There is so much going on in chapter 9 it is crazy! So many miraculous events. Which one do you pick? Saul’s conversion?, the paralysed man healed?, the lady raised back to life?
Well none of them because the verse I want to look at is verse 31. It is just thrown in there and you can easily miss its significance in the mist of all the amazing miracles and stuff going on around it.
It says that the churches (the believers) “walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and they were multiplied”.
I thought to myself why is that there? Is there something in that statement that we need to understand as a church today? The answer is yes, because I feel in the western church especially, we have lost what the fear of the Lord is and we can abuse the grace of God and his forgiveness as free pass to sin. And this is tragic because we see the fear of the Lord throughout the entire bible and a call to repentance and obedience. Now it doesn’t mean we need to be scared of God, but it means we need to have a reverence and awe of God and his holiness and know he is far beyond our comprehension and we are simply a creation of his, and a broken and disobedient one at that! This makes the fact that he died for us all the more astonishing and the early church had a good understanding of the fear of the Lord.
We can’t stay there though because if we just ponder his holiness and our brokenness we will feel unworthy of his love. That’s where the second part of the verse comes in and says “and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”. They also understood and had comfort in the fact that God loved them so much and wants to restore us to right relationship with him through Jesus death on the cross. They understood their new position now as sons and daughters through Christ.
The Gospel gives us access to forgiveness because Gods wrath and holy judgement was poured out on Jesus on the cross. And gives us access to the Holy Spirit to comfort and empower us for our good and his glory. We don’t use grace as a free pass to sin but the power to turn from sin. We need an equal understanding of the Holiness and the just judgement of God but also the love and grace of God through Christ and then we will multiply, because we will know him fully and we will desperately want others to know him fully too.
How do we know him fully?
Through daily reading the word, prayer, worship and community.
God help me understand how holy, righteous and just you are
But also help me understand the depths of your love and grace for me
Lord you are awesome in majesty and might and power and are the just judge of all creation, worthy of all praise and glory
Lord thank you for your loving mercy and grace you have given us
You’re an all-consuming fire that no one can stand against but also all-consuming love that has been manifest in Jesus Christ for me