Rejecting God’s Grace Thrice

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Acts 13:46-48 KJV).

After refusing Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, now unbelieving Israel snubs the Apostle Paul!

Saul of Tarsus, leading Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, encouraged the stoning of God’s Spirit-filled prophet Stephen (chapter 7). In chapter 9, rather than pouring out His wrath, the Lord Jesus returns in mercy and grace to save wretched Saul. Formerly on his way to kill more Messianic Jews, Saul is now commissioned by the Lord Jesus to go to all the world with a new message—the Gospel of the Grace of God. As Saul (Paul) travels, he is to inform Israel of her fall and temporary setting aside. The God of Israel is now working amongst the Gentiles through him and without her (see Romans 11:11-14).

Today’s Scripture is from Paul and Barnabas’ first apostolic journey. In Asia Minor (Turkey), God reminds unbelieving Jews they are still rejecting His Word. Years later, on the second apostolic journey, the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul at Corinth (Greece) were: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).

More years pass. With Paul’s fourth apostolic journey ended, God declares to unbelieving Israel one final time (Rome): “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28). The Book of Acts is not a doctrinal book for us, but rather an unmistakable record of God being just in temporarily leaving Israel and going to us Gentiles.