Tuesday, July 2, 2013

God's Providence and Redemptive Purpose

Acts 28:28 "Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

How the Book of Acts illustrates God's providence and redemptive purposes
The Book of Acts is a very important part of God's divinely inspired library - the Bible.  First of all it is the companion sequel to Luke's Gospel.  Luke wrote both Luke and Acts to detail the life, death burial and resurrection of Christ and the events that would proceed from all He accomplished.  Secondly, the Book of Acts provides the background to all the New Testament letters.  Roughly speaking, Acts 1-12 details the ministries of Peter, John and Jesus' half brother James, providing background material for the New Testament's first epistle - James.  Acts 13-15 records Paul's first missionary journey, the background for the Book of Galatians.  In Acts 16-18 we see Paul's 2nd and 3rd missionary journeys, wherein he wrote his letters of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians and Romans.  Then in Acts 19-28 we see Paul's trials and imprisonments, which would provide the context for his writing Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and the books of 1 Timothy and Titus.  Acts covers the period from shortly after Jesus' ascension in 33 A.D up until around 62 A.D.  From 62 A.D-75 A.D we would see Peter writing his letters, quite possibly Paul composing Hebrews and definitely writing his final letter 2 Timothy, as well as the letter of Jude.  

How God's Providence and Redemptive Purpose affects you and me
It must be remembered that the Bible is not just about the salvation of God's people, but the historical/redemptive unfolding of salvation, leading to the Bible's grand purpose - God's glory.  In Psalms 56-58 we see the celebration of God Providence - namely the manner in which he exercises His Sovereignty (right to reign) by actually ruling through man's activities and choices the events of history (providence). The word "Providence" is composed of two words that you may recognize: "Pro" meaning before and "video" meaning "to see".  Thus God's Providence is His ability to see things in His mind before they happen and to "provide" the means and grace necessary to accomplish the ends of His will. History is truly His-story.  

The Psalmist's confidence of what God is going to do is based upon His faithfulness to His people in times past.  One preacher I know of has observed that looking back through the times of His life enables him to see God's Providential fingerprints in those events.  Truly hindsight is 20/20.   May we remember that in our daily lives, Providence, not chance, governs and directs the course of events.  Though people may and can make legitimate decisions, nevertheless all things work together for the good, to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)