Paul and Agrippa

Acts 26:28  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
CT 26:28Agrippa, surprised and carried away by Paul's clear and straightforward narrative, relieves himself from the pressure of Paul's personal address by saying, "In a little you are going to make a Christian of me." Charity might have said, "Would to God that thou wert!" But there is a spring in the heart of Paul that does not stop there. "Would to God," says he, "that not only thou, but all those that hear me... were... altogether such as I am, except these bonds!"
What happiness and what love (and in God these two things go together) are expressed in these words. A poor prisoner, aged and rejected, at the end of his career he is rich in God. Blessed years that he had spent in prison! He could give himself as a model of happiness; for it filled his heart. There are conditions of soul which unmistakably declare themselves. And why should he not be happy? His fatigues ended, his work in a certain sense finished, he possessed Christ, and in Him all things. The glorious Jesus, who had brought him into the pains and labor of the testimony, was now his possession and his crown. Such is ever the case. The cross in service -by virtue of what Christ is -is the enjoyment of all that He is when the service is ended; and in some sort is the measure of that enjoyment. This was the case with Christ Himself, in all its fullness; it is ours, in our measure, according to the sovereign grace of God. Only Paul's expression supposes the Holy Ghost acting fully in the heart in order that it may be free to enjoy, and that the Spirit is not grieved.
A glorious Jesus -a Jesus who loved him, a Jesus who put the seal of His approbation and love upon his service, a Jesus who would take him to Himself in glory, and with whom he was one (and that known according to the abundant power of the Holy Ghost, according to divine righteousness), a Jesus who revealed the Father, and through whom he had the place of adoption-was the infinite source of joy to Paul, the glorious object of his heart and of his faith; and, being known in love, filled his heart with that love overflowing towards all men.
What could he wish them better than to be as he was except his bonds? How, filled with this love, could he not wish it, or not be full of this large affection? Jesus was its measure. J. N. D.