The Visible Aspects of Grace
When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad.
The context of the statement above is from Barnabas’ visit to Antioch. What did Barnabas see when he witnessed the grace of God?
He saw the effects of God’s grace. Persecution had scattered Christians from Jerusalem, some of whom had traveled to Antioch (Acts 11.19-20). They “spoke the word” and “preached the Lord Jesus” to both Jews and Gentiles. Verse 21 states, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” Verse 22 says, “The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.”
The rest of the story? In vv. 23-26 we read, “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians.”
What did Barnabas see when he witnessed the grace of God?
He saw the effects of gospel preaching. He saw men and women who believed and then turned to the Lord in obedience to the things preached. Salvation occurs as a result of both belief and turning. In Romans 6.17-18, the apostle Paul mentions a “form” or standard of teaching that is to be preached. It must be obeyed from the heart. Afterwards, a sinner is said to be “made free from sin.” In 2 Timothy 1.13, Paul told Timothy to hold the “pattern of sound words” as he preached.
Dear reader, in view of the apostle Paul’s reference to the gospel preaching being a standard, and in view of Timothy being told to hold to a pattern of sound words, consider these questions:
- What were you preached when you called upon the name of the Lord?
- Was it the “form of doctrine” in the book of Acts?
- Was it the gospel that the apostle Paul preached, or a perversion of the gospel he preached?
“But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so I now say again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”