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Today’s Scripture: Matthew 20:13
“Friend, I am doing you no wrong.”

The parable of the generous landowner in Matthew 20 is sandwiched between two almost identical statements from Jesus: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30). “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). How should we understand these words?

I believe Jesus is asserting the sovereign prerogative of God to dispense his favors as he pleases. I don’t think his words are meant to be taken in an absolute sense, as if this would always be the case; rather, there’s often no apparent correlation between what one seemingly deserves and what he or she receives. The whole point of the parable was to respond to the attitude Peter expressed to Jesus in Matthew 19:27: “see, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” R. C. H. Lenski summarized Peter’s assumption with this statement: “The more we do, the more we earn, and the more God owes us.”

If we’re to succeed in living by grace, we must come to terms with the fact that God is sovereign in dispensing his gracious favors, and he owes us no explanation when his actions don’t correspond with our system of merits. Indeed, as Paul said, “how unsearchable his decisions, and how mysterious his methods! For who has ever understood the thoughts of the Lord, or has ever been his advisor?” (Romans 11:33-34, WMS).

We’re left without any grounds for grumbling about the treatment we receive from God. At the same time, God reserves the right to treat each of us differently, bestowing blessings as he sovereignly chooses. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

Source: Your Holiness Day by Day | A Devotional by Jerry Bridges


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