Tomorrow in the morning service at PBF we are looking forward to a visit from a medical doctor and his family from Mozambique, and then in the evening service, hearing my brother Steve who is up in Canada for our annual Sovereign Grace Pastor's Conference this coming week. The visit of both men reminds me that God is working on many fronts at the same time. Sometimes we forget this. We can become so taken up with what is going on around us that we fail to keep in mind that God is not bound in any shape or form. Just because the work may be difficult or slow where we are, doesn't mean it has stalled elsewhere, or that the Lord will fail to do what he has planned when history has run its course.
Today, there are many who think that belief in the absolute sovereignty of God is inconsistent with human freedom and responsibility. When in fact, nothing could be further from the truth in terms of the Bible. While the biblical writers never explain the tension, they accept its reality and always treat God's sovereignty and human responsibility as being compatible with each other. There are two classic passages that illustrate this very important biblical tension. One is found in the Old Testament and the other in the New Testament.
The first passage is found at the end of the story of Joseph and his brothers who sold him into slavery. Later, after the death of their father Jacob, when they were concerned about Joseph extracting revenge, he put their hearts at ease by saying: "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:19-20).
The second passage is part of Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. Speaking about what happened to Jesus, Peter said: "This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (Acts 2:23-24).
In both passages, divine sovereignty and human freedom/responsibility are placed side by side. Human beings do what they want to do. God does not force them. And yet they do exactly what his plan decreed and his foreknowledge (because it is based on his plan) foresaw! We are left to marvel at God's greatness. He is so sovereign over the affairs of men that he works out everything after the council of his own will without in any way violating the freedom of human beings that he has made in his image! What a God! Absolutely awesome!
So God is at work in Ancaster, and in Louisville and in Mozambique! He is at work all over the world. He is drawing his people to himself. He is building the church and each day brings us closer to the time when he will send his Son from heaven and this age will give way to eternity. The great question is whether we are in step with the Lord. Have we known his grace? Do we belong to that chosen race, the new Israel, the redeemed of the Lord who will dwell in his glorious presence forever? There is no need to fret over the question. The Bible says that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21). Dear reader of this blog... make sure you know what it means to call on him for salvation and do not rest until you rest in him!