to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'Acts 26:18(NASB)
Paul's appearance in the courtroom of king Agrippa, queen Bernice and Festus was to acquaint these dignitaries with the circumstances surrounding his arrest in Jerusalem. Paul's testimony was not a defence of himself or his conduct. It was an opportunity for him to proclaim the truth of the gospel before these noble people - for he was Christ's chosen instrument to bear His name "before Gentiles; kings and the sons of Israel".
Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. He knew it is the power of God for salvation to all who believes, and it was while on the witness stand that he summarised his encounter with the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Christ, on the road to Damascus. He related how he was told to get up and stand on his feet, because he was appointed as Christ's servant and His witness.
He was one to whom the hidden mysteries of the Church and the dispensation of grace were to be revealed at a later date. He was called to share the gospel with the Gentiles. He was to be the tool God would use "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light", just as Isaiah prophesied. "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped."
God was to use Paul to bring the good news of the gospel of grace to lost sinners, whose minds are blinded, by the god of this world, and whose eyes are closed to the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. He was "to turn them from the dominion of Satan to God and tell them that through faith in the Lord Jesus they would receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Christ".
Human hearts are hard and cold to the things of God and devoid of spiritual understanding. Truth is darkened by sin and our fallen nature has infected our soul, rendering all men dead in sin and at enmity with God. Paul was a chosen instrument to bring a knowledge of God to Adam's fallen race. He was to witness before Jews, Gentiles, kings and governors that faith in Christ will bring salvation to all who believe on His name.
The moment we believe we are justified before God and positionally sanctified. We are set apart for God - baptised into Christ and placed into His body. The gospel opens our eyes to the truth; brings light into the darkness and releases us from the power of Satan. It remits sin; returns us into fellowship with our heavenly Father and restores our lost inheritance.
From the moment we are born from above we receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance with all who have been positionally sanctified.. and from that time on, we begin a lifelong process of progressive sanctification.. as we are changed from glory to glory, into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus.
It is only by grace through faith in Christ that we are brought into the light. It is only by faith that our eyes have been turned from darkness to light. It is only by grace through faith that we are transferred from the dominion of Satan into the family of God. It is only by His grace we have received forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Him.
When Paul appeared before Agrippa, Bernice and Festus he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but proclaimed the gospel.. so that they too might have the opportunity to open their eyes and be turned from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God.. so that by faith in Christ they too may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Christ.
As children of God we have been brought into that Light. May we live as sons of Light and let our light so shine before men, in this dark world of sin, that the eyes of the blind may be opened to the truth of the gospel of grace.
Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my eyes to the truth of the gospel of grace and for bringing me into the family of God. Thank You that I have been forgiven of my sin and am among those who have been sanctified by faith in Christ. Lord there are many whose eyes are blinded to the truth and who remain trapped in the dominion of Satan. I pray that the eyes of their heart would be opened to receive the truth of the gospel. Thank You for the life and witness of Paul and I pray that You would use me as a light in this darkened world and a witness to the truth of the gospel of Jesus - in Whose name I pray, AMEN.