“And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice say to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; delivering you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to who I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive the forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’” (Acts 26:14-18)

The above statement was written by Luke as Paul’s statement to King Agrippa. The Lord Jesus spoke to Paul when the resurrected Jesus appeared to Paul near Damascus. Note these things: (1) the unconverted Paul’s acts of persecution against Christians abused the Lord Jesus himself. (2) The infinitely Jewish Paul (Galatians 1:13, 14) was sent to the gentiles as a minister and witness. (3) The converted Paul’s objective to gentiles was fourfold: to open their eyes, to direct from Satan’s dominion to God’s, to extend to them forgiveness of sins, and to make them eligible for the divine inheritance.

How would this be accomplished? The gentiles would be sanctified by faith in Jesus as being the Christ that God sent. The foundation of their faith would be God’s work in Jesus. How would the gentiles, these idol-worshipping people, see the light? They placed their faith in God’s work in Jesus. How would these people leave Satan’s control and place themselves under God’s control? They placed their faith in God’s work in Jesus. How would they receive forgiveness of sins and the inheritance? They placed their faith in God’s work in Jesus.

The beginning point of holiness for these unholy idol-worshippers was to place faith in God’s accomplishments in Jesus. Faith does not come from obedience. Obedience comes from faith. Faith in Jesus gives obedience meaning and significance. The person who trusts Jesus obeys Jesus. Without faith in Jesus, acts are just acts. A person obeys because the person trusts God’s acts in Jesus. Why do you obey? Do you trust Jesus?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 28 June 2009

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell