The One Year\’ae Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 8
“Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:17-18).
From the beginning, God uses the evil that men do to accomplish the good that He loves. God doesn’t ordain or condone the evil that men do. Nor can the evil that men do prevent God from accomplishing His redemptive purposes. God’s foreknowledge leaves man’s willfulness intact, and He holds man responsible for his actions. He is such a great God that His will trumps man’s sin.
The Apostle Peter reveals this truth in his message to the temple-goers after the crippled beggar is healed:
“You delivered up . . .. “
“You denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.”
“You denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.”
“You killed the Prince of life” (Acts 3:13-15, emphasis added).
The word “You” demands accountability. People demanded Christ’s crucifixion. People nailed Christ to the cross. People spat upon Him. Those who crucified Jesus only did what every man would do. Their sin was responsible for Christ’s death.
The words, “whom God raised from the dead” (3:15) demonstrate God’s redemptive oversight in the affairs of man. God’s grace is magnified by His offering forgiveness and redemption to the very ones who betrayed Him, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence from the Lord” (Acts 3:19, emphasis added). Truly, that is “grace greater than all our sin”!
Man’s sin cannot divert God’s redemptive activity. That truth should warm the heart of every believer, should embolden his faith in the Living God. Tacking the words, “But God . . . ,” at the end of every betrayal, every disappointment, and every trial prevents the sinfulness of man from derailing one’s faith in the Living God.
Anything that man may do is only “the how,” or the vehicle of God’s redemptive and sanctifying purposes being fulfilled. “But God . . .” are always words of faith in the Living God.
That crisis, that disturbance, that “anything” is “the how” God works to form His Son in us. Instead of resenting or resisting that crisis, betrayal, etc., we must embrace the hidden will of God, which we only detect by faith in the character of God and His redemptive methodology.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Acts 3:1-5:42):
What changes will the healing of the crippled beggar require of him?
How does Peter use the Old Testament to confront the Jews with the Gospel?
God uses the opposition to Peter’s message to draw an ever bigger crowd. How have Jesus’ resurrection, the restoration of Peter after his denial, and the filling of the Holy Spirit altered Peter’s interaction with others?
What motivates Ananias and Sapphira to lie about the gift that they have given? How are they attempting to use the Gospel?
What drives the indignation of the high priests toward the disciples?