Friday, September 12, 2014
Grace and testimony
"...Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they [Paul and Barnabas] remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who testified to the word of his [own] grace by granting signs and wonders to be done through them." Acts 14: 2-3 (NRSV) [parenthetical clarification is mine]
In the scripture passage above, Paul and Barnabas were in Iconium, a region, in Paul's day, which was known as Asia, and is now known as the city of Konya in Turkey. Paul and Barnabas were preaching in a Jewish synagogue, and both Jews and Greeks became believers. We must realize how huge of a miracle this was. Both Jews and Greeks (we can also substitute Gentiles or non-Jews for Greeks) became believers in Christ!
Now, as the scripture above states, Paul and Barnabas are telling Jews and everyone else about Jesus, and they all are becoming believers. However, there was also opposition to God's word, so Paul and Barnabas stayed and spoke boldly for the Lord. And right here is where grace steps in. The scripture says that God testified to the word of His own grace. God used Paul and Barnabas as a mouthpiece so that He could testify to grace. God testifying through humans! Imagine this!
As a way of illustrating this point, let us imagine that we are in a special service at church and listening to individual members of the congregation stand up and talk about the miracles that God has done in his or her life. However, as each member stands up to testify, the congregation hears a booming voice coming from the mouth of each testifier, a voice that proclaims that in spite of sin, God loves us so much that He forgives and forgets our sins and changes us into a person who is worthy of His love. This is truly what our testimony is--God speaking through our lives.