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Zeal for God


Fri­day. [Acts 8:40–9:19; John 6:48–54] Saint Paul de­fend­ed the Old Tes­ta­ment rou­tines so zeal­ous­ly at first, be­cause he was sin­cere­ly cer­tain that it was the un­al­ter­able will of God that these rou­tines re­main unchanged. He was not zeal­ous be­cause it was his fa­thers’ faith, but be­cause he was zeal­ous in bring­ing ser­vice to God. In this lay the spir­it of his life — to de­vote him­self to God and di­rect all his en­er­gy to­ward things pleas­ing to Him. Thus, in or­der to bring a­bout his con­ver­sion, or to make him stand for the realm of New Tes­ta­ment things rath­er than the Old Tes­ta­ment, it was suf­fi­cient to tan­gi­bly show him that God no long­er wants the Old Tes­ta­ment but rath­er the New, and that He has removed all of His good will from the for­mer and giv­en it to the lat­ter. The Lord’s ap­pear­ance on the road ac­com­plished this in him. There it be­came clear to him that he was not di­rect­ing his zeal where he ought, that he was not pleas­ing God by act­ing as he did, but was go­ing con­tra­ry to His will. This vi­sion of the state of af­fairs, with the help of God’s grace, im­me­di­ate­ly changed his striv­ings, and he cried out: emLord, what wilt Thou have me to do?/em (Acts 9:6). And from that mo­ment on he di­rect­ed all of his zeal to­ward what was shown to him, and he did not for­get this event for his whole life, but thank­ful­ly re­mem­ber­ing it, stirred up his zeal with it — not spar­ing any­thing to work for his Lord and Sav­iour. This is how all peo­ple act who have sin­cere­ly turn­ed to the Lord.