Pastor's Pen

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” Acts 16:14

In every location where Paul preached, there were those who embraced his message and others who rejected it. The ones who didn't believe did so by pushing the message aside, deeming it foolish and beyond their understanding. It's akin to an inability to grasp the significance of the gospel. This resistance is rooted in a mindset that opposes God and is incapable of adhering to His laws, as described in passages such as Acts 13:46, 1 Corinthians 2:14, and Romans 8:7.

Those who hear the gospel and reject it are described as avoiding the light, fearing that their deeds will be revealed (John 3:20). Their understanding is clouded and darkened due to ignorance and a hardened heart (Ephesians 4:18). This ignorance is not innocent; it's a willful neglect of the truth. Despite the truth being accessible, they choose to suppress it through unrighteous actions (Romans 1:18).

Even though everyone is in a state of rebellious hardness of heart and trespasses, some believe. The book of Acts provides several explanations for this. One of them is that some are appointed to believe. For instance, when Paul preached in Antioch of Pisidia, it's mentioned that the Gentiles who believed were those who were appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48).

Another way to understand why some believe is that God grants repentance. When the believers in Jerusalem learned that Gentiles were responding to the gospel, they acknowledged that God had granted repentance leading to life for the Gentiles as well (Acts 11:18).

The most straightforward answer in Acts to the question of why a person believes the gospel is that God opens the heart. An illustrative example is Lydia. Acts 16:14 states, "The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul," revealing that her belief was a result of God's intervention, opening her heart to receive and understand the message.

If you are a believer in Jesus, consider that you were appointed to believe, granted repentance, and the Lord opened your heart. Reflecting on these aspects, your life should be marked by continual gratitude and amazement at the miraculous reality that you are a believer.