Faithful men of God suffer much for the sake of God’s elect people, so that they may attain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:10). When a man of God is called to minister God’s Word to people, his ministry shows no partiality in the presentation of the Gospel. Saints and sinners alike hear the voice of Christ through the preaching of God’s Word. The result is that some believe, and some do not believe. The latter are hardened in their hearts.
Ministers of the Gospel are mere instruments in the working of God’s will, to gather in the elect to His church. It is not necessary to judge the results of one man of God versus another because it is the Holy Spirit who works salvation in the heart of God’s chosen people. He does as He pleases with whom He pleases. After all, He is Lord of all.
When Paul, the apostle, opened his letter to Titus, he claimed that his calling to the stewardship of the mysteries of the Gospel was for the faith of the elect (Titus 1:1c). This is the effect every minister should earnestly desire.
Faith is a product of God’s grace toward His chosen people. He causes His beloved to trust in Him, by His will. God’s Word goes forth with power and a demonstration of the Spirit. It is the Spirit who gives life, spiritual life, to the yet unregenerate elect. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).
A man has faith in Christ because he has the Spirit of the Son of God permanently indwelling him. The man who does not have faith in Christ does not have the Spirit of the Son of God (Rom 8:9; 1 Jn 5:12). The Spirit of Christ is never subject to the will nor whims of sinful men. A man’s choice or decision to follow Jesus has zero impact on God’s choice before the foundation of the world. The Spirit enters the heart of whomever He chooses by His free grace.
Faith is a grace of God to be celebrated with great joy by the believer. The saint is a recipient of a gracious gift, and this gift is manifested by the witness of the Christian. Those in Christ love Christ, and they wish for His name and His fame to be made known to all people.
Resistance to the faithful and true witness of Christ is common. Natural sinful men do not have the Spirit, nor do they have faith. It is impossible for them to generate faith in Christ on their own. Neither their will, nor ability, is conducive to faith. They must be elect, and they must be born again, born of the Spirit, born of God (Jn 3). Men follow Paul, from being persecutors of the church, to being persecuted for their faith.
Faith is wrongly preached by unbelievers as a leap of faith. They deceive because they do not believe, and they do not believe because they cannot hear the Words of Christ. They cannot hear because the Word has not effectually spoken life into them.
The apostle Paul labored to preach Christ, and he suffered. We join in the sufferings of Christ so that others might hear, and in hearing, they may receive grace unto salvation. This is all a work of God, but what privilege exists when God calls them to proclaim the excellencies of Him, who is leading His people into His marvelous light of truth.
Christian, rejoice in your God-granted faith, and for the privilege of suffering in many ways, so that the lost sheep of Christ may be found. Your ministry in the Spirit is the precursor to the ministry of the Spirit, baptizing the chosen of God, who receive faith as a gift given by God, in love for His chosen family.
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 13, 2021