Tuesday, March 1, 2011

God's Work in our Salvation

Normally I read through the whole bible yearly and last year I read through the New Testament five times but this year I am saturating myself in one book of the bible at a time until I have a grasp of that book.  Depending on the size of the book, I expect to spend one to four months reading through each book of the bible.  I started in Matthew and have read it through several times since I started February first (I was one month behind reading through the New Testament five times last year).  Today as I read through chapter thirteen I was struck again with how sovereign God is in my salvation.  For instance, Matthew tells us that Jesus said to his disciples, "to you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given (11).  Spiritual knowledge of the kingdom is a gift God gives only to those whom he chooses to give such knowledge.  I saw this stated similarly in chapter sixteen, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven (17). 
Peter is blessed because God the Father has revealed this truth to him not because he is morally, spiritually, or intellectually superior.  The key of this knowledge (see Luke 11:52) is God revealing his son through the proclamation of Christ.  This key to the kingdom that comes through the proclamation of the gospel both draws and includes men as well as hardens and excludes men (see Mat 13:10-17).  We see this inclusion in Acts 2:14-39; 3:11-26 and this exclusion in Acts 4:11-12; 8:20-23 so that by this means the Lord added to his church those being saved.  What God has done in heaven is played out in the preaching of the gospel - inclusion and exclusion based upon Gods work in the heart of man! 

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