Simon Peter, Saved by Grace (Part 8)

It’s no secret that many today try to change the Bible’s meaning to suit their “religious or social or greed” agenda. Perhaps the greatest problem of all is the “ignorant vulnerability” of many who listen. By the term “ignorant vulnerability” I am not being harsh or unkind. Many wealthy, educated and sensible people might be vulnerable due to various needs such as bereavement, employment loss, financial despair, illness, relational failure and literally the list is almost endless. Many of such people might be untaught as to the Bible (ignorant of what the Bible teaches) and this ignorance leads to what I call “ignorant vulnerability. In their desperation they become gullible to listen to and virtually believe what they hear. They need help urgently and tend to be open to the first “promise” they receive from a Church or Pastor. This is where their eventual deception to Biblical Truth starts leading to being indoctrinated by false (un-Biblical Teaching).

Although the text I am about to raise deals with salvation, I would like to draw out a principle that Bible believers need to be aware of. So we continue from yesterday …

2) No one may change God’s decree as to whom shall be saved.

Ac 11:17 “So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”

Look at the main point of this verse … “So if God” and “who was I to think that I could oppose?” Keep this in mind as we consider four issues …

[a] God Gave. Here we are dealing with what God has given not what man has copied in a counterfeit manner. The center of all Christian Belief, Doctrine, Theology and Practice must arise from what God has given. In those days what God gave was spiritual and conveyed verbally. Today the same thing God has given remains spiritual, is contained in the Bible and conveyed mainly through preaching and reading.

[b] Same Gift. What has God given? The same gift God had given to Peter and those in Jerusalem. It is the gift of Eternal Life. There are many ways of expressing this … such as “salvation, redemption, born again, new life, etc.” There is another aspect to what God gave! I need to repeat over and over again that God is the giver of Salvation. Too often those of the Arminian Group pump the un-Biblical teaching that man choses to be saved and at a later stage may reject salvation and become lost again. Yet, God alone gives new life and once He gives it He will never withdraw it. There are at least two fundamental reasons for this.

[1] Before creation God chose whom He would save.

Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Not only does God remain true to His Word, His choice is for a specific reason.

Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.

See that? Those He chose would conform to the likeness of the Lord Jesus … this starts on earth and is fully completed once you are in glory.

[2] Once the Holy Spirit births souls into God’s Eternal Kingdom they are spiritually alive forever as God’s adopted children. Illustrations have limitations like the one I’m using …

Jn 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Like a loving parent will not kill the baby she births into this world, so our Heavenly Parent will not kill us spiritually once He has birthed us into His Eternal Family.

[c] Faith in Jesus. The gift that God gives is dependent upon faith! “Who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Often the words “faith, believe and belief” become confusing when it comes to religion, especially Christianity. When going to bed last night I thought after checking the weather … “I believe it will not rain tomorrow as I want to do some laundry.” I woke this morning, went outside and thought … “What a lovely day for laundry”. I followed the weather app through faith … yet we know how often the weather app is wrong! Then, in religion, many have faith in what their religion has to say. They believe that in an academically way. The difference with Christianity is that one hears what the Gospel (core of Christianity) teaches and believes it in the head (academically) and heart (emotionally). In other words the head deals with understanding, sensibility and believability … where the heart desires, feels, loves and surrenders. Based upon the head understanding the message and the heart responding to the message, an intimate, personal relationship based upon a person starts, because you cannot separate His Word from His Person. When you look at … “who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ,” the personal relationship arises from who the Person, the Lord Jesus Christ is and what He did. Jesus Christ is Almighty God. Although man sinned (Genesis 3), God’s election before creation (Ephesian 1) needed to be realized and the only way it could was through God coming to planet earth as man. To do this He used a virgin who in some miraculous way becomes pregnant through the agency of God the Holy Spirit. In this way the one born was sinless as there was no human father to transfer the sinful disposition inherited from Adam. The one born was Godman … His name is Jesus, the one promised throughout the Old Testament, called Messiah. He taught repentance and Kingdom. He demonstrated what Kingdom is all about. He opposed the wayward Jewish interpretation of Scripture. He became the promised Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (believing world). The way He did this was to sacrifice Himself at Calvary on the Cross. He suffered and died substitutionally for all those He elected for salvation before the creation of the world. But it does not end there … Faith in Jesus as the Person includes faith that He died personally to cleanse from past, present and future sin and guilt and a real transfer from the devil’s kingdom of darkness to God’s Kingdom of Light with the assurance of heaven!

[d] No opposition to God. Peter’s acceptance of Gentiles into the Kingdom is seen in … “who was I to think that I could oppose God?” Use the Bible correctly so that you will be not guilty of ignorant vulnerability.

Lord, help me to be true to Your Word. Amen.