Read Acts 7:51. What warning was given here, and how does it apply to us today, as well?
There are a number of sins specifically mentioned in Scripture as sins against the Holy Spirit.
Many of those sins are on the individual level. However, there is also a corporate dimension involved, as we can conclude from Acts 7:51. Stephen points out that his accusers are stiff-necked, as were the rebellious Israelites when they worshiped the golden calf (Exod. 33:3). They resisted the Holy Spirit because they refused to listen to what the Holy Spirit would impress through God’s prophets upon their hearts. This pattern of opposition to God and His plan ultimately led some to reject the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of following Jesus, they made external worship a substitute for obedience to the living Word of God.
It is an amazing thought that frail human beings, created by God and dependent on Him, are able to resist the work of the Holy Spirit and ultimately the grace of God. As powerful as God is, He does not force Himself upon our free will. He respects our choices.
After all, if God wanted to force us to obey Him, why didn’t He do it in Eden, with Adam and Eve, and thus spare the whole world the crisis of sin? God has made us free beings, with the power to make moral choices, either for life or for death, either for good or for evil. What a sacred-and costly-gift we have each been given.
While everyone is responsible for his or her own decisions, we also have a corporate responsibility: we should encourage one another to be faithful, to obey God’s Word, and to stay close to Jesus (Heb. 10:24-25). We resist the Holy Spirit today when we resist the Word of God and when we do not heed the message of His prophets.
It’s so easy to look back at ancient Israel and judge and criticize them for all their mistakes. But what about our own poor choices? How would you feel if they were made as public as were the mistakes of ancient Israel?
|What are ways we can help others toward “love and good works”? What is your responsibility to foster “love and good works” in others?|