Lk. 2:34-35)…and for all of the people of faith in the Bible operating without possessing timeless foresight in their adventures of faith…this puts into clearer context the key issues of human life having eternal import.
This tells us this biblical and spiritual reality is not going to be easy or simplistic.
Whenever the timeless nature of God is brought into the discussion…atheists and skeptics rightly bring up the objection that a timeless God is being unjust and unfair in condemning people for unbelief…when He knows in advance that some people will not exercise faith in God or in Christ…and knows in advance who these people are as a result of possessing divinely timeless foresight and foreknowledge.
This seems on the surface to be a formidable challenge…until we observe that the self-sovereignty track that leads to the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ extends backwards in time in a straight line to the decision of Adam and Eve to go their own way.
This produces the ripple-effect of faulty living running down through the course of human history…resulting in people so committed to the worldview of going our own way (Jn. 11:47-48)…so invested in self-sovereignty…they cannot make the conceptual leap across the gap to biblical faith…even though the outreach to them is simplified as much as possible (Jn. 10:38)
This is expressed succinctly in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
This is why Jesus responded to the inquiry of John the Baptist from prison: “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Mt. 11:6).
Biblical faith…invented by God when He invented time…allows God the opportunity to work out in our lives the real journey into the knowledge of good and evil…factoring in His timeless foresight and perfect character…two things that were missing in the impetuous and impatient decision by Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.
This is why the faith of Abraham is accounted to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3)…because he trusted God’s capacity to rule and reign…rather than the strong pull or worldly conventional normalcy and thinking to go our own way.
Hebrews 11:6 reads: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
One of the most brilliantly insightful statements in all of human history is expressed in Isaiah 53:6…which explains how and why Jesus ends up on the cross: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
If the misguided decision in first-century Jerusalem to crucify Jesus Christ is based upon this Isaiah 53:6 prophetic appraisal of the iniquity of going our own way…extending all the way back to the Garden of Eden…and Jesus on the cross is the extreme demonstration of the negative outcome of departing from God…being the zenith…the epitome of the mindset of going our own way…then how can anyone justifiably blame God if we stubbornly continue to push God away using the very same mindset of going our own way that eventually crucified Jesus?
These two things…going our own way and biblical faith coalesce at the same historical event of the cross at Calvary…preventing any excuse for unbelief.
People freely choosing to go their own way apart from God…automatically crucify Jesus Christ on a Roman cross of execution in the first-century…thus by their very choice condemning themselves…because God…using timeless foresight…has skillfully blended condemnation and salvation together…at the cross.
This is too brilliantly complex to be explainable as human literary invention.