Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): We may observe much of the wisdom of God in disposing the circumstances in which His people are placed previous to their conversion. They only begin to know Him when he is pleased to reveal himself to them by His grace, but He knew them long before. He determines the hour of their birth, their situation in life, and their earliest connections; He watches over their childhood and youth, and preservest them from innumerable evils and dangers into which their follies, while in a state of ignorance and sin, might plunge them.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): In the preservation of the infant Moses (Exodus 20, we may see a blessed illustration of how God preserves His elect through infancy and childhood, and from all that threatens their existence prior to the time when He regenerates them. This is expressed in Jude 1: “preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” How blessed is it for the Christian to look back behind the time when God called him out of darkness into His marvellous light, and discern His guarding hand upon him when he was dead in trespasses and sins. There are few if any of the Lord’s people who cannot recall more than one incident in early life when there was “but a step” betwixt them and death; yet even then, as in the case of the infant Moses, a kind Providence was watching over them.
JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): It well deserves our observation, that God in His wise and holy providence, remarkably overrules the outward affairs of those whom He designs to call and convert, in a manner conducive to that end. Their inclinations and schemes, or the disappointment of them; the places of their abode; their relations, societies, and connections in life, shall all subserve this great design.
JOHN NEWTON: And He permits their inclinations to take such a course, that, when He is pleased to call them to the knowledge of His truth, many consequences of their past conduct, and the reflections they make upon them, may concur in a subserviency to fit them for the services into which he designs to lead them afterwards. Thus He leads the blind by a way that they knew not; and often, for the manifestation of His wisdom, power, and grace, in bringing good out of evil, He, for a season, gives them up so far to the effects of their own depravity, that, in the judgment of men, none seem more unlikely to be the subjects of His grace, than some of those whom He has purposed not only to save from ruin, but to make instrumental to the salvation of others.
I doubt not but some of my readers, who are acquainted with their own hearts, will easily apply this observation to themselves; but there are instances in which the contrast is so striking and strong, that it will be made for them by those who know them. It is, however, peculiarly exemplified in the case of Paul. He was set apart from the womb―as he himself tells us, Galatians 1:13-16―to be a chosen instrument of preaching among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. The frame of his heart, the manner of his life, the profession he made, and the services in which he was engaged before his conversion, were evidently suited to render him an unsuspected as well as a zealous witness to the truth and power of the Gospel after he had embraced it.
OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): Probably, in no part of God’s dealings with His people is the perfection of His work more apparent—His wisdom, love, and power more clearly seen—than in fitting them for exact niche in life He had pre-ordained them to fill. And it is no slight mercy for the Christian to have a clear, unmistakable perception of the Lord’s mind concerning this matter; and then, be his mission lowly or exalted, his post of duty one of honour or humiliation to have grace vouchsafed cheerfully acquiesce, and promptly to obey. Thus, often do the most signal events of our history—those upon which all the future turns as on a pivot—transpire as in a moment, and by a power manifestly beyond ourselves. This were a phenomenon utterly inexplicable, but for the doctrine of a particular Providence, guiding and shaping the minutest as well as the most important events of our life.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): This that we have said is but part of His ways, a small part. What we know of God is nothing in comparison with what is in God, and what God is. After all the discoveries which God has made to us, and all the enquires we have made after God, still we are much in the dark concerning Him, and must conclude, Lo, these are but parts of his ways, Job 26:14.