Tuesday, February 21, 2017

advantage: divisiveness

And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.
Acts 23:7

God used generations of theological divisiveness to save Paul's life in the Sanhedrin's trial of him. Paul was accused before the Jewish religious authorities of breaking the Law by bringing a Gentile into the inner courts of the temple. But this was a manufactured accusation with no factual support. As he stood before the governing body, composed of both theologically liberal and ultra-conservative Jews, his stated belief in the resurrection of the dead (the centerpiece of the gospel's power) became the issue dividing those who were judging Paul. Paul boldly declared his conviction and let them degenerate into bickering from there.

The Sadducees disavowed all miraculous theology, including resurrection, while the Pharisees believed in all that is miraculous. The Sanhedrin's effort to attack Paul quickly splintered off into a sort of theological cage match. As Paul's stated faith sided with the Pharisees, they switched to his defense strangely, and soon the Sanhedrin was in chaos. God used theological fighting to advance the gospel ministry of Paul. How wonderfully sovereign!

The Roman tribune was so afraid of the physical violence that erupted from the frenzied mob of distinguished clergy that he took Paul out of the Sanhedrin by force. Paul is rescued by Rome and by the sovereign God Who uses even theological bickering in the tapestry of His wisdom to advance the gospel.

God is in control, even when human disagreement turns dangerous or violent. He will work His will even when people cannot figure God out. He can use even our struggles ove theology and scriptural teaching to advance His goals. You cannot understand God's power if you only allow humans to be saccharine in their interactions with one another. Even the most deeply rooted of human arguments will be won by God!

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