The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
The cold, hard fact of the Bible is that not all believe the message of the Gospel. Jews and Gentiles alike, some will believe, and some will not. Acts 28:23-28 tells of the conflict between belief and unbelief in Rome. Paul’s final response is that the prophet Isaiah spoke accurately when he said some would not believe. The dynamic of unbelief is rather complicated, though.
The Scripture describes unbelief as causative. Our unbelief separates us from God’s forgiveness. However, one of the ways it accomplishes this is by creating a hard heart which will not believe. The idea has often been stated as follows: One of the penalties of sin is the desire to sin. Acting in a certain way typically engenders more of the same action. Sin is no different.
How does Paul deal with situations in which his plan to bring the Gospel to a group of people is not received? He certainly is grieved. After all, the people have rejected what he is persuaded is the truth. They are doing this at the peril of their eternal souls. However, Paul, in verse 28, will go to other people with the very same message. The salvation of God is for all people in all nations. So Paul will continue to bring the Gospel to those around him. Everyone gets the opportunity to hear and believe.
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