This is the question Paul set before the Corinthians. "For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" (I Cor. 4:7). The child of God does indeed differ from the unbeliever. Because he has been born again by the Spirit of God, he now has a different nature, a different Lord, different goals and objectives, and a different reason for living. He does differ!
The question Paul deals with is...WHO made the difference? Who gets the credit for this difference? Does the child of God have a greater intelligence or moral superiority over the unbeliever that causes them to differ? Absolutely not! When God passed through the land of Egypt to destroy the firstborn, He said in Exodus 11:7, "But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." If you are a child of God, the answer to the question is, the Lord made you to differ! The question that naturally arises is, HOW has He made us to differ? The answer to that question is found in Ephesians 1:3-14, where Paul outlines the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in salvation. Here we learn how God has made the believer to differ from the unbeliever. "Who maketh thee to differ from another?" First, God the Father did in eternal election. "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." If you are a child of God it is because God chose you. You will not give yourself the credit. Even though He could have justly passed you by, in His mercy He chose you out of the mass of fallen humanity to be His child. God the Father made you to differ in eternal election.
Who made you to differ? God the Son did in redemption. "In whom we have redemption through His blood " (Eph. 1:7). If you are a child of God it is because Christ died for you, Christ paid for your sins by His death on the cross, and if Christ paid for them, then that are paid! Everybody He died for must be saved! He said in John 6:39 "And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me, I should lose nothing." The difference between the saved and the lost is the blood!
Who made you to differ? God the Holy Spirit in regeneration. "Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise" (Eph. 1:13). Everybody that God elected and Christ died for will be regenerated, or born again by the Holy Spirit of God. The fact that one trusts Christ and another doesn't cannot be attributed to some moral excellence or will that the one has over the other. God the Holy Spirit made the difference. He gave the believer the ability to believe and repent. No true child of God will give his works or free-will the credit for making the difference between himself and the unbeliever! He knows God has made the difference!
The issue at stake in who makes the believer to differ from the unbeliever is this: WHO does the saving, God or man? WHO gets the glory: God or man? Without doubt the Bible teaches that it is God who makes the believer to differ from the unbeliever. Peter and Judas serve to illustrate this. Peter was saved and Judas was lost. Was Peter a better man than Judas? Was the difference what one did that the other did not do, or what Christ did for the one and not the other. If you say the difference lies in the men's works , you must conclude salvation is by works. In light of this, let me give you four question to thoughtfully consider.
1. If God loves all men the same ..... What does the love of God have to do with salvation? Nothing!
2. If God willed the salvation of all men the same.....What does the will of God have to do with salvation.....Nothing!
3. If Christ died for all men the same.....What does the death of Christ have to do with salvation? Nothing!
4. If God the Holy Spirit calls all men the same.....What does the work of the Holy Spirit have to do with salvation? Nothing!
If we do not give God all the credit in making us to differ, in reality we give Him no credit at all! Who Makes You To Differ? GOD!
By Todd Nibert