Acts 8:1-3 "And Saul approved of their killing him (Stephen, the first recorded martyr).
That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison."
Reflection. There are some things I am certain of, very few things: my wife's love and that my children love me. I am a little shamed to say that l am more certain of this than I am of God’s love. What are you certain of? What concrete certainties do you hold?
Saul was absolutely certain that anyone who spoke for Jesus and His resurrection ought to die or at least be imprisoned. He was ravaging the church. Saul was so certain he was right but was certainly wrong! Don't judge him too harshly. There are so many things I used to be certain were right, and age and experience have taught otherwise. What about you?
Saul was on a mission to destroy the church, such was his certainty. He travelled far and wide. He even set off to foreign lands to carry out this work. And then he had a vision, he met the Risen Lord Jesus. He had a name changing moment. Paul was changed. He became a fantastic advocate for Christ. And, like Stephen, whose martyrdom Saul/Paul approved of, Paul was martyred. By the way, the word 'martyr' in the original language means 'witness.'
Now, here's the thing. It is OK to have open honest doubts. We are saved by grace through faith. We are not saved by our certainties - thanks be to God. We are saved by the grace of God. God loves us to the uttermost. God loves even me to the uttermost, of that l am (actually) certain!
Prayer. Lord Jesus, in my doubting please increase my faith. Amen.