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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 37 - Acts 27:33 - The Confession in the Midst of the Storm Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


This is Paul's acknowledgment of the true God in the midst of Gentile idolaters, and amid the uproar of a Mediterranean tempest. It is like Jonah's in the ship of Tarshish. Its meaning is, "I am God's property and God's servant; I belong to Him, and I serve Him; I am not my own, but His, in body and soul, in life, and strength, and faculties, I am God's."

Solemn words! But the words of the few, not of the many. Yet they ought to be the words of all. Less than this none of us ought to say. Till we come to this we are all wrong; our being is out of sorts, our existence is unreal, our souls are dark and wretched.

Paul here speaks—

1. Decidedly. He is no waverer, no halter between two opinions. He has made up his mind. He is thoroughly decided. He speaks as one who has made his choice.

2. Certainly. He interposes no "if" or "perhaps," but speaks as one who knows his relationship to God. Of doubting he knows nothing, but only of certainty.

3. Calmly. These are not the words of excitement or fanaticism. There is an unutterable calmness and simplicity about them. I am God's, and I serve Him! What peace must have been filling his soul as he uttered them!

4. Joyfully. They are the words of one exulting in the consciousness of this divine relationship, this sure and blessed connection between the living God and himself. His is the joy unspeakable and full of glory.

5. Earnestly. His is religion in earnest. With him all connected with God is a profound reality. It is this that makes him so much in earnest, so that even in his simplest words the pent up fervor breaks forth.

Such is our model! Though we be not apostles, we are to take our stand here. Nothing less than this will do. Nothing short of this is religion. This is God's demand upon us. It is His right, His due. He expects this at our hands; this is our proper position. It is the manly and upright as well as the Christian one. Neither Christ nor conscience can be satisfied with any other. Nor does even the world expect less.

Indecision, oscillation, and half-heartedness will not do. Compromise will not do. Lukewarmness will not do. Formalism will not do. In everything relating to God there must be reality, sincerity, completeness. The whole heart must be there. There must be no hollow religion. God will not have it, and our own hearts resent it as misery. Yes, it is misery. To be neither our own nor God's, neither Christ's nor the world's, neither religious nor irreligious, this is misery. The heart aches with its own hollowness. It will not do. Oh, let your religion be real, if you care to have religion at all!

To be real, it must begin with reconciliation. Peace with God must be its foundation. We preach the reconciliation through the cross and blood, that if it be all yet to begin, it may be begun now!

Christ is our peace! Oh, enter into peace through Him! Give yourselves to God. Give your affections to Him. Give your soul and body, your all to Him; know Him and speak of Him as the God whose you are and whom you serve!

When thus reconciled, we learn to exult hike Paul in our heavenly relationship and happy service. What different beings we become! Not our own, but God's! How this isolates us from the crowd, individualizes, ennobles us! Not our own, but God's! Then all we are and do and speak becomes divine! We can do no common, no trifling thing. All we engage in is elevated, glorified, sanctified! Oh, let us learn this high nobility of being, this heavenly elevation of life, and of all that belongs to life. Repeating to ourselves, "the God whose I am, and whom I serve," we press forward in our course, nerved for duty and for trial. Repeating to others, "the God whose I am, and whom I serve," we give a sufficient answer to all the words or arts of temptation by which men seek to make us compromise our character, and become unfaithful to our calling and service.