Acts Chapter 26       Next chapter           Back to Bible Studies   

In this chapter, as he relates it to King Herod Agrippa, we have the most detailed account of Paul's conversion thus far in our study of Acts. The added information gives us a much more detailed idea of what exactly happened to Paul, and what the Lord Jesus said to him. Of particular interest is verse 14 regarding Paul kicking against the goads. First of all, this means that Jesus was saying to Paul that he was only injuring himself in the process of persecuting the Jews. Secondly however, it implies that He had perhaps been speaking to Paul all the time, but Paul had simply re-doubled his efforts against the Christians.

As we study Paul's 'conversion' it is important for us to consider our definition of 'conversion'. For many people this word means the change in a person's life from 'evil' to 'good'. However, we need to remember that Paul was, by his own admission, already a very religious person and, in his own eyes, very 'good'. Paul's conversion was from religion to Christ. This 'conversion to Christ' is the true definition of conversion, whether that be conversion from evil or from religion. A genuine conversion entails the laying down of our own lives and having Christ live His life in and through us. Hence, that is also the true definition of what a 'Christian' is.

In verse 18 we have, in the words of Jesus Himself, what the work was that He wanted to do through Paul for the Gentiles. There are five elements to this (and it gives us a very clear picture of what Christ came to do for us too): 1. To open their eyes, 2. To turn them from darkness to light, 3. To turn them from the power of Satan unto God, 4. That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and 5. That they may receive an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith.

Here we have, in one verse, the very essence of the work of Christ. We need to ask ourselves these questions: have our eyes been truly opened; have we turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan working in our lives to the power of God being visible; have we truly received forgiveness with the gratitude associated with that; do we know that we have that inheritance among the saints? ... Or have we just joined a religious organisation?

The following scriptures shed light for us on the above:

Isaiah 9:2 "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned."

Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour."

2 Corinthians 4:6
"For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."

1 Peter 2:9-10
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."

Ephesians 5:8
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."
 
Knowing about God is clearly not sufficient, for in verses 26 and 27 of Acts 26 Paul appeals to the knowledge that King Herod Agrippa had concerning the Law and the Prophets. Paul's words must have carried much power, for in verse 28 King Agrippa (in the original Greek) says: "I am almost persuaded to become a Christian..." How sad that even in our time this is true, that many are 'almost persuaded' but in the end cannot let go of this world and lay down their lives.