Barnabas and Saul to Antioch (Acts 11:21-30)
Scripture: Acts 11:21-30
In these last two verses in the berakah section, Paul assured the Ephesians that those who truly “heard” with saving faith are sealed by God and assured of future glory. We begin these verses by distinguishing between the external and internal call of the gospel. There are numerous passages that show that many people hear the gospel but only some hear, are convicted of its truth, and believe. These are the ones who have salvation which means rescued from God’s wrath against sin and have the gift of eternal life. God makes dead sinners alive through the truth, which is the “gospel of your salvation” as Paul says. The next issue Paul addresses is being “sealed” with the promised Holy Spirit. Sealed means that we are safe, protected by God, and truly His. We argue that this cannot and does not mean water baptism. This sealing is a work of the Spirit who was promised In Ezekiel 36:26, 27. Another important truth is that the Holy Spirit is the pledge, or guarantee of a future participation in the full inheritance. The Holy Spirit is the power of the age to come already at work in the lives of all believers. We are a people for God’s own possession and again this is to “the praise of His glory” as Paul emphasizes. To show how this worked out in Acts we have an extended application that covers the conversion of Samaritans in Acts 8. Simon the magician seemed to believe and was even baptized. But it turned out that he was not really converted and was anathematized by Luther. So clearly being “baptized” is not sealing. Simon seemed to believe but in reality was more interested in power and money than serving Christ. It is those who truly welcome the truth as the very word of God who are changed by God’s grace.
Class slides and handout available at the Downloads