‘Except for these chains’

I like the concluding sentence of today’s study: ‘And the only convictions that hold are those that are based on God’s truth. Nothing else is good enough.’

On completion of this issue, where we have been sharing with Selwyn his thoughts on his twelve life convictions over the last two months – I guess, I’m starting to think about this whole area of having fixed or firm beliefs – convictions – and, that over the years our convictions shape our character.

In reading the scripture set down for reading and meditation for today’s study Acts 26:19-32, I actually started with verse 1 of Chapter 26; and I’m glad I did. Two points stand out for me – the first is the last part tof what Jesus says to Paul (verses 17b,18): “I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are santified by faith in me.”

The message could not be clearer – those who do not have a relationship with Jesus are under the power of Satan.

If you live by the conviction – strongly held belief – that Jesus paid the penality for your sins on the cross and released you from Satan’s power – you will have a place in Heaven with Him – having been santified by faith in Jesus. Amazing grace.

Just after these verses, comes – what I would call the crunch line – verse 19, we have Paul saying: “So then King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. …”

What I get from the above is this – it’s fine to have convictions – strong befliefs based on God’s word. It’s also good that these beliefs over the years, mould our character, as long as our beliefs are reflected in our actions. Faith comes first – a gift from God – then we demonstrate this faith by our actions based on our dependence on the Holy Spirit. It needs to be said that people who do good works without faith in Jesus earn their rewards, if any, in this life – only those who are santified by faith in Jesus ‘carry’ their deeds to the next life!

Do you agree?