The Trinity in Scripture: Acts 13. The Jealousy of the Trinity

There are several similarities between Acts 8 and Acts 13. Both passages speak of magicians, or sorcerers: Simon and Bar-Jesus/Elymas. Both of the magicians are influential: Simon with the population and Elymas with the leadership. Both of the magicians are confronted with the gospel and both men are confronted with Trinitarian rebukes. But whereas Peter seems to leave Simon with some hope of restoration, Paul offers no such hope to Elymas.

When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord. Acts 13:6-12

We see in this passage a vivid demonstration of the jealousy of the Trinity. Sergius Paulus summoned Barnabas and Saul to hear the word of God (the Father) that they were preaching. That word from the Father was the gospel of Jesus Christ, his Son. Elymas sought to turn Sergius “away from the faith” in the Messiah Saul and Barnabas preached. This aroused the righteous anger of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit moved Paul to proclaim that the Lord (Jesus) would judge Elymas for his sin by blinding him. Sergius, like Paul himself, responded to Jesus’ judgment of blindness by opening his eyes to the truth of the gospel.

God is a jealous God. He is jealous for his own glory. When Elymas tried to pervert God’s word; tried to keep another person from seeing the truth about Jesus; the Holy Spirit gave Paul the boldness to proclaim the Trinity’s declaration of war against such rebellion. Those who attempt to hinder the spread of the gospel face the same wrath today—and eternally.

It is important for Christians to realize, especially Christians today, that hell exists because of the love of God. God sent forth his Son into the world to bear the sins of all who would believe. At the request of his Son, God sent the Holy Spirit into the world to convict it of sin and righteousness and judgment. What else is the Father to do with a soul that rejects the eternal blood of Christ and counts it a common thing to be trampled upon? What else is the Son to do to that sinner who constantly resists and rejects the work of the Holy Spirit? Hell exists because God loves his son. Hell exists because it is the only place worthy of those who refuse such love. Our God is a jealous God.

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