9th June 2023
Read - Acts 2:22-24 & 4:27-28
Message Alan Burke
I want to take you back to one of the point that I drew out on Monday from this passage before us, how the Lord God is sovereign over all, he is in all that takes place at work, working out all things for his glory and the good of those who love him. In the midst of all that was taking place from the triumphal entry, right through to the crucifixion the Lord was sovereignty at work for there is nothing happening by chance or luck but that is all being worked out according to God’s eternal purposes. We might look out and think that it is just chaos out there but Scripture reminds us that it is not, we have a sovereign Lord who is in control of it all. Our Triune God is sovereign in all, he is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, he is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present and he is actively at work in all that was taking place and takes place that day and this day and every day for that matter.
Now here’s the thing, some would say when we have this kind of view of God’s sovereignty then what about human responsibility, after all God knows the beginning form the end, he is sovereignly in control over all things and working out his purposes, so then surely we are free from responsibility, it almost seems paradoxical to speak of Divine Sovereignty and human responsibility but both go hand in hand. Those two portions of the book of Acts help make this clear for us. In 2:23, it speaks of the evil deeds of those who killed the Lord Jesus our saviour. As it speaks of the reality of how those who were involved in one of the most horrifying, yet God-glorifying events in all of history were accountable for their actions, and we learn of that truth in verse 23, as we are told how these men, acted against God, they may have though that they were in some way upsetting or preventing the plan of God, but ultimately God was using their sinful choices their own rebellion against him for his purposes, it only too place because the Lord had allowed it to, it only took place because the Lord had planned it and it was according to the council of his will. God ordains the means as well as the ends of human events without violating human freedom and responsibility.
The Jews could not pass their guilt to the Romans; they had asked the Romans to crucify Jesus. Peter teaches that the Jews were accountable even though God had planned it it still did not absolve of responsibility those who contributed to his death, for Peter goes on to say, “you crucified and killed” him. Though one may not understand fully how God’s sovereign ordination of events can be compatible with human responsibility for evil, both are clearly affirmed here and in many other passages of Scripture.
Acts 4:27-28 is another example, verse 27 It speaks of how Herod, Pontius Pilate, Gentiles, the peoples of Israel were all responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus yet all of it as verse 28 makes clear was according to the plan of God, this is a clear affirmation that nothing, not even the wrongful death of God's Son, happens apart from God's sovereign will and control. The certainty of God's plan for the world is established by His sovereign "plan" and ensured by His almighty "hand." The early chapters of Acts teach the compatibility of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. While the murderers of Jesus acted in accord with what God had determined, they were morally responsible agents and were held accountable. It was the will of the LORD, according to His predetermined counsel and will to crush the Lord Jesus for us, and to appoint (not merely allow) the Gentiles and the Jews to gather together and humiliate Him for us, to spit upon Him for us, to mock Him for us, to torture Him for us, and to crucify Him for us. It means, all of it, everything that happened everything that does happen in this world is not a matter or mere chance or luck, nor is it a matter of blind fate – ‘what will be will be’. The living God is the God who governs and rules. He has a perfect plan, and he makes everything fit together to fulfil this plan.
Q68 What is required in the sixth commandment?
The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, (Eph. 5:28–29) and the life of others. (1 Kings 18:4)