Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.Acts 26:16-18
Here is the heart of Paul's message before King Agrippa — his own transforming experience with Jesus Christ, in which in a nutshell he lays the good news out before the king. What a marvelous declaration of the gospel! Here from the words of Jesus himself, as Paul recalls hearing them on the Damascus road, is an accurate analysis of the problem with humanity. What is the matter with people?
They are blind, Jesus says,
blind and living in darkness.
Two thousand years later that is exactly what is wrong with our world. People do not know where to turn; they do not know where the answers lie. They do not even know how to analyze the problems accurately; they cannot see what is happening. They cannot predict the end of courses they adopt nor of the forces which they loose. They do not know where we are going. They are utterly blind, like men staggering around in a dark room, groping and feeling and trying to find their way through the course of history. This sense of being lost pervades our society. Two thousand years later we can see the truth of Jesus' words. How accurately he analyzes the problem!
Then the Lord Jesus analyzes why men are blind.
Because, he says,
they are under the power of Satan. Behind the darkness is the great enemy of mankind, who is twisting and distorting the thinking of men, clouding their eyes, and spreading abroad widespread delusions. He has loosed into this world a great flood of lying propaganda. And everywhere today men and women have believed these delusions and lies.
You hear them on every side. All the commonly accepted philosophies of our day reflect the basic satanic lie that we are capable and adequate and independent, able to run our own affairs. You also hear that if you live for yourself, take care of
number one, you will find advancement and fulfillment in life. And you hear that material things can satisfy you, that, if you get enough money, you will be happy. All these lies permeate our society. That is the power of Satan.
But the power of the gospel is that it comes in to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the power of God. God has found a way to forgive men's sins, to wipe out all the guilt from the mistakes of the past, from all that they have done in their ignorance and enslavement to the lying propaganda of Satan, and to give them a resource from which they may live in fulfillment and strength. That is what Jesus means by
a place among those who are sanctified. How do you get this? Jesus says precisely:
By faith in me. That is why we believe him when he says,
I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man can come unto the Father but by me. We have no other choice, because it was Jesus himself who said that all this happens
by faith in me. Wherever men have turned to him, they have indeed turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the power of God.
Father, how grateful I am that this same mighty, delivering power is just as available to people today, that you can turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, and forgive their sins, and set them free, and give them an inheritance, a new position, a new resource from which they may live.
Have we been so impacted by Jesus, the Light of the world, that we are passionate to spread his Light into the deep, dark blindness that holds this world hostage to the enemy? Do our lives demonstrate the transcendent wisdom and power of Jesus? Are we spreading the fragrance of Jesus everywhere?