“’But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’
Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah,
for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood,
but by my Father in heaven.’”
Matthew 16:15-17 (NIV)
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
“Dear friends, now we are children of God,
and what we will be has not yet been made known.
But we know that when Christ appears,
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2 (NIV)
When my children were preschoolers, I recall them bringing to me drawings they had made of something for my approval. My job was to try and figure out what it was they had drawn. To them it was obvious. But to me perhaps it was a cow, a horse, a dog, or even a cat. All I could determine was that it had four legs of varying lengths. As the child got more proficient at sketching the image improved in accuracy yet lacked exceptional accuracy.
When it comes to our new life in Christ, we must confess that it requires the Lord’s initiative entirely. Paul tells us that no one seeks the Lord (Romans 3:11), Paul also says that it is God Who quickens the spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5). So, when Peter made his glorious confession of his Master’s identity, Jesus told him that he did not determine that by himself. Rather it was the Father in heaven Who revealed that truth to Him.
This is a humbling thought as we owe our salvation to the Lord from beginning to end. Yet it is an exalting thought because we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). The Lord is truly at work in each one of us gradually reforming us to do good works! What an honour!
In order to keep Peter from regarding himself spiritually clever, Jesus explained to him that knowing the Master’s identity was something revealed by the Father. Peter did not come to this wonderful truth simply by himself. The Holy Spirit must be our teacher as well. In John 16:13 (NIV) we read
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes,
he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own;
he will speak only what he hears,
and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
As God created the universe in the first place so He is active restoring His people on a daily basis so that when they enter the Celestial City they will be perfected in the image of Christ. Read the following hymn written by A. Toplady. He uses strong language that is unfamiliar to many of us but rings true to biblical truth. Note how helpless the believer is and the prominence of God at work in every verse.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.