When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.
The word of God is the good news of Jesus. See entry for Acts 4:31.
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,
(a) Forgiveness. The original word (aphesis) for forgiveness is a noun that is sometimes translated as remission and means a letting go or dismissal. Forgiveness in a new covenant sense means God has remitted or dismissed all your sins (see entry for Luke 24:47).
(b) Forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. This is the gospel of grace! Because of his great love for you, God has dealt with your sins once and for all (Heb. 9:26). Because of his grace, he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19), and he chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17). In Christ, you have the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14). In him, you are completely and eternally forgiven according to the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7).
On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness (Luke 24:47). After the cross, the apostles described forgiveness in the past tense and as a gift to receive (Acts 2:38, 5:31, 10:43, 26:18, Rom. 4:7, 2 Cor. 5:19, Eph. 1:7, 4:32, Col. 1:14, 2:13, 3:13, Heb. 9:22, 10:18, 1 John 2:12). God dealt with your sins once and for all time on the cross. Your part is to receive his forgiveness with thanksgiving.
Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.
To continue in the grace of God is to continue trusting in Jesus.
In the New Testament we are exhorted to continue in God’s kindness (Rom. 11:22), continue in the faith (Acts 14:22, Col. 1:23), continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9), and continue in what we have learned and been convinced of (2 Tim 3:14). In short, we are to continue in the grace of God.
Every Christian knows what it means to begin with the grace of God but not every Christian continues in the grace of God. The temptation to take out a little works insurance is strong in a culture where performance is idolized.
As you have received Christ Jesus (by faith), so walk in him (by faith; see Col. 2:6). One sign that you are not continuing in the faith is that you are more conscious of your lack than you are of the Lord’s supply. You may think, I’m not holy enough, righteous enough, or fruitful enough. Paul corrects this misperception by reminding us “in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (Col. 2:10). How do you continue in the faith? By recognizing that in Christ you lack no good thing. In Christ, you are as righteous and holy as he is and you are eternally pleasing to God.
Further reading: “Continue in the grace of God”
Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
(a) The word of God is the good news of Jesus. See entry for Acts 4:31.
(b) You repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy. In the new covenant, faith is described as a rest (Rom. 4:5, Heb. 4:3), while unbelief is described in terms of actions and verbs.
In contrast with faith, unbelief is a work. Unbelief is resisting the Holy Spirit and clinging to worthless idols (Acts 7:51, 14:15). Unbelief is rejecting Jesus (John 3:36) and denying the Lord (Jude 1:4). It’s thrusting away the word of God and judging yourself unworthy of life (Acts 13:46). It’s suppressing the truth (Rom. 1:18) and delighting in wickedness (2 Th. 2:12). It’s turning away (Heb. 12:25), going astray (2 Pet. 2:15), and trampling the Son of God underfoot (Heb. 10:29).
(c) Eternal life is living forever in union with Jesus; see entry for John 3:15.
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