“When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, . . .” Acts 16:27
There had never been the slightest doubt in Paul that God, who started a good work, would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish. Paul was at peace in prison because Jesus had liberated him from his personal prison of pride, prejudice, and persecution. And also, setting the captives free was the supreme inaugural objective of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
Jesus came proclaiming freedom. He invites and challenges hearers then and now to enter the kingdom of liberation, to be set free by the Father’s love. There are many who, because of passivity, dependency, fear, and laziness, won’t make a move forward to freedom without first knowing every inch of the way, and proving each step of the way is worth it. This cannot be done, for the journey requires courage, initiative, and desperation.
The earthquake shook the cell doors open. It had also shaken the jailer’s heart open. In utter terrifying astonishment he cries out, “What must I do to be saved?” The jailer still had much to learn of the nature of sin and salvation.
All the shaking had broken down his barriers of resistance to the word of God. Now the power of the Holy Spirit, working through Paul, could open his eyes to the true character of salvation and his desperate and profound need of it.
Paul’s response was clean, clear, and concise. Only one broken soul could speak to another broken soul with such power. Only one who has experienced it can believe what the love of God is.
Salvation from first to last is God’s work of grace. But salvation has a human side, we have much to do to experience God’s great promise of salvation. We have to repent, seek God for ourselves, know His ways, and conform ourselves to God’s imputed holiness, without which none can see the Lord.
How are you experiencing the love of God? As theory, theology or truth?