The Book of Acts: Chapter 23 (pt 12 of 13)

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In our last post we look at the events of Paul’s adventure through the eyes of the commander. So now, let’s look at the events Luke has recorded from a Christian’s point of view. In other words, view these events as Luke expects us to understand them (assuming that we are believers in the Lord Jesus). The Christian life was never intended to be easy, safe, and comfortable—a continuation of things as they were before our conversion. Jesus said Himself, “Hey, they hated me, they will certainly hate you!” As our Lord made clear to Paul, he was saved to be a witness to the good news of the gospel, and this involved suffering. This is not only true for Paul, it is true for all Christians. When Paul chose to visit Jerusalem, all along the way, he knew that trouble awaited him there. We should not be surprised that he was falsely accused; so was our Lord. We should not be surprised that the unbelieving Jews wanted to kill Paul. They did kill Jesus (with the help of the Gentiles), and they killed Stephen.

But what Luke expects us to see is that in spite of great opposition, opposition by those who are powerful and dedicated to their mission, God’s will was fulfilled in Paul’s life. It is not enough to say that God’s will accomplished his plans and that His promises were fulfilled in spite of great opposition and human failure. God’s will was accomplished as God used human failure to further His purposes. He didn”t say, “Oh my, what am I going to do?” No! He knew full well what was in the hearts of men, and he used those predilections to further His agenda! This is a beautiful example of the truth of Romans 8:28: “We know that all things came up, work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

As I think about this passage, one word in particular comes to mind—HOPE. This passage should give us great hope because it demonstrates God’s sovereignty in such a way that is very encouraging. God’s promises and purposes will be accomplished, in the midst of chaos, confusion, conflict, and human blundering. God finishes the work that He began (see Philippians 1:6).

My confidence does not rest on my perfection (thank the Lord), or even on my faithfulness. It is God’s faithfulness that gives me confidence, that assures me that God will accomplish everything He has purposed and promised. Why lose hope, why quit, when you know that God’s purposes cannot and will not fail?

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