Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tuesday - Acts 16 - Surrendering after Victory, or Fighting On

OU will recall that Paul had just recently attended a major Bible conference in Jerusalem at which it had been categorically determined that circumcision was not necessary for salvation. Here we are only shortly removed from that account when we read of Paul's encounter with young Timothy. Paul circumcised Timothy. What's that about? Why didn't Paul just exercise his liberty and promote spiritual freedom by defending Timothy's uncircumcised condition? The answer: spiritual humility and pragmatic compassion. Timothy's circumcision had nothing to do with his own salvation, but it did have something to do with the potential salvation of others.  Paul had Timothy circumcised so that he could be more effective in ministry. It would have been a distraction and an inhibition if he had remained uncircumcised (while attempting to minister to Jews). It was a good and harmless rite. There was no reason not to do it, especially if it opened doors of evangelistic opportunity to him.  Besides that, Paul was delivering letters from the apostles that declared the freedom of the gentiles and how they should feel no obligation to be circumcised (Acts 16:4). It was fitting and beneficial that Paul voluntarily participated in something that he was not necessarily obligated to do at all.  What a strong spiritual lesson this was to these new believers, and to us. This course of action helped to produce stronger faith in the churches as well as continued church growth (Acts 16:5).

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