by Mike Ratliff
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22 ESV)
It’s one thing to say one believes the gospel and is part of the Kingdom of God, be part of a local church, worship our Lord on His day, pray and serve Him when our lives have sense of normalcy about them. However, it is quite another thing to worship our Lord when the bottom falls out of our lives as Job did in Job 1:20-22 (above) after hearing of the death of his children and the loss of all of his wealth. Things have not changed in our time. God still allows our enemy to touch our lives to cause us pain in an attempt to cause us to curse God. However, this test is used by God to validate our faith. Genuine faith is not a product of man, but is of God.
My brethren, God is sovereign. He supernaturally intervenes. He is both immanent in the world and transcendent above it. This must be true because He created everything. Miracles are supernatural interventions by God into His creation and this includes salvation. Yes, salvation, the new birth, is a miracle. Why? Since Genesis 3 and the fall of Adam, all human beings have been corrupted in their human nature and all freely and willfully sin from the time of their birth. The whole human race died spiritually in Adam and inherit a total corruption of their human nature or being directly from Adam. Thus, only the supernatural rebirth or regeneration from above can bring individual people to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
This difference between the gospel and salvation by works is so great that only the God-man, Jesus Christ, could live a completely sinless life for us, die for us on the cross, and bear the divine wrath of God against us in our place. Even our sanctification is imperfect because the corruption of Adam remains in our human nature even after God has justified us by faith alone. The process of sanctification is as much a supernatural gift of God as is our regeneration. God regenerates us and then we believe (John 3:3-8; 3:16-18; 3:36; 5:24; 6:44; 6:65). Never forget my brethren, salvation is all of God and is His monergistic work in us and not something we cooperate with as if God does His part and then we do our part. God is not our co-pilot. God is our all, He is our King, He is our all! (Philippians 2:11-13)
There are some “preachers” in our time who lie and say things like, “God wants you to be full and rich and happy all the time!” Well, He does supernaturally provide for us through the secondary means of providence in this world. He gives us all that we have—including our jobs and our homes and our food on the table. For this we ought to give continual thanks. I had a meeting today in the last hour at work in which my new boss actually threatened all of us with some sort of retribution if we did not start providing him with the “accountability” documents he wanted to prove to him that we were doing our jobs. I have been working from home because of my seizure disorder and have lately been going in a couple of days a week. He is threatening to take away all of our flexible hours, et cetera. I told him, politely, that I and the other two DBAs did our jobs, proactively, that is, in such a way that we would minimize downtime, et cetera instead of just simply watching the systems run. He acted offended and asked if his attitude suggested that he did not believe that. Well, actually, that is exactly what his attitude reflected. So how do you answer a question like that? I told my wife later that it appeared to some of us that they might be trying to anger some of us so much that we will simply leave so they can relocate our data center from the KC area to Denver without having to pay severance pay. With that on my heart this evening, I said grace over our meal. It is at times like that that you see how silly it is to take for granted all that God has given us in this life.
When I finish this race, it will not be because I endured in my own abilities or strength, but because God Himself gave me all I needed to get there (2 Timothy 4:7). Our part in this pilgrimage is not cooperation, but of trusting God to do it all. God does not help those who help themselves. God gives us faith and everything else. Salvation is truly all of God and we contribute absolutely nothing no matter how holy we think we are. God could justly cut my life short but I trust in His promises for His eternal salvation through the covenant of grace established in Genesis 3:13 and Genesis 17:1-7.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:28-32 ESV)
Soli Deo Gloria!