After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
Law always comes after Grace. Law must kill Grace. From the slaying of Abel, through the persecution of the prophets, the crucifixion of Christ, the persecution of the apostles and reformers, right up to the present day, the religious establishment has always dealt with the Grace threat in the same way: with deadly, silencing force.
“If only Saul had been more conciliatory,” one might say. “If only he could have softened his message to try to win over his Jewish brethren, instead of enraging them, perhaps he would have been spared.” Perhaps, but what would have happened to the gospel? Would Christianity today look the same? What would have been lost?
As a person who finds himself usually plagued by equivocation, I long for the firmness and conviction of Saul / Paul. I want to know how to stand on the truth of the gospel, how to identify those “fine-sounding words” that are in fact poison to my fellow believers. I want to “contend” as Paul did:
I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
That’s where I long to be: Contending for the saints, protecting them from “fine-sounding arguments.” Putting the torch to false teaching. Telling the people the “full message” (literally, “every word”) of this new life (cf. Acts 5:20).