Acts 7

Acts 7:51

“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

Always resisting the Holy Spirit. In the new covenant, faith is described as a rest (Rom. 4:5, Heb. 4:3), while unbelief is described as in terms of actions and verbs.

Unbelief is a dead 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).

Acts 7:52

“Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;

Righteous One. Jesus Christ is the Righteous One and the Righteous Branch spoken of by the prophets (Is. 24:16, 53:11, Jer. 23:5, 33:15). Just as Jesus is the Word made flesh, the living Truth, and the personification of the Father’s grace (John 1:14, 14:6), he is the embodiment of God’s righteousness.

Acts 7:58

When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

(a) Stoning him. The Sanhedrin had the authority to put people to death for religious crimes. They stoned Stephen (Acts 7:58), they discussed stoning a woman caught in adultery (John 8:5), and they had tried before to stone Jesus (John 10:31).

(b) A young man. The word for young can mean anyone under the age of 40. Saul was probably in his thirties.

(c) Saul. This is the first mention of the most influential apostle in the New Testament. Before he became known as Paul the church-planting writer of epistles, Saul was a zealous Pharisee who hunted Christians (Acts 22:4). Saul was an extremely dangerous religious terrorist who “persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison” (Acts 22:4).

After his dramatic conversion, this champion sinner became a champion of the gospel. Paul and four other authors collectively wrote almost half of the entire Bible. (The others are Moses, Ezra, Luke, and Jeremiah.)

Saul did not change his name to Paul but was rather known by both names. “Saul, who was also known as Paul” (Acts 13:9). As a zealous Jew he went by his Hebrew name Saul; as an apostle to the Gentiles he went by his Roman name Paul.

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