Wednesday, 18 January 2023
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; Acts 13:38
Paul proclaimed to those in the synagogue that Jesus, who God raised up, saw no corruption. It is because of this work of God that Paul now explicitly states the purpose of this, beginning with, “Therefore let it be known to you.”
Q: Who is speaking?
A: Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Q: Who is Paul speaking to?
A: Jews in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia.
Q: As Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles, is his proclamation limited to them?
A: No, refer to Acts 9:15 – “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.’”
Q: So, you are saying that his apostleship to the Gentiles is merely the focus of his gospel, but that it is the same gospel as that of the other apostles?
A: Yes. There is one and only one gospel. We are not heretics here. See 1 Corinthians 15:11.
Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ. There is one Christ and one work of Christ that is effectual for all people. The Jews that Paul is addressing in Antioch of Pisidia may or may not have even heard of Jesus. If they had, they would need to have their thinking about Him corrected (repenting, meaning changing their mind about Him). If they had not, which can be assumed, then there is no repentance necessary, as will be seen from the text itself.
With this understood, Paul next says, “brethren.” Rather, the Greek reads, “men, brethren.” It is the same formula used many times so far in acts. Paul is addressing the congregation. If women were there, they are included under the masculine. He uses this term to demonstrate the bond that binds them as members of the nation and culture of Israel, and that he is a part of that nation.
Israel is the nation through which the Messiah would come, and so he stands making his fraternal appeal to them about Jesus, who is that Messiah. With that, he continues, saying, “that through this Man.”
Paul’s words at this time focus on the humanity of Jesus, but it is an incorruptible humanity as was clearly detailed in the preceding verses. As such, the implication is that Jesus is also God, whether Paul has explicitly stated this or not.
Only a sinless Man is incorruptible, and only the God/Man could be sinless due to the biblically understood doctrine of original sin. If He were not both God and Man, He would have inherited sin and He would have remained dead, corrupting as all other men do. With this understood, Paul says that through this incorruptible Man “is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.”
Paul has completed his gospel presentation with these words, even if his words are not yet finished. It is the EXACT SAME gospel he preaches elsewhere to the Gentiles –
Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3 / Acts 13:38).
Christ was buried (1 Corinthians 15:4 / Acts 13:29).
Christ rose again (1 Corinthians 15:4 / Acts 13:30, 33, 37).
Paul has not said a single word about repentance to his audience, except as it applied to John the Baptist’s preaching prior to the coming of the Messiah (Acts 13:24). Now that the Messiah has come, and with His work complete, Paul has given this congregation the simple gospel. They must now decide whether to accept the proposition or reject it.
This is the gospel, the one and only gospel, that is acceptable for the saving of man. The address by Peter in Acts 2 where the call to repent was given was a necessary condition for them because they had just rejected Jesus. They had to change their mind about what they had done to be saved. This congregation before Paul is under a completely different set of parameters, and thus they are given the gospel with no further stipulations added.
If those in this congregation reject Paul’s word, then they will – by default – have to repent (change their minds) about Jesus if they later accept Him. Currently, however, that is not a part of Paul’s appeal. As for the nation of Israel, they must nationally repent of their rejection of Christ. But everyone, Jew or Gentile, must accept or reject the simple gospel.
Life application: Some people would rather remain heretics, accepting and teaching what is false concerning the gospel, than admit that they have been wrong about their thinking. This is true with many sects and cults. When speaking to a Jehovah’s witness about the deity of Christ, a tenet implied in the gospel as noted above, they would normally rather remain unconverted than admit they are wrong.
The same is true with the erroneous doctrine of the Seventh Day Adventists, Judaizers, hyperdispensationalists, Mormons, etc. There is a point where the callousness of the heart takes over and prevents a person from accepting what the Bible is clearly presenting. It is a sad place to be, but it is our human nature to want to go down with the ship. Let us not be found in such a position.
Instead, when we are faced with a clear teaching about a doctrine, be it a minor doctrine such as the timing of the rapture, or something major like the deity of Christ, let us be willing to admit our fault in thinking and so be renewed in our minds.
Above all, let us thank God for the simplicity of the gospel that has come at the high cost of the giving of Jesus Christ for our sins. He died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again! Praise God for what He has done in and through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Glorious Lord Jesus, thank You for what You have done for us. We are lost. We are on the road to condemnation. And yet, You came to redirect us to the heavenly highway if we will simply believe the gospel message. May we submit our hearts and lives to You through accepting this wonderful message of restoration. Amen.