What happened to the acts of the Spirit?
The church during the medieval period was nothing like the early church, the one revealed in the Book of Acts. Any pretense of unity was lost in political strife. In 1054 AD the Eastern Church of the Byzantine Empire separated from the dictates of the Holy Roman Church. Forty years later Pope Urban 11 conspired with the Byzantine Emperor Alexios to join against the Muslims. So began the Crusades.
The Pope’s order was to free the Holy Land from Islamic rule making it safe for pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. Perhaps his true motive was to reunite the eastern and western church with him as the Pope? In either case war was waged in the name of God. How different from the acts of God’s Holy Spirit.
The ignorant joined the Crusades in hope of mass ascension into heaven with the freeing of Jerusalem. Men were promised the forgiveness of all their sins no mater how they lived. Others were fulfilling their feudal obligations while some sought glory and honor. And like all wars there was economic or political gain to be made by the opportunist.
Fast forward to today.
False hopes, forgiveness without repentance, duty for the sake of appearance, self- glorification and economic or political gain are still offered through organizations called “the church.” It has become comon for man to exhalt his morality above the holiness of God. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn their ears from the truth and will turn to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
But this is not the church that is being built by Christ. God pours out His Spirit upon those who come to Jesus, and has filled our heart with hope of the ressurrection. His truth and patience is leading us to repentance. We are being delivered from works that lead to death. Our obligation is to love God and our neighbor. The opportunities we seek have been ordained to bring our Father glory and honor.
May we mature in grace through the knowledge of God who has saved us. Perhaps then the acts of the Spirit will once again be common in Christ’s church.