Follow by Email

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'm Sick

I know I promised I would have the last installment on the way into the Kingdom posted by now, but I've been sick. I'll be the first to admit I don't do sick well. Some people need to come to the point of being measured for a casket before they complain, but not I. Some say it may be the fact that I was over nurtured as a toddler, I don't know. After googling our symptoms I self diagnosed myself and my wife as having strep throat. Don't laugh, who can afford a doctor's visit nowadays? So yeah, google is a life savior at least when it comes to putting a name to the symptoms one is exhibiting. It isn't pretty. The coughing wouldn't be so bad, if not for the sore throat. That really gets old after awhile.
I read that it's supposed to take about three days for the full brunt of it to pass. We shall see. For now, I'm attempting to make chicken soup and not cough ever three seconds. Thank you all for your understanding.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update

I got a chance to speak to my brother Daniel today, and he was in good spirits. To those who asked how he is, thank you for your concern, as well as your prayers. As I understand it, he still requires one more tissue graft on his foot, then another skin graft. I got to see pictures of the car after the accident, and it is a miracle that he is alive, and other than his left foot unharmed.
Once again, thank you all for your prayers and your encouraging words. It is difficult being so far away and hearing such news, but I know that God has a plan, and His plan is perfect.
I will be posting the conclusion of the teaching on the way into the Kingdom sometime tomorrow, or Saturday at the latest.
Once again, thank you all for your patience. We have been working on a new teaching medium lately, namely short ten minute teaching videos that will be posted on the internet at as yet unestablished intervals. It is the cheapest, and I believe most effective way to reach as many people as possible with the truth of Christ's love and sacrifice.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea jr.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Way Into The Kingdom Part 2

Luke 13:25-26, “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you where you are from, ‘then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.”
For those still undecided, those who have as yet not made a commitment to repent, follow Christ, and be born again, these should be among the most disturbing verses in the entire Bible. Their conscience should be so burdened, and their souls so troubled due to these two verses, that sleep would fail them and rest could not be found. Why you might ask? Because this is one of the passages in the Holy Scripture that reveals to us the fact that the time of grace is not without end. Keep in mind these were the words of Christ, indisputable in their veracity no matter how much men might try to dismiss them or outright twist them. The will come a time, and it is not afar off, when the door to the House of grace will be closed. The Master of the house, God Himself, will rise up and shut the door, and those that entered in during the time of grace, those that were wise enough to fall to their knees at the foot of the cross, and experience true repentance, having their sins washed clean by the blood of the Lamb will rejoice and partake of the great and eternal feast that is even now being prepared.
There is however another group of people, those that continually put off their repentance, those that found a reason not to walk through, every time the door of grace was shown them, every time they were beseeched to enter in, who will be left to stand outside and knock at the door.
More painful still will be the fact that those who will find themselves outside when the Master rises and closes the door will realize their predicament. The full weight of what they rejected and dismissed so readily will be brought to bear, and they will begin to knock at the door saying, “Lord, Lord open for us.” The answer they receive will not be as some believe, ‘right away’, or, ‘give me a second to unlatch the door first, and welcome you inside’, but an answer that will send chills down the spines of those waiting outside, making their blood run cold: “I do not know you, where you are from!”
I know full well that the words you are reading right now fly in the face of what many modern day preachers have adopted as their statement of faith, namely that eventually almost everyone makes it into heaven anyway, because in their minds God is likened to a real estate agent trying to unload property in a time of economic distress. Their cry is not ‘repent or enter through the narrow gate’, but rather, ‘God is slashing prices! Everything must go! Take your time, there are plenty of listings, and not that many buyers anyway.’
Because there is no urgency in many of the messages we hear preached from pulpits today, a disturbing number of individuals are putting off salvation, they are postponing committing themselves to God, hoping to get a better deal, if they wait a little bit longer. No one is comfortable with mentioning the fact that the Master of the house will rise up and shut the door, no one wants to discuss the fact that there will be those who will find themselves outside, knocking desperately hoping to be let in, because well, these are just such uncomfortable topics. We’re not in church to hear the truth anymore, we’re not in church to learn of Christ, to pursue holiness, to encourage repentance; we’re in church to be entertained, to have our egos stroked, and have a better self image, to improve our self esteem, and oh yeah, to prosper. How can we leave out prosperity?
While we busy ourselves with such irrelevance, while we devote our time and our effort to discovering the keys to wealth, the steps to self esteem, the formula for a happy and fulfilled life here on earth, the door is slowly beginning to creak shut.
We’re not becoming a generation of selfish, self centered, self involved, self-obsessed hedonists; we’re already there. Preach holiness and you will be mocked, not on the sidewalk or on the street, but in what is supposed to be the house of God. Preach cheap grace, and even cheaper salvation, preach greed, opulence, pleasure and the absence of consequences, and you will be lauded as a progressive, a forward thinker, a luminary. Your smiling face will stare back at you in bookstores, men will flock to your book signings, the world will embrace you as one of their own, and all the while, the door is continue to creak, signaling the fact that it is closing.
Yes, they know that the prosperity bus has suffered a couple flat tires recently, but as long as it keeps inching along, they will keep the party going for as long as they can. Even when all the tires blow out they will still try to drive it on the rims, because to change their theology, to open their eyes, to see the truth would be to admit that they have led countless souls to perdition, and caused countless others to postpone their salvation to the point that if they do get in it will be by the skin of their teeth.
The voices of those telling people to seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near, have been drowned out by those encouraging people to take their time, enjoy life, prosper, smell the roses, the Lord will always be there, and when you eventually get around to seeking Him, He’ll be more than gracious in opening the door for you, and welcoming you in. Yes, live, live life to the fullest, do that which your heart desires, knowing that God is always there case of emergencies. In case anyone missed it, yes I was being facetious.
The truth, as the Word of God reveals it to us, is that the season of grace is not endless, and only the Master knows when He will rise and shut the door. The question I must ask of those reading these words is have you entered in? Have you walked through the narrow gate? Have you received Christ, as Savior and Lord? Have you experienced true repentance? I ask this not because I think those of you who read this web log are unsaved, but because if there is one who happens to read these words, if there is one who accidentally stumbles upon this site and does not know Christ, the question must be asked.
Our primary objective, our one goal in this life is to be found in Christ, to take the opportunity the first time it is presented to us and walk through the narrow gate, enter the House of His grace, and find our rest and joy therein.
As these two verses progress, the dialogue between the Master of the house and those who found themselves locked out continues. In their desperation those standing outside attempt to counter the Master’s rejection, and claim that He did not know them by reminding Him that they ate and drank in His presence, and He had taught in their streets.
The madmen of ancient Athens claimed that every ship, which sailed into their harbor, rightfully belonged to them. It is similar with those who have not been born again, who have not received the Christ, yet who hope that they will be partakers of the heavenly Kingdom, that they will enter the Master’s house even though they rejected the Master. There are hearts, which have managed to deceive themselves into believing that they will go to heaven, even though the path they walk is leading them to the darkness of death and sin.
While it lasts, religious deception can be very pleasant indeed, but deception never lasts forever, and once the illusion it created is shattered, the tragedy is unspeakable. When the covering of self-righteousness that many have clothed themselves in will dissipate like the clouds before the sun, it will be a sad and tragic day indeed. The more we hoped in the self, the more we trusted in the self, the more we idolized the self, greater still the pain of realizing that putting one’s faith in self rather than Christ is lunacy in its highest form.
It is not enough to have eaten and drank in His presence, it is not enough to have heard His words, in order for a man to enter into the Kingdom, he must receive Christ, allow himself to be consumed by His love, and make Him Lord over his life.
Many on that day will try to remind God how many times they attended church, how many sermons they sat through, how many potlucks they brought a dish to, but if God does not see His Son in us, He will not recognize us as His own.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eight Years

This past week I celebrated eight years of marriage. Seeing as how having time to spend with my wife has become more and more scarce these past few months, I purposefully turned off my laptop, and wrote nothing except answer a few e-mails for an entire week. I know this may seem odd to some, but once in awhile one needs to unplug. I spent the week actually cooking with the wife, using our barbeque, talking, (something we haven't had time to do in what seems like ages), taking walks, watching thunderstorms, listening to the rain on the window, in short, just being normal again.
Some time ago I posted an article on the Hand of Help website about having balance in all things, and this past week has served to counterballance my mercilessly busy schedule as of late.
I will be posting the continuation of the teaching on the way into the Kingdom by Monday morning at the latest.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Way Into The Kingdom Part 1

I have been praying about this study for some time. Taking into account the times we live in, and the multitudes of doctrines and teaching that are as far removed from the Word of truth as the earth is from the sky, I thought it appropriate to sit down and write it now rather than later. We are living in a season of spiritual upheaval, one that has amassed a troubling number of casualties along the way, leaving in its wake sincere men and women whose spirits were utterly crushed, and faith violently shaken.
Whether due to pride, ignorance or a combination of both, too few are willing to return to the simplicity of the gospel, and immerse themselves in the words of the Christ, following His teachings and His example rather than the teachings and examples of mere men.
As children of God we must have a stable, steadfast, unshakable foundation in His Word, know His will for our lives, learn to hear His voice with greater clarity than ever before, or we run the risk of being trampled underfoot and dragged away into the mire of half truths and outright deception.
I must forewarn you, some along the way, as we get deeper into this teaching will begin to cry out ‘legalism’ with the requisite pause between syllables for emphasis and effect, but keep in mind these are not my words, but rather the words of Christ.
I have been criticized in the past, often vociferously so for my stance on works and grace not being mutually exclusive, but rather being symbiotic and working together toward a common goal. This stance is not because I am stubborn, it is not because I have made up my mind on my own, but rather because it is plainly written the Word of God, and even if some may choose to disregard scripture, I will uphold it until my dying breath. I will not bend, twist or otherwise render the scripture void for the sake of men’s acceptance, approval, or in order to placate critics.
Our journey begins in the book of Luke, as Jesus encountered a man during His travels that posed a question for the ages.
Luke 13:22, “And He went through the cities and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.”
At first glance this would seem like a simple and straightforward enough verse. Jesus went through the cities and villages! However what is not said, is more telling than what was said, for Jesus went through the cities and villages, not to become a citizen of these townships, not to establish Himself where he found the most acceptance and start a church hoping to get his own syndicated show, but to teach, and to do good. Jesus journeyed not for Himself, but rather for the hurting, the poor, the hungry, His one desire being to enlighten those who would hear with His teaching, and show those who had eyes to see the way into the Kingdom. He did this as he journeyed toward Jerusalem.
Throughout His ministry Christ’s goal and purpose were the same. To open the eyes of those walking in darkness, and cause them to see the truth of whom He was, and what He had come to earth to do.
Wherever he went, Jesus taught, healed the sick, and gave hope to the downtrodden, being a blessing for all who received. If we are to be as Christ was, then our desire should be to radiate His goodness and love wherever we go, journeying not for our own agenda, not for some vested interest, but merely to be a blessing, to teach the Word, and be used of God in the manner He sees fit.
Luke 13:23-24, “Then one said to Him, ‘Lord are there few who are saved?’ And He said to them, ‘strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
It is by far less important to know how few, or how many are saved, than to know that I personally am saved. There is an old saying in my country, that when you are too busy looking in your neighbor’s soup bowl, you have the tendency not to see the flies buzzing around in yours. We must be first and foremost concerned with where we as individuals are as pertains to the will of God, if we walk in righteousness and obedience to Him, rather than be concerned how few are saved.
I have seen good men get sidetracked from working out their own salvation with fear and trembling, focusing all of their time and energies on the faults and shortcomings of others, that they eventually strayed from truth not having been guarding their hearts, building themselves up in prayer, and making certain that their armor was on at all times.
Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind, because He paid the price for our redemption, but if an individual refuses to make Him Lord of his or her heart, if an individual rejects repentance and faith in Him, they die in their sins.
It is one of the great snares of the enemy, in which many a soul have become entangled, namely the studying of the letter of the Bible only, being studious in mind alone, accumulating Biblical knowledge, without allowing this knowledge to penetrate down into their hearts, and having it be evident in their every day lives. Yes, knowing the letter of Scripture is necessary, but if we advance no further and remain only within the letter, it is certain to lead to death. We must traverse into the realm of the Spirit, that we may know the Christ, receive Him and thereby obtain salvation.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being form ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
Only by entering into the Spirit of God’s word will we discover the fullness of what He has for us, only then will we taste of the unveiled mysteries of truth. It is not enough to know truth in theory alone, but I must have the truth reside in me, it must be evident by all in my daily life, and birth in me a new heart, a new mind, and a new desire for Christ and Christ alone.
For fear of getting sidetracked, since this is an easy topic to wander on about, we return our focus to a man and his query, a man who wanted to know if there were few who were saved. Rather than answer his question outright, a question birthed out of human curiosity, Christ endeavors to open the eyes of those who were listening to the truth of His message, and show them the way into the Kingdom. Even Christ’s refusal to answer a question based solely in human thinking can be a lesson to those hungering for truth. We cannot allow ourselves to be overcome by the curiosity of the old self, the old nature, when it comes to the mysteries of God, but rather deny ourselves and receive His will as the final authority in our lives. Only then will we receive what is necessary for our spiritual growth from the hand of God, knowing that it is pure, and sovereign.
It is not my duty to chase after signs or wonders, it is not my duty to pursue men, and sit at their feet, my duty is to be a ready and willing vessel for the Master, one who has been purged and cleansed, and is ready to be of service. If God would have me see miracles, so be it! If God would have me hear prophecy, so be it! If God would have me preach a sermon, so be it! He will tell me in His time what He requires of me. Yes, desire spiritual gifts, but do not demand them of God, as though we know better than He what office we are best suited for. Again, off topic, I know, but necessary given the current spiritual upheaval going on in this country.
Rather than give percentages of how few are saved, Jesus spoke directly to the crowd that was assembled and said, “strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
There is a segment within the Christian community that believes nothing more than a wave of a hand in an overly crowed stadium during the altar call of a superstar preacher is required for us as individuals to enter the kingdom of heaven.
‘Every head bowed, and every eye closed, just raise your hand wherever you are, Jesus sees you! That’s it, Hallelujah, thank you all for coming, and please fill out a commitment card and mail it to our ministry, so we can have a record of you.’
In most cases, there is no brokenness, no repentance, no inward searching, just the wave of a hand amongst a sea of people, an experience almost forgotten two or three weeks down the line, as the individual returns to his former life, former lusts, former vices, and former sins.
The Son of God however, said the way into the Kingdom was not as easy as raising one’s hand in a public venue, but rather that we must strive to enter through the narrow gate.
Before we get deeper into this verse, I would like to answer the question of what it means to strive. The dictionary defines striving, as exerting much effort or energy, attempting by employing effort, endeavoring, struggling, taking pains, agonizing, overexerting oneself, straining, toiling, making every effort, or doing your utmost. I can go on, but I think you get the picture.
God has already prepared everything having to do with salvation, and a sanctified life in Christ for us. He prepared the material; He built the house, yet there is one thing left for us to do, and that is to walk through the gate, to enter into this glorious and eternal home. The door by which we enter in however is so narrow, that nothing other than the individual can pass through. No baggage, no apparel, no trinkets, no keepsakes, nothing can pass through this narrow gate but you. This is what God requires of us, to strip off all that is of the flesh, to lay down every burden, to lay aside every weight, and enter in.
The hard part is not the act of entering through the narrow gate, but the striving, the agonizing, the endeavoring required to unburden ourselves to the point that we can fit through the gate. God will allow nothing of the world to enter into His Kingdom, one cannot pass through the narrow gate, lest he deny everything including him or herself.
The old nature does not die quietly, and it opposes one’s passage through the narrow gate with every fiber of its being and with all the resistance it can muster. Even Jesus said that many will seek to enter but will not be able to, because they attempted to drag their old natures, their old lusts, vices and desires along with them through the gate, realizing perhaps belatedly so that one can only pass through when they have abandoned all these things. No matter how much one reads the Bible, no matter how often they go to church, if they do not daily crucify their flesh with all that it entails, they cannot enter into the Kingdom of eternity by the narrow gate.
Yes, God has done His part and abundantly so, as pertains to our salvation and sanctification. May we also do our part, and then we will prove to all that the grace of God is not in vain.
It is said that some fishermen were caught in a storm far from shore. The waves kept hammering their small boat, the winds were roaring, and terrified as they were, they laid down their oars, and began to pray for God to save them. The second they stopped rowing the winds began to drag the small boat further and further away from the shore. Only then did the oldest and wisest among them speak up and say, “Why did you stop rowing? Yes, pray, by all means pray, but row as well.”
God is always there, He always hears our prayers, but we must open the hand of faith, that we may receive His blessing and His help. Opening our hand is up to us; entering through the narrow gate is up to us; rowing upon the sea that is this world is up to us. If we do not do our part, we will surely perish, just as a man standing before a spring but who is unwilling to lean forward and drink the water will surely die of thirst.
Narrow is the gate of truth, yet those who strive will surely enter through it. Oh, what glorious light is to be found in this eternal Kingdom. Narrow is the gate of godliness, yet those who endeavor to live godly will rest under the shadow of His wing. God is not a miser, He gives abundantly to His children, for it is His good pleasure, but we must daily open the treasuries of our hearts, that the may be filled and replenished with His grace, light and love.
Yes, we have a duty to perform, we have part to play, yet when you mention one’s accountability and duty in the light of the Gospel, too readily, and unjustly so one is labeled a legalist. It is not legalism it is the Gospel!
It is no merit of ours, nor are we deserving of anything for seeking the Lord, but without seeking Him we have no hope of finding Him. Our prayers are not entitled to answers, yet we must pray without ceasing, for we cannot hope to receive if we never ask. A vessel must be held beneath the running spring in order to be filled otherwise it will remain empty, yet it is not the vessel that makes the water. No matter how much effort a man might exert fighting the fight of faith, it will never be enough to purchase eternal life, or make him entitled, but it would not be just for a man to simply sit by the shade of a palm tree and wait hoping that he will have eternal life.
We must strive to enter through the narrow gate, and we must learn to see the symbiosis between receiving salvation by faith, and the need to walk the path soberly, reverently and obediently.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Post Script: Thank you all for your prayers for my brother Daniel. Please keep the people of Wisconsin in your prayers as the Lord leads, we have lived through some interesting few days, watching for tornadoes, seeing day turn into night as the storms moved in, and seeing the aftermath of the flooding.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Update

I just spoke to my brother Daniel. He has had two surgeries thus far, and is scheduled for two more. He is out of danger, although his foot is pretty mangled, and he needs re constructive surgery. By his recount of the accident, he said it was only due to the hand of God that he was still alive, and knowing that my brother is not one given to exaggeration, I believe him at his word.
Thank you all for your prayers thus far, and please continue to pray for him as the Lord leads.
Tomorrow, or Tuesday at the latest we will be beginning a new study entitled "The Way Into The Kingdom" it promises to be challenging and hopefully aid in the spiritual growth of those seeking a deeper walk with Christ.
Thank you again for your encouraging words, they mean more than you will ever know.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, June 6, 2008

An Urgent Request

This morning I woke up to the news that my baby brother Daniel had been in an accident. The car he was driving swerved in order to avoid another driver, clipped a bridge and flipped over. He is going into surgery this evening, and I would ask that you would hold him up in prayer. Please remember him, and my family in your supplications to the Father during this time. I will keep you updated as time permits.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Full Disclosure

It is well past midnight, and I am diligently working on the next Hand of Help newsletter. Something has been bugging me for the past few hours, like one of those itches that you can never really scratch, and I decided to take a few minutes and share my heart with those of you who take the time and read what God puts on my heart. When I first started this web log, I made a promise to you, and to myself that I would be honest and forthright with you, no matter the circumstance. Since I already made mention of this on the radio program, it is inevitable that it will come out eventually, and since I choose that you hear it from me, rather then someone else, here goes:
For the past few months I have been actively petitioning the Lord to allow me to return to my homeland, permanently. I have even gone so far as to discuss this with my wife, and to my surprise the same burden has been on her heart for some time as well.
It is not due to fear of what is about to descent upon this nation, for I believe wholeheartedly that it will be a darkness of global proportions, but rather due to some words of prophecy, and personal dreams I've been having over the past six months or so. The hour is late, and the time approaches.
As of yet, I have not received a release to go, but the desire is there, ever present, sometimes all consuming. I have always known I would return to my homeland, it is largely the reason I refused to put down roots in this country of any real significance. I love the fellowship of all the brethren here, know that you are loved with a true love that can only originate from the heart of God. I will be here for as long as God has me, but I know the day is approaching when I will go.
I wanted to share this, because I believe it is the right thing to do, and because as I mentioned, I made a promise to be honest, open, and forthright.
There is still work to be done, and I will endeavor to be faithful in the calling that God has placed on my life, and I feel this avenue of reaching the hungry souls is one of those callings as well.
As always thank you for your prayers, and encouragements. I pray this news has not caused hurt or offense to anyone, for it was not my intent.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Radio Archives

For the past few months I have been co-hosting a radio program with a brother on Spirit 1 Radio. Since I have received quite a few requests as to what radio programs I speak on, and when, and since I never find out early enough to be able to post it, I am including the site where if so desired, one can find archived radio programs going back a couple months.
You can go to www.spirit1.us , click on Radio Archives, then click on Moment of Truth. The radio programs get uploaded regularly and they are in MP3 format.
I will be posting something more substantial as soon as time allows. For now, God bless and keep you, may righteousness shine in you, and may Christ be your banner.
With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Saul of Tarsus Part 9

We come to the conclusion of our journey as it pertains to Saul of Tarsus. My prayer is that these teachings have helped strengthen your faith, mature your spirit, and grow your wisdom.
Acts 9:17, “And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
God’s plan had been put into motion, from the second Saul saw the light shining around him from heaven, and now it was about to reach its rightful conclusion. No longer conflicted, having laid his fears aside Ananias went his way, and entered the house of Judas, where Saul was. I often wonder what Ananias’s reaction was at seeing a blind and helpless Saul, waiting there powerless, and defenseless. So many stories had circulated, so much fear had taken root in the hearts of believers concerning Saul of Tarsus, that to see him now, as he truly was must have been a shock for Ananias.
Often what seem like the greatest of obstacles from afar, become minimal at best when analyzed up close. For fear of the booming roar, no one dares look over the fence to see that it was a puppy making all the noise. The myth of Saul, and the reality of Saul had collided, and Ananias was now able to see, that even the greatest enemies of Christ, can readily be brought to the point of helplessness.
As Ananias approached Saul, and laid hands on him, he said, ‘brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’
It is worthy of note that Ananias called Saul his brother. The only means by which he could come to this conclusion, was a spiritual one, for his eyes of flesh only saw a blind man, helplessly waiting for something to occur. Ananias discerned that Saul had been converted, that he was no longer the persecutor to be feared, but a fellow brother in Christ, who had seen the light and had been transformed by the power of God.
When one begins to contemplate the grace of God in all its facets, he or she begins to understand just how beautiful a thing it is. God’s grace goes wherever it is needed, and enters every heart that is found open and willing to receive it. It is due to man’s rejection of this blessed grace that so many still stumble in the darkness, that so many are still lost, that so many are still hopeless, blind, and absent of peace. It is not God’s fault, it is man’s.
Once the grace of God is welcomed into a heart, it begins the work or renewal and regeneration, it begins to clean out the cobwebs and filth of ignorance and sin, preparing said heart for the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy spirit cannot reside in a heart wherein grace has not first done its good work, and cleaned it, washed it in the blood of Christ and made it ready to receive.
God had shown Saul His great mercy, had bestowed His grace upon him, had cleansed him through and through, to the deepest recesses of his inner man, and now as Ananias laid hands on him, Saul was ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
Every man who is truly sent of Christ, who is called to minister to his contemporaries, is commissioned to perform these two tasks, to give sight, and to fill with the Spirit of truth. When men send men, it is inevitable that their arrival will lead to confusion, darkness, and doubting souls. I realize I have stressed this point before, but it is of such paramount importance that whenever the context allows, I will repeat it, if you are sent, be certain you are sent of God. Only then will the fruit of your labors be evident to all, only then will you see the Lord going before you, opening doors that no man could open, and reaching hearts that mere words could never reach.
Because Ananias had been sent by God, and did not venture out on his own, when he laid hands on Saul, and said he had been sent that Saul may receive sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit, it was so.
Saul had received new sight, the spiritual sight that comes from knowing the fullness of God’s grace, and became blind to his old ways, his old beliefs, and his old ideas.
Whenever I read the Word, especially when it comes to interactions between two individuals, I often contemplate what both parties felt on a basic level. What were they thinking? What was going through their mind? I do this because it better helps me understand the context of the situation, and also the full magnitude of what their experiences meant for them as individuals, human beings, men of flesh and bone.
Having considered Ananias’s reaction to seeing a helpless and blind Saul, it is only fair that we consider Saul’s thought process as he felt two hands being laid upon him, and the voice of a stranger speaking to him with love and tenderness. This salutation, of a man calling him brother, and laying hands on him was most likely not one Saul was expecting. Taking into account, that only a few short days prior he had been on his way to Damascus, to exterminate men like Ananias, and those of his kind, it must have been a surprise, dare I say even a shock to Saul, to hear Ananias’s greeting.
Ananias had done as the Lord had commanded, and laying hands on Saul was one of the things he had been told he must do, and so did with joy. The miracle occurred, Saul received his sight, and also the infilling of the Holy Spirit, after which he was baptized.
Before we continue I would be remiss if I did not point something out, even at the risk of alienating some of you, or making you angry with me. Saul became a brother, and was filled with the Holy Spirit, before he experienced water baptism, because his old man had already been crucified, and Christ had renewed his mind.
Being baptized in water, was not a prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit, but Saul did proceed to get baptized in water, after this experience. I mention this, only because I have heard some overzealous brothers condemn and put down the experience of some new believers, when they say they have been filled with the Holy Spirit, because they had not yet been baptized in water.
If there is a biblical precedent, then there is no room for debate. To me, it is that simple. Saul received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized in water, however he did pursue water baptism as soon as he was able.
Acts 9:18, “Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he rose and was baptized.”
The entirety of the work Ananias performed, was a work of faith, rooted in the Word spoken by Christ. It is only such work that is followed by both blessing and evident spiritual fruit.
Ananias was God’s chosen vessel, which He used to confirm the transformation that had taken place in the heart of Saul, to the brethren of Damascus. Although this was necessary for Saul, it is not the same with all believers. God works in different ways, employing different means, but his goal is always the same.
Before they come to know the love of God, ever man and woman has scales on their eyes. They are unable to see the truth that is before them, they are unable to come to rightful conclusions even when they have all the facts they need to reach said conclusion. Only when the scales fall from our eyes, are we able to see truth. Only then are we able to discern, to know, to grow, to mature spiritually, and walk in the light of God’s truth.
It is difficult to imagine the joy that Saul felt the moment the scales fell from his eyes and he was able to see, and the first face he saw, was that of brother Ananias, the man the Lord had used to introduce a new member to the ever-growing body of believers.
Only after we see are we able to make good decisions. Only after we see, are we able to discern light from darkness, truth from lie, and the narrow path from the wide path.
Once Saul received his sight, he rose. When the Spirit of God searches us, we rise from our indecision, we rise from our complacency, we rise from our indifference, we rise from our fear, we rise from our doubt, and do what God has commanded us to do. The Holy Spirit searches the hearts of those who do not place conditions upon Him, who do not demand an experience with God only if it is on their terms, but who sincerely yearn to know truth.
Saul was baptized, because he knew that water baptism was a visible confession of an invisible inward work, the visible proof of obedience toward God, and submission toward His word.
Much can be written concerning Saul’s baptism, but what struck me most about it, as he retells the event in Acts 22:16, is the sheer simplicity with which it was done. The church of Damascus was not gathered together, there were no guest speakers, no pomposity or grandeur. Saul was instructed to arise and be baptized, and in the next verse, it merely states, “Then it happened.”
When the desire of our hearts is the will of God, we are unconcerned with how many men are witnessing the event, who the big name speaker is at our baptism, what manner of garment we wear, or a hundred other things that clutter our minds and hearts, keeping us from fully realizing what is taking place.
Ananias baptized Saul, and those of Judas’s house were present, but even though Saul had received his sight, at that moment in time he saw no one but Christ, and Christ crucified.
Saul was now a new man, with a new name, a name that is synonymous with faith, obedience, steadfastness, humility, and wisdom. Above all else however, Paul, the man who once was Saul, will forever be remembered for his limitless love for Christ, and the immeasurable gratitude and thankfulness he carried in his heart the rest of his days for the grace he was shown, the forgiveness he received, and the redemption that was freely given him. May we as wise servants, do likewise, and perpetually thank our heavenly Father for His love, His grace, His mercy, and His Son.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.