In this blog I will point to several references in Acts where the Apostles give God the credit for what is taking place in hearts who receive the gospel. Through a series of events in Peter’s ministry, he was led to proclaim the gospel to Gentiles and they “heard…believed…[and] the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on” them (10:44-45). As Peter recounts what happened to the church in Jerusalem, he said, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life” (11:18). It was God working in the Gentiles that brought about repentance, not Peter.
When the Jerusalem council took up the question of Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus Christ, it was God “who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.” (15:8–9). Only God can cleanse the heart by faith and give the Holy Spirit.
In the same way, when Paul and Timothy met Lydia, they recognized that “the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul” (16:15). No programs, methods, or gimmicks can accomplish the work of God. This forces us to depend on the Holy Spirit to work in those we present the gospel and God’s Word to. The more we realize this the more dependent we will become, and the more we will see God work as a witness to the power of the gospel.
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