Daily Bible Reading – August 04, 2023

(I have not posted for a couple of weeks as I was waiting for our Sunday lessons to catch up. We have now arrived at Acts 22).

We have seen Paul as a person on mission, and now we have the privilege of hearing him recount his testimony. He was falsely accused and arrested, and his life was in danger. But he did not back away from an opportunity to share how God had rescued him and given him salvation. After receiving permission from the Roman commander to speak, he addressed the crowd in Aramaic.

As we analyze his testimony, we see that he was relating to a headstrong, judgmental, Jewish crowd. He, like them, was proud of his Jewish heritage, and his Jewish education. He was full of zeal for his God, even as he persecuted the people of the Way, those who followed Christ. He was addressing people who thought they were doing God a favor in their efforts to kill Paul. He understood them; he had done the same thing.

Until that day on the Damascus road! A day that was probably sunny (it was noontime), but a light from heaven burst on him that I imagine made the sun pale. This is so appropriate; Paul would later write: “I give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:12-14). Our salvation experience may not equal Paul’s in drama, but we too have become “saints in Light!” We note also what Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (5:8).

In that experience of salvation, as in all experiences of grace, Paul came face to face with his Lord. We call this conviction, when the Holy Spirit leads us to ask our equivalent of “Who are You, Lord? What shall I do, Lord?” In this cry of the soul, we are led to that moment when we “receive our sight,” and we hear those words: “God has appointed you to know His will” (Ac. 22:14). For herein is the truth: to be saved is to be called, and to be called is to be sent! (Refer to Romans 10:14-15). There is so much grace to be seen in Paul’s testimony! For example, when Paul confessed: “I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving” (Ac. 22:19-20), what did the Lord reply to him? “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles’” (Ac. 22:21). In the face of such grievous wrongdoing, God would only reply: “Go! I am sending you!” In this trinity of grace, we discover they are all the same: What grace to be saved! What grace to be called! What grace to be sent!

-Al Gary





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