To open their eyes - To be the instrument of informing their understanding in the things of God.
To turn them from darkness to light - From heathenism and superstition to the knowledge and worship of the true God.
From the power of Satan unto God - Της εξουσιας του Σατανα, From the authority and domination of Satan; for as the kingdom of darkness is his kingdom, so those who live in this darkness are under his dominion; and he has authority and right over them. The blessed Gospel of Christ is the means of bringing the soul from this state of spiritual darkness and wretchedness to the light and liberty of the children of God; and thus they are brought from under the power and authority of Satan, to be under the power and authority of God.
That they may receive forgiveness of sins - That all their sins may be pardoned, and their souls sanctified; for nothing less is implied in the phrase, αφεσις ἁμαρτιων, which signifies the taking away or removal of sins.
And inheritance - By remission of sins, i.e. the removal of the guilt and pollution of sin, they become children of God; and, if children, then heirs; for the children of the heavenly family shall alone possess the heavenly estate. And as the inheritance is said to be among them that are Sanctified, this is a farther proof that αφεσις ἁμαρτιων signifies, not only the forgiveness of sins, but also the purification of the heart.
By faith that is in me - By believing on Christ Jesus, as dying for their offenses, and rising again for their justification. Thus we see that not only this salvation comes through Christ, but that it is to be received by faith; and, consequently, neither by the merit of works, nor by that of suffering.
To open their eyes - To enlighten or instruct them. Ignorance is represented by the eyes being closed, and the instruction of the gospel by the opening of the eyes. See Ephesians 1:18.
And to turn them from darkness to light - From the darkness of paganism and sin to the light and purity of the gospel. Darkness is an emblem of ignorance and of sin, and the pagan nations are often represented as sitting in darkness. Compare the Matthew 4:16 note; John 1:4-5 notes.
And from the power of Satan - From the dominion of Satan. Compare Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9. See the notes on John 12:31; John 16:11. Satan is thus represented as the prince of this world, the ruler of the darkness of this world, the prince of the power of the air, etc. The pagan world, lying in sin and superstition, is represented as under his control; and this passage teaches, doubtless, that the great mass of the people of this world are the subjects of the kingdom of Satan, and are led captive by him at his will.
Unto God - To the obedience of the one living and true God.
That they may receive forgiveness of sins - Through the merits of that Saviour who died - that thus the partition wall between the Jews and the Gentiles might be broken down, and all might be admitted to the same precious privileges of the favor and mercy of God. Compare the notes on Acts 2:38.
And inheritance - An heirship, or lot κλῆρον klēronthat they might be entitled to the privileges and favors of the children of God. See the notes on Acts 20:32. Which are sanctified - Among the saints; the children of God. See the notes on Acts 20:32.
Which are sanctified - Among the saints; the children of God. See the notes on Acts 20:32.
If we have a sense of the long-suffering of God toward us, we shall not be found judging or accusing others. When Christ was living on the earth, how surprised His associates would have been, if, after becoming acquainted with Him, they had heard Him speak one word of accusation, of fault-finding, or of impatience. Let us never forget that those who love Him are to represent Him in character. MH 489.1
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 3:9. MH 489.2
The Lord Jesus demands our acknowledgment of the rights of every man. Men's social rights, and their rights as Christians, are to be taken into consideration. All are to be treated with refinement and delicacy, as the sons and daughters of God. MH 489.3Read in context »
This chapter is based on Acts 9:1-22.
The mind of Saul was greatly stirred by the triumphant death of Stephen. He was shaken in his prejudice; but the opinions and arguments of the priests and rulers finally convinced him that Stephen was a blasphemer; that Jesus Christ whom he preached was an imposter, and that those ministering in holy offices must be right. Being a man of decided mind and strong purpose, he became very bitter in his opposition to Christianity, after having once entirely settled in his mind that the views of the priests and scribes were right. His zeal led him to voluntarily engage in persecuting the believers. He caused holy men to be dragged before the councils, and to be imprisoned or condemned to death without evidence of any offense, save their faith in Jesus. Of a similar character, though in a different direction, was the zeal of James and John when they would have called down fire from heaven to consume those who slighted and scorned their Master. SR 268.1Read in context »
The Human Part and the Divine Part in Times of Conflict—Always the Lord gives the human agent his work. Here is the divine and the human cooperation. There is the man working in obedience to divine light given. If Saul had said, Lord, I am not at all inclined to follow Your specified directions to work out my own salvation, then should the Lord have let ten times the light shine upon Saul, it would have been useless. 2MCP 757.1Read in context »
Paul's labors at Antioch, in association with Barnabas, strengthened him in his conviction that the Lord had called him to do a special work for the Gentile world. At the time of Paul's conversion, the Lord had declared that he was to be made a minister to the Gentiles, “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. The angel that appeared to Ananias had said of Paul, “He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:15. And Paul himself, later in his Christian experience, while praying in the temple at Jerusalem, had been visited by an angel from heaven, who bade him, “Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22:21. AA 159.1
Thus the Lord had given Paul his commission to enter the broad missionary field of the Gentile world. To prepare him for this extensive and difficult work, God had brought him into close connection with Himself and had opened before his enraptured vision views of the beauty and glory of heaven. To him had been given the ministry of making known “the mystery” which had been “kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25),—“the mystery of His will” (Ephesians 1:9), “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof,” declares Paul, “I was made a minister.... Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:5-11. AA 159.2
God had abundantly blessed the labors of Paul and Barnabas during the year they remained with the believers in Antioch. But neither of them had as yet been formally ordained to the gospel ministry. They had now reached a point in their Christian experience when God was about to entrust them with the carrying forward of a difficult missionary enterprise, in the prosecution of which they would need every advantage that could be obtained through the agency of the church. AA 160.1Read in context »