As believers in Christ, we are provided for by the Creator in myriad ways. Because He loves us God went to a lot of trouble to give us an experience while we live on earth, to live as a part of The Kingdom of God.
The provisions I speak of are those beyond the basics. Prior to the Fall of Man in the Garden, those provisions were all that was needed. Adam and Eve had relationship, companionship, and community with each other and God. However, after the decision to partake of the tree of knowledge, things changed. Communication with God became strained and hurled both them into a void they had never experienced.
Nakedness and the Curse
The consequences of their disobedience hit hard. Enter guilt, shame, and fear. The fall from grace began with the realization that they were naked and needed clothing. Following that awakening the Lord God lined out for them the consequences of their sin. The consequences were pretty devastating after living in Paradise for their entire existence:
- Increased pain in childbirth
- Struggle in relationships (the harmony of their existence was disrupted).
- The ground was cursed (oh the thorns and thistles).
- Toiling for sustenance
- Physical death
- And finally, banishment from Paradise.
By His Grace God implemented Plan “B” for forgiveness of sin. It required sacrifice and commitment to the laws of the land. The rules for sacrifice were laborious and exacting. However, only until the Savior, fully man and fully God arrived. He sent Jesus so that we would again have relationship, access, communication with God.
Believers and the Rest
Dallas Willard, in his book The Divine Conspiracy writes of the world that God created for believers as we walk this earth. He refers to Christians in this age as “the society of Jesus.” The assumption is that through this His plan for man, we would desire to live with and for Him. That we would seek Him and find Him and know Him and be known by Him. It is because of this assumption that Willard posits the following:
[God’s] promise to his people was that he would be with them every moment, until this particular “age” is over and the universe enters a new phase (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5-6). More generally, the provisions he made for his people during this period in which we now live are provisions made for those who are precisely, apprentices to him in kingdom living. Anyone who is not a continual student of Jesus, and who nevertheless reads the great promise of the Bible as if they were for him or her, is like someone trying to cash a check on another person’s account. At best, it succeeds only sporadically.
In other words, there are pirates among us. Non-believers who live on our turf, and partake as best they are able, try to tap into provision made for Kingdom Dwellers.
The Pirate’s Booty
The dictionary defines the word pirate as: A person who attacks or robs ships at sea.
I find it interesting to consider that on a daily basis Christians are being robbed of what God intended for our use. Are we being attacked in this age? Absolutely! We live in a world in which Satan walks about stirring up trouble. Selfish people manipulate and rob for their own gain. And as Dallas Willard points out in the above passage, the promises of God are for His people, and unbelievers are benefitting from what is ours.
Herein lies the rub. Pirates can’t rob what is willingly given. God is limitless and therefore there is enough grace to go around. Jesus laid down His life of “sinlessness” to become sin for us, insuring that NOBODY would be lost. Therefore, I would propose that God made provision for two reasons. First, we are supported by His provision as we partake in the calling to spread the gospel to all nations. Secondly, He never intended there be anyone left out but that all should come to Him. Therefore, His grace was extended once for all.
The Exploding Dye Pack
Please indulge me for just another paragraph, if you would. I know that some of my reasoning is a bit “out there”. I would suggest we have a secret weapon. As pirates are lured by what Kingdom Dwellers enjoy, we have opportunity to extend the booty to them. We lay down what God gave us through obedience to our calling. Sometimes we are blessed to see the fruit of our labor immediately. Sometimes we aren’t. Often we are seed planters or water-ers, and not present for the harvest. But I would suggest that with every encounter there is a “dye pack” that exposes the unbeliever to new truths about God. As a bank robber would be marked by a dye pack in his money bag, our pirates are marked. They will never be the same again. Each encounter leads them closer to the truth. There is no turning back the knowledge of truth (Isaiah 55:11).
 Willard, D., 1997, p. 273