Day 14 – Bold Faith Together
The third and fourth chapters in the Book of Acts contain stories about action (“Acts”) for God in Christ by Peter and John, and the consequences they suffered for taking those actions. The believers respond to the threats against Peter and John by praying for more boldness – and praying together. That togetherness deserves to be highlighted, a togetherness which also can be seen in the way this passage is couched between two scriptures, Acts 2:44-47 and 4:32, that show us a cooperative early church. But before going on we must know what is meant by the term “boldness” here.
The Greek word for boldness, in our English letters, is parrhesia, and it can mean several things. It has much to do with speaking out loud publicly, and might be considered the opposite condition of, and maybe the antidote for, being afraid to talk in front of crowds – one of our society’s greatest fears. Yet, this boldness in speaking is not something coerced, but has an air of freedom to it; not quite casual but certainly open, unambiguous and plain-spoken. Undergirding it all is a confidence and assurance, connected with an authority and even license that actually comes from somewhere beyond the individual.
Of course, the ultimate authority and power for this boldness is the Lord. Yet, I want to accentuate that our authorization and strength additionally can come from being the People of God together, with common direction and purpose. That’s what attracted me in the first place to this community-wide emphasis on bold faith, and why I continue to support it through our congregation. It can cause us to encourage each other publicly, from congregation to congregation, to unambiguous boldness in faith. The outcome is something far beyond our individual and personal faith expressions, creating a community in Christ, in which the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Oh sure: we may have our differences. Yet, like the believers in Acts, let’s continue to pray for each other in our communal authentication of bold faith in others, in order to show the world around us the love of Christ in action!
We ought always to thank God for you … because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. (2 Thess. 1:3)