Saturday, 14 January 2023
“And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:
‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’” Acts 13:34
In the previous verse, Paul cited the second psalm concerning God’s declaration that the Messiah is the begotten Son of God. With that remembered, he now continues with, “And that He raised Him from the dead.”
The words introduce another proof that Scripture anticipated and foretold the resurrection of the Messiah. In this, one must remember that to be resurrected, a person must first have been dead. Considering that, there must have been a reason for Christ’s death.
Paul has already said that the people and the rulers rejected Jesus and that they asked Pilate to put Him to death. He will later note that Christ died for forgiveness of sins. Thus, there are both the deeds of man as well as the foreknowledge and providence of God tied up in the crucifixion of Jesus. Concerning the resurrection from the dead, Paul continues by saying, “no more to return to corruption.”
In these words, Paul uses the same term that was introduced by Peter in Acts 2:27, diaphthora. It was seen again in Acts 2:31. Now it will only be seen four more times, all in Acts 13. It signifies thorough corruption and decay. Paul says that because Jesus has resurrected, He will never again see the prospect of this type of corruption. But more, Albert Barnes correctly states the matter, saying –
“...the body of Christ never in this sense saw corruption. The word is therefore used to denote ‘death, or the grave, the cause and place of corruption.’ The word is thus used in the Septuagint. It means here simply that he should not die again.”
Hence, the point of Paul’s words is to say that Christ went to the place of corruption, even though He did not corrupt while there. And, further, he will never go to that place of corruption again. The victory over the grave is total. Next, Paul says, “He has spoken thus.”
Paul will cite Isaiah 55:3, and yet he says “He has spoken” while referring to God. Thus, it is a proclamation concerning the divine inspiration of the writings of the prophet. God was speaking through Him concerning the coming Christ, saying, “I will give you the sure mercies of David.”
This is an almost exact citation from the Greek translation of Isaiah, and it more literally says, “I will give to you the holy of David, the sure.” The meaning must be inferred. Thus “the holy [blessings] of David, the sure [blessings].”
Those things that were promised to David speak of eternal kingship and rule. For example, the Lord said to David directly –
“And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16
The psalmist likewise repeated this sentiment, and it is what Isaiah was referring to –
“I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:
4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah.” Psalm 89:3, 4
The promises to David are repeated elsewhere, such as in Psalm 132:11, 12. These verses presuppose a resurrection because elsewhere Scripture refers to the sacrificial death of the Messiah. If the Messiah died, and yet the sure mercies of David belong to the Messiah, then the resurrection is implied in them. Paul’s words to the synagogue are direct, logical, and are irrefutable when taken in the greater context of Scripture.
Life application: In the commentary above, it was noted that there are both the deeds of man as well as the foreknowledge and providence of God tied up in the crucifixion of Jesus. Despite this, it does not mean that God actively caused the people of Israel to reject Jesus or crucify Him.
God’s plan included both, but that was because God already knew the outcome of what would be done by the people. Therefore, Israel cannot say, “By rejecting and crucifying Jesus, we were fulfilling God’s plan and thus are without guilt.” Rather, if they were honest in their words, they would say, “By rejecting and crucifying Jesus, we acted exactly as the Lord knew we would. We are guilty and our actions testify against us.”
God’s foreknowledge does not in any way negate our responsibility to act or not act on a matter in a proper manner. This is true with salvation, it is true with not shooting Adolph Hitler, even if we knew he would grow up to be a bad person, and so on. We must act as people who are responsible for our actions at all times.
Understanding this, the Calvinistic concept of not having free will to choose Jesus and then call on Him to be saved is shown to be both irresponsible and utterly ridiculous. We must act, we are responsible to act, and God is not going to “regenerate” us to act to believe the gospel message. Despite being corrupt, depraved beings, we can still see the good in what God has done, desire that avenue by accepting Jesus, and then be given the seal of that act when we believe.
We are responsible for hearing the word and for accepting it. So, believe the good news! Accept what God has done and be saved. Jesus rose! His rule is everlasting, and He is mighty to save. Yes, call on Jesus today.
Lord God, You already know everything we will ever do. And yet, Your word says that You save us upon belief in what Jesus has done. There is a lot of baggage that people have heaped upon their salvation over the past millennia. And yet, You have saved them, knowing what they would do after You saved them. This demonstrates the amazing greatness of Your salvation. Thank You for the cleansing flood of forgiveness that covers all such things. Yes, thank You, O God, for Jesus. Amen.
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