When Paul stood before King Agrippa he plainly declared unto him the
experience of Godís grace in his soul. He recalls what he was before he
met the Redeemer, "after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived
a Pharisee" (Acts 26:5). Paul had religion, however he did not know God
and he hated the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; he said, "I truly
thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name
of Jesus Christ" (Acts 26:9). Then he describes how he was confronted
and conquered by the very person who he persecuted, the Lord Jesus
Christ (Acts 26:13-16). Paul also declares before King Agrippa the
purpose God had in raising him up out of religion and teaching him the
gospel of His sovereign grace. "to make thee a minister and a witness
both of the things which thou hast seen, and those things in the which I
will appear unto thee" (Acts 26:16). God has ordained the salvation of
His elect (Rom. 8:29-30). But remember, that He has also ordained the
means to call them out (1 Cor. 1:21). I would not exalt the messenger,
but I would exalt the means and make much of the preaching of the gospel
of Jesus Christ. Paul and any other man sent to preach the gospel are
only earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). God uses the word preached by sinful
creatures to the salvation of His sheep (Rom. 10:14-17). Paul also
describes to Agrippa the effects of true peaching to the elect of God,
"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from
the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins,
and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me"
(Acts 26:18). Here is a plain description of the work of grace in us
through the gospel being preached. Notice these things:
1). God opens the blind eye! All men are spiritually blind to the truth and dead in sin. God must command that spiritual sight be given so we can see the truth as it is revealed in the Word (Eph. 2:1; James 1:18).
2). God turns us from darkness unto light! Men love darkness rather than the light (John 3:19). Through the Word preached God commands the Light to shine in us, which turns us from self to Christ (2 Cor.4:6).
3). God grants to us the just forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:7; 1 Jn 1:7).
4). God gives unto us an eternal and rich inheritance! By His almighty grace He has chosen and adopted us into His family making us heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:15-17; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
5). God gives us faith to receive Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). Faith is not something that is native to the sinners heart, it is planted there by God.
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