V 3. But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord.
Grace was at the centre of Paul’s preaching as he travelled from place to place establishing Christian churches. This brief episode in Acts 14 records Paul at a place called Iconium. (The present Turkish city of Konya is on the site of Iconium.) Paul had moved on there after being hounded out of Antioch by Jews as the message of Grace had been rejected by a number of Jews in the Synagogue. But this abuse by the Jews did not stop him preaching the message of Grace. Again, it resulted in a good number of people, Jews and Gentiles, believing in Jesus. However, another mob riot ensued; Jews and Gentiles set out to stone Paul and Barnabas, forcing them to leave the district and move on yet again.
It is significant to see that the message of Grace divided people; But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. (v 4) The message of Grace has often done that. It did so during the Protestant Reformation of the 15th/16th Century in Europe, when the Catholic Church of the day insisted that people had to submit to the Pope for salvation, and Grace was relegated to the sidelines.
The message of God’s Grace is utterly liberating; it sets us free from the constant striving to measure up to some perceived standard in order to gain salvation. Faith in Jesus is the way to take hold of God’s generous Grace, and so find salvation from the eternal consequences of sin.