The Man God Uses—Part 6: Born Again
Originally published in Issue 44 of Calvary Chapel Magazine
As we continue our series on “The Man God Uses,” we will see that God works through those who believe that salvation and eternal life only come through faith in Jesus Christ and who are led by the Holy Spirit.
You Must Be Born Again
The apostle Peter is a great example. We see him proclaiming boldly in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Christ is the only way to the Father. This was Peter’s knockout punch—his boldness, coupled with the power of his testimony, was unstoppable. Because of his teaching, nearly 5,000 people accepted Christ as Savior.
In the same way, God is looking for people today who are willing to boldly proclaim that Christ is the only way to salvation.
The Only Way
Knowing that His crucifixion was near, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39b). We read that He prayed this same prayer three times. In other words, He was asking, “If there is any way for mankind to be saved from their sins other than by My death on the cross, let it be.” The fact that Jesus did die on the cross substantiates the truth that there was no other way.
If we could be saved by living a good life, by keeping God’s law, or by any other means, then God allowed His only Son to die an excruciatingly painful and humiliating death in vain. The shed blood of Jesus Christ is indeed our only means of salvation.
The exclusive nature of the Gospel is offensive to people, even to the present day. First, it says that we are not acceptable to God as we are. Though God does want us to come to Him as we are, we must allow Him to transform us into Christ’s image.
Second, as Paul wrote, “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). This may seem narrow-minded and intolerant to those who are not born again.
In a culture where tolerance is valued above all else, Christianity is falling into disfavor with the intellectually and socially elite of the world. The church is being blamed for obstructing world unity. As religious leaders are working to form a single world religion, those who follow Christ must stand apart.
Jesus said clearly, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3b). He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6b).
A New Boldness
The man God uses must also be filled with the Holy Spirit. Looking again at Peter, we see that, on trial before the Sanhedrin—the religious experts of the day—he boldly proclaimed Christ as Messiah and used their own Scriptures. After they arrested Peter and John, they asked by what power they had healed a lame man.
In response, Acts 4:8a tells us, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit,” responded to them, pointing out that he and John were being “judged for a good deed” (verse 9) and not a crime. Further, he said “Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole” (verse 10).
Again, we see Peter’s boldness. He mentions Jesus by name—in Hebrew, it is Jehoshua, which means “Jehovah is Salvation.” In other words, Peter was declaring, “This miracle was not done by some other god; it was done by Jehovah in the flesh. The same power which raised Jesus—the Messiah of Israel—from the dead raised this lame man.”
Then Peter went on to indict the Sanhedrin with a prophetic passage from Psalm 118:22, “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone’” (Acts 4:11).
What made the difference between the old Peter who had denied Christ before a servant girl (Luke 22) and this new, bold Peter who spoke with authority before religious leaders at great risk?
Read again Acts 4:8a, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.” Those words “filled with the Holy Spirit” tell us the difference. Peter had been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was literally a different person.
When the Pharisees and the Sadducees had attempted to trap Jesus, He exposed their foolish hearts and sent them cowering back to their lair. Peter and John, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, had that same authority. In Acts 4, the Sadducees knew that they were outmatched. All they could do was “marvel” (verse 13), offer idle threats, and release Peter and John.
God is still looking for believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit, whose lives have been transformed as they allow the Lord to mold them into the image of Christ. These are the people God uses.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.
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