God’s Role in Salvation

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6, ESV).

This verse is the climax of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

Ultimately, God is the one who does the saving. The messengers gave no thought to promoting themselves because of the overwhelming grandeur of the source from which their message came. God, who had once brought physical light out of darkness by His creative command, had Himself shone with spiritual enlightenment in the hearts of believers. At creation light resulted from a command of God. At regeneration God Himself shines as the illumination. This light from God is explained as the knowledge of God as revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. Sin hardens the heart, makes it unbelieving and insensitive to God, and is utilized by Satan to keep men in the spiritual darkness or unbelief. The great mission of Christ is His role as the image of God to reveal the Father’s glory to men when they have a spiritual encounter with His Son.

For Paul this transforming encounter had occurred on the Damascus road more than twenty years earlier. At that time he had been struck down with an overpowering light and had seen the glorious Lord who identified Himself as Jesus. Now others have the opportunity to be blinded by the incredible light that God has provided through salvation. Nothing that Paul or his associates could do can ultimately bring someone to faith. Only God does that. That is why God does not need our gimmicks or our underhanded, deceptive approaches to the ministry and the teaching of the gospel. He does not want us to water it down or make it more palatable. He simply wants us to preach the clear message of Christ and Him crucified. God will use that to bring people to faith. Salvation ultimately has nothing to do with us. God is the one who alone saves people. He simply uses us as the means to an end. Bill Bright once said rightly, “failing in witnessing is failing to witness.” It is not our responsibility to save people. That’s is God’s responsibility alone. We have simply been called to be faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to preach it and teach it clearly. God will use that to bring people to faith!

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