What If? Suppose... (Part 2)

"What if (suppose) a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
Acts 23.9

In Acts 23.1-9, we read the account of the apostle Paul before the council and the high priest, Ananias. When Paul states that he is called into question over the “hope and resurrection of the dead,” a great dissension arose between the Pharisees and Sadducees. In v. 9, we read, “Some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ part stood up, and strove, saying, ‘We find no evil in this man: and what if a spirit hath spoken to him, or an angel?’

The question was asked in an earlier article with this same title, “What if the basis of our belief is from God?” If this were true, then our convictions would be so strong that we would defend them with our lives (much as the apostles did). If our beliefs (i.e., convictions) are that God’s love, demonstrated by the giving of his only begotten Son, was necessary (John 3.16; Hebrews 9.22), and that God’s raising of Jesus was not only true, but also necessary (1 Corinthians 15.17), then our lives should not cause our professions to be mere empty words in regard to these two events.

Faith in the reality of Jesus’ resurrection calls upon the believer to accept the certainty of another related event: the Judgment. We can see this as we consider why the resurrection took place. If the shedding of Jesus’ blood atoned for our sins (Hebrews 9.22), why was it necessary that his soul not be left “in Hades” (Acts 2.27)? The Hebrew writer mentioned that Jesus “shall appear a second time” (Hebrews 9.28). He adds that to those who “wait for him,” this second appearing will be “unto salvation.” Luke and Paul also wrote of this second appearance of Jesus and of the need to “wait for” or “look for” it (cf. Acts 1.11; 1 Corinthians 1.7; Titus 2.13-14).

Notice the language of the apostle Peter on this: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is long-suffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3.9-13).

Peter here explains what “waiting for him” involves. For those who believe in the certainty of the Lord’s return, their lives reflect that they are living in holiness and godliness. They eagerly look for, and earnestly desire, the coming of that day, because for them, it will be a day of salvation.

What if (suppose) there is a Judgment Day, as God hath declared. What manner of person ought you to be? That was the point made in Acts 23.9 as well as in 2 Peter 3.11. If God has spoken about it, then the same condemnation that Paul spoke of in regard to his failure to preach the gospel applies to us: “Woe be unto us if we don’t…” (2 Corinthians 9.16).

Dear reader, what manner of person are you in view of your belief of the resurrection and of the Judgment? Your manner of living is the truest reflection of your attitude toward God’s love for you. Remember, you will never turn from a sin you don’t hate (James 1.14).