The First to Rise from the Dead

“… to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”  Acts 26:18

The revelation that Jesus gave to Paul at and following his conversion is personal but not unique. The verse quoted above is in full accord with the Great Commission and all other occasions that Jesus spoke of the ministry of His disciples until He returns.

The Bible reveals that Jesus healed a number of people who were physically blind. This was testimony to His deity but was also a declaration that He could give spiritual sight to the spiritually blind. All of us who are born of God know the reality of this. We were blind but now we see and our joy will move us to want to see Jesus open the spiritual eyes of others.

Jesus said that He didn’t come to condemn people (John 3:17) but the next verse makes it clear that this is because people are already condemned. All people were brought under Satan’s jurisdiction in the Garden of Eden and Jesus came to deliver us from that authority into God’s authority. For this to happen, we must die and be created new.

This is why Jesus Christ came into the world, to die in the place of each person and “that He would be the first to rise from the dead” (Acts 26:23). In the process of the change of authority over the new believer, his sins are forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and in Christ resurrection he receives a shared inheritance with all who have trusted Jesus Christ.

It is inconceivable that anyone who has received this glorious Gift, at cost beyond measure and understanding to us, would not desire to have others also transformed by Jesus Christ. John wrote, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). If God is alive in us we will not have to try and artificially produce “love.” It is either there or it is not. If it is evident in our lives, then so is God, if it is not, then neither is God.

God’s love is the kind that gives what the other person needs (not necessarily their desires) no matter the personal cost. This is sacrificial and unconditional love. People need deliverance and forgiveness and this is only available in Jesus Christ.

Paul restated what Jesus and John had said before, that Jesus is the Light and we are witnesses of that light if indeed we have received it. In allowing His light to shine through us and not hiding it, He will open the eyes of people to the reality of their state in order for them to be delivered from Satan’s authority to God having their sins forgiven and gain an inheritance with all saints.

What a wonderful privilege we have! The Lord Jesus allows redeemed sinners to proclaim His Gospel. The love of God constrains us to tell others of the great salvation Gift available to them.

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