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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: How Does God's Providence Work with People Who Are about to Sin?

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Don Stewart

The providence of God means that God is in control of all things. As the One who is in control He provides for people in all circumstances. This includes people who are about to commit sin. The Scripture lists a number of ways in which God deals with people who are about to sin.

He Keeps Some From Sinning

Sometimes the Lord intervenes to keep the person from sinning.

Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her" (Genesis 20:6).

We also read.

God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, "Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad" (Genesis 31:24).

The psalmist acknowledged God's ability to do this.

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression (Psalm 19:13).

The Lord has intervened to keep Israel from sin.

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way (Hosea 2:6).

He Allows Others To Sin

Other times God does not intervene and allows the person to sin.

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart (2 Chronicles 32:31).

God Overrules With Good

There are times when God overrules the evil with good.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20).

God Determines The Boundaries And Effects Of Sin

In other cases God determines the boundaries and the effects that the sin will cause.

Then the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord (Job 1:12).

The psalmist wrote.

Had it not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger was kindled against us (Psalm 124:2,3).


The Bible has much to say about God's providence when people are about to sin. Sometimes God keep them from sinning. At times God allows them to sin. God has overruled sin for the good. God also determines the boundaries and effects that the sin will cause.

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