Acts 10.12-6 – The hidden things of God
Posted: 6 April 2011 in Acts

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

The above passage seems to be an example of God’s mysterious sovereign grace. Why should this one Gentile be the especial recipient of God’s favour, rather than another? The examples of one person being chosen, and not some other, could be endlessly multiplied of course, and the Bible never offers an answer to this question.

The further thought occurred to me that, if the Bible doesn’t answer this question, then perhaps we shouldn’t be asking it in the first place. As a well known verse from Deuteronomy has it:

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deut 29.29)

In the physical sciences an attempt can be made to answer questions through a process of observation and inference, but in religion we are restricted to what God has seen fit to reveal to us. Speculation can be pointless at best, and, if we imagine that we should be able to resolve all questions, a short road to atheism at worst. So maybe we should study with our whole being to appropriate a knowledge of those things which have been revealed, but at the same time refrain from speculating about the hidden things of God, knowledge of which he has reserved to himself.

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