Man cannot choose God or Jesus. We cannot understand the grace of God unless the Father reveals it to us by His Spirit.
When Peter acknowledged that Jesus is the Son of God, it was not his own choice or natural decision. It was not his own brain/heart that believed in Jesus. It was God the Father who opened his heart to understand.
Matthew 16 “13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. 21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Peter confessed that Jesus is the Son of God.
It was not because of Peter’s own decision or his own mind.
It was God the Father who opened his heart to see the truth of Jesus.
But see how quickly Peter stumbled when he relied on his own will-power/ human mind / intellect / flesh. He didn’t want Jesus to go to the cross!
This is the human mind that is self-effort that wants to deny the grace of God in the cross of Jesus.
God has to open a person’s eyes to even believe in Jesus. But as soon as the person starts relying on his own mind, it cannot see the Grace of God !!
After a few days, we see how Peter once again cannot recognize Jesus in his own mind!
Matthew 17 “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.”
Peter was trying to put Jesus, Moses and Elijah all on the same platform.
He wanted to equate Jesus with the Law and Prophets.
He only thought of Jesus as a mere prophet like Elijah or Moses.
When Peter looked through the eyes of his own heart, he could not see the glory of Jesus!
The Father has to reveal to Peter that Jesus is the Righteousness of God above the Law and prophets. In Romans 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
After the Father revealed the Grace of Jesus, then Peter’s eyes were opened to see ONLY Jesus and there was no sign of Elijah or Moses!
Unless the Father regenerates our heart, we cannot see the Glory of the Grace in Jesus!
You see, unless the Father regenerates a person, they cannot even believe in Jesus.
God has to give grace and mercy on a person to even believe in Jesus to be saved.
This is why the believer is saved utterly and totally by irresistible grace.
Peter denied Christ three times, but the Lord Jesus showed Him GRACE to restore him back to the apostleship and be the chief apostle to the Jews.
Judas had also betrayed Jesus but God did not show grace to him.
Peter was chosen simply because of the GRACE of God, and not because of any merit in Peter.
It is the predestination of God’s grace – for He has mercy on whom He chooses so that He alone gets the glory of Grace!
God later on revealed to Peter in Acts 10 that even the Gentiles who never kept the law, were saved by grace! You see, it is the Father who reveals the grace to us! God the Father chooses us by grace.
Acts 15 “6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.””