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Wickedness Used By God

Acts 4:27-28
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. (NIVUK)

After Peter and John had been released from the religious court, the church remembered the words of Psalm 2:1-2, "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed." (Acts 4:25-26). The Psalm goes on to say that human defiance against God is futile, as the apostles had proved; God always has the last word.

But it is a good question: why did apparently respectable people decide to eliminate Jesus from their lives? One answer lies in the arrogant, proud rebellion of sinful human nature. But the other answer is surprising. When the puppet king, Herod, and the infamously cruel Roman governor, Pilate, met with Jewish and Gentile people they all agreed that Jesus should die. Yet it was what God had always intended should happen (Acts 2:23-24). It was God's plan to bring salvation within reach of rebellious humanity by His Son dying as a punishment for all the sins of everybody in the world for all time (John 3:16).

Although it was their choice to kill Jesus, and they are all accountable to Father God for their cruelty to His Son, it was also God's choice for Jesus to die: and it was Jesus' choice too. Even though it was unspeakably evil, Christ's crucifixion was fully God's intention. Through His powerful timing, Jesus died at the Jewish Passover as the Lamb of God being sacrificed for the sins of the world (1 John 4:10).

Our minds are not big enough to reconcile how God can use evil to achieve His purposes; or how the wrong decisions of Christ-haters can achieve eternal salvation for those who repent. It is sufficient to know that it is true. It also helps us to deal with evil which comes close to us. In all things God is at work to promote His own glory, to build His church and to delight His people. To do that He transforms what has been spoiled into triumphs of grace. He turns disaster into deliverance and sinners into saints. Be encouraged if you are facing evil opposition: it is all part of God's redemptive plan. He has the last word. Trust Him (1 Peter 4:19).

Prayer 
Father God. Thank You that all things are under Your command. Forgive me when I despair in the face of evil and opposition. Help me to trust that You are doing a greater thing for Your glory and for the good of those who love You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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