A friend recently said to me, “I don’t deserve the life I have. Years ago I was wandering from God out in the far country and He saved me; He gave me a wife that I don’t deserve, children that I don’t deserve, a biblically faithful church and is now giving me opportunities to be used in His church. People are always talking about miracles, but this is the real miracle–that God would save us, redeem our lives and use us in His Kingdom.” I couldn’t agree more.
After the Lord gave me a new heart and brought me to repentance, I remember reading Joel 2:25 against the background of Deuteronomy 28:38 and 42 and being humbled by the fact that this is exactly what God was doing for me. A life once wrecked by sin–a life destroyed by sin and its consequences–God had redeemed and was now making useful by grace. Not only was I forgiven in Christ–God’s blessing and righteousness was being restored in my life. I had become a spiritual Onesimus (Philemon 1:11), so to speak. If you had known me prior to my conversion you would say that this was a real miracle.
Regeneration is a miracle. The way in which God works in the lives of His people to transform them and to restore the years that the locust have eaten is a miracle. In fact, when the Apostles sought to explain what happens to God’s people when they are redeemed they could only do so by appealing to creation and resurrection. In 2 Corinthians 4:6, the Apostle Paul explained, “It is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In Ephesians 2:4-6, he wrote, “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eric Alexander has put it so well when he wrote:
The New Testament ransacks the universe for comparisons that will be adequate to describe what has happened to us when we became God’s children. And the only two possible comparisons are the creation of the universe at the beginning and the resurrection of Jesus on the third day. So Paul says the same God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness has shone in our hearts. And the same God who raised the Lord Jesus from the grave and broke its bondage over Him has raised us in Jesus into newness of life…I tell you it is something when a man can only find a parallel in creation to what has happened in his own soul. And this is the majesty of the Gospel of God.1
The continuation of the Christian life is also a miracle. When I was a very young believer, a friend said to me, “It’s a miracle that we desire to come together with the church to worship God each Sunday.” I thought about that statement for months. At first, I wasn’t sure that I agreed with it. However, as the years have progressed, as I have been the recipient of God’s supernatural power and grace to restore and preserve me and as I have now been in pastoral ministry for nearly a decade, I believe it to be absolutely true. The same God who commanded the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ to shine into the darkness of our hearts in conversion is the same God who continues to make the resurrection power of Jesus to work in our lives (Ephesians 1:18-20). This is the real miracle. May God continue to do this miracle in the lives of men and women in the church and in the world through the preaching of the Gospel.
1. An excerpt taken from Eric Alexander’s 1984 Urbana talk on Ephesians 1:1-14.