Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh!

Matthew 18:7 ASV

The divine plan calls for man to be tried, tested, and tempted. Satan and the forbidden tree were in Eden BEFORE sin entered.

God desires the love of his children; and true love requires that there be freedom of the will and opportunity to make a choice.

The opportunity for temptation does not reduce the guilt of sinners, nor does the necessity for temptation mitigate the guilt of those through whom temptation comes.

The expression “must needs be” speaks of a heavenly compulsion upon all things.

The great issues of time and eternity proceed from God, and no appeal (or escape) from his total authority is possible.

That heavenly compulsion was laid even upon Christ while he was in the form of man.

He MUST be about the Father’s business (Luke 2:49), MUST preach the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43), MUST put new wine in new flasks (Mark 2:22), MUST work the works of God (John 9:4), MUST suffer death (Mark 8:31), and MUST reign until all enemies are put under foot (1 Corinthians 15:25).

There MUST be heresies (1 Corinthians 11:19), MUST be wars (Mark 13:7), MUST be tribulations (Acts 14:21,22), MUST be offenses (above), MUST be separation from the visible presence of Christ (Acts 3:21), and Satan MUST be loosed for a little season (Revelation 20:3).

This sovereign MUST

overshadows the Bible.

The Scriptures MUST be fulfilled (Luke 22:37), and they MUST be preached (Mark 13:10). The apostles found this heavenly MUST written against them also (Acts 1:21,22); elders MUST be blameless (1 Timothy 3:8); preachers MUST forbear striving (2 Timothy 2:24-26); all worshipers MUST worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24); all who desire salvation MUST believe (Hebrews 11:6), MUST be saved in the name of Christ (Acts 4:12), MUST repent (Luke 13:3), and MUST be baptized (John 3:7). In death, there is an exception.

Not all MUST die (1 Corinthians 15:51), but all MUST put on immortality and all MUST stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

This is quite different from the old proverb about nothing’s being certain except death and taxes, death being one of the few things not certain!

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