Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Practical Implications of the Sovereignty of God - Part Twelve
Still another example of the biblical balance between our work and resting in God’s work is found in 2 Timothy 2:10 where Paul says that he “endures everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal joy.” Paul’s knowledge that God has a people whom he will surely bring to himself does not lead him to sit around doing nothing. Rather it moves Paul to action. He was willing to endure whatever God had determined would be his portion, in order that they may be saved.
In Romans 10:13-15 Paul carefully balances the need to believe the gospel with the need to send out preachers who will announce the good news. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but people cannot call on one they have not believed in. And they cannot believe in one of whom they have not heard. And they cannot hear without someone preaching to them. And they cannot preach unless they are sent. Thus, the same apostle who has so much to say about God’s gracious choice that results in our salvation, understands that God’s salvation does not come about in a vacuum of non-involvement on behalf of his people. We have a job to do. We are to pray and to give and to share what we have learned; and to go, if God calls us to go, to the land that he will show us.
So on the one hand, the sovereignty of God calls forth the greatest exertion on our part; it stirs us to action. But on the other hand, it allows us to rest in and wait for the Lord. We do what he calls us to, and we do it to the very best of our ability but we leave the results to him. We labor, but he gets all the glory because although we are not always aware of it, without him we can do nothing. God’s sovereignty is never an excuse for indolence. In every area of our lives we must continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in us to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13).
To be continued in my next post...