Acts 26:17-18 (New International Version)
17 “… I am sending you to them 18 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.”
Saul of Tarsus was going about his business when he was dazzled by a light, brighter than the sun. When he opened his eyes again he could see nothing. Later, Ananias placed his hands on Saul and Saul’s sight was restored. This incident may lie behind the words we read today. Either way, the words we read today are a compact expression of the gospel.
Jesus sent Paul on mission to those in the dark:
- to open their eyes
Spiritual blindness is a dreadful affliction. Until someone’s spiritual eyes are opened, they cannot see the most patent spiritual truth.
- to turn them from darkness to light
Walking with God and walking without God are complete opposites. One is darkness and leads to death. The other is light and leads to life.
- from the power of Satan to God
Evil is real. Satan is real. The Christian journey is not from neutrality to God, but from Satan to God.
- so that they may receive forgiveness of sins
Here is the core of the gospel – forgiveness of sins.
- and a place among those who are sanctified
The result is holiness of life, good deeds that reflect one’s new orientation.
- by faith in me
All this is by trust in Jesus.
In other words, the unfolding of mission is to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, to turn them from the darkness of Satan to the light of God, with the result that their sins are forgiven, and that they live a loving and pure life. And all this through faith alone in Christ alone.