Holiness In a Dark World

Reading: Acts Chapter 6

By Alex Mack

God always meant for holiness to be reality for human beings. We were made to be set apart to God and filled with the Holy Spirit, living in worship to Him. In a fallen world, however, the darkness of sin and idolatry pervades everywhere. Still, God does not want holiness to hide. He intends for it to shine boldly right around all the darkness. Over and over again in the book of Acts, however, we see that this means encountering resistance from the world. Here we read that Stephen was “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (v. 5). Stephen was “full of grace and power” and “performing great wonders and signs among the people” (v. 8). It seems this is a pattern emerging after the resurrection: the disciples are used miraculously by the Holy Spirit and then persecuted directly afterward. An argument arose against Stephen, yet the Holy Spirit gave wisdom that surpassed the argument. Finally, they bring false accusations. However, we must not overlook God’s redemptive work in all this. “And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel” (v. 15). Can you imagine falsely accusing and opposing someone as your enemy, only to see that in the midst of your accusation their face is like an angel, radiant with the power of God? This was as great a witness of the Holy Spirit as the miracles. As we will read in chapter 8, Saul was there approving of his death. Soon Saul would become Paul, but we must wonder if the Holy Spirit was already causing Saul to question, ‘Why is his face shining like an angel?’ ‘Where does this wisdom come from?’ Be encouraged to know that God is working redemptively even as the world opposes the light.

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