Acts 26:17b, 18 - Sanctification by Faith.

Acts 26:17b, 18 - Sanctification by Faith.

Acts 26:17b, 18 (NIV)  I am sending you to them 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.' 

Acts 26:17b, 18 (AMP)  I am sending you To open their eyes that 
they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to 
God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their 
sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and 
purified by faith in Me. 

A world that lies in wickedness must be sanctified and reformed; 
it is not enough for them to have their eyes opened, they must have 
their hearts renewed; not enough to be turned from darkness to light, 
but they must be turned from the power of Satan unto God. All who 
are turned from sin to God, are not only pardoned, but have a grant 
of a rich inheritance. The forgiveness of sins makes way for this. 
None can be happy who are not holy; and to be saints in heaven we 
must be first saints on earth. We are made holy, and saved by faith 
in Christ; by which we rely upon Christ as the Lord our 
Righteousness, and give up ourselves to him as the Lord our Ruler; by this we 
receive the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal 
life. [Matthew Henry Commentary] 

  According to Gallup surveys, confirmed by other polls taken 
over the past fifteen years, 33 percent of all Americans over age 
eighteen indicate they are evangelical or "born again" Christians. That 
translates into 59 million Christians, or one in every three adults, who 
experienced a turning point in their lives as they made a personal 
commitment to Jesus Christ. 
  This information should grip us with terror. It means that the 
greatest revival in history has so far been impotent to change society. 
It's revival without reformation. It's a revival which left the 
country floundering in spiritual ignorance. It's a change in belief 
without a corresponding change in behavior.... 
  How did the building blocks of the gospel become glued 
together with the cement of self-centeredness? The American gospel has 
evolved into a gospel of addition without subtraction. It is the belief 
that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a 
change in belief without a change in behavior. It is a spiritual 
experience without any cultural impact. It is revival without reformation, 
without repentance.... 
  The proof of religious conversion is to demonstrate that we 
have both added a relationship with Christ and that we have 
subtracted sin (repentance). And we multiply proof to a weary world by what 
we do-our deeds, our obedience. What we do must confirm what we 
say. Our deeds are the proof of our repentance.... 
  A changed life is one that has added Christ and subtracted 
sin, that attracts a world weary of worn-out words. Obedience is the 
proof. (by Patrick Morley) [Inspirational SB re Jude] 

  God was working in your life long before you began working 
with Him. The Lord knew you before time began, and He knew what He 
wanted to do with your life (Je 1:5; Ps 139:13). Before the apostle 
Paul's conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Jesus already 
knew Paul and had a specific assignment for him. But Jesus only 
revealed this assignment after Paul's conversion (Ac 9:15). So misguided 
was Paul that in his sincere efforts to serve God, he had actually 
been waging war against Christians! Although God knew what He wanted 
for Paul, He waited to reveal it to him until He gained his 
attention and became his Lord. 
  Our Lord does not come to us to discover what we would like to 
accomplish for Him. He encounters us in order to reveal His activity and 
invite us to become involved in His work. An encounter with God 
requires us to adjust ourselves to the activity of God that has been 
revealed. God never communicates with us merely to give us a warm 
devotional thought for that day. He never speaks to us simply to increase 
our biblical knowledge. Our Lord has far more significant things to 
reveal to us than that! When God shows us what He is doing, He invites 
us to join Him in the work He is doing. 
  Are you prepared to meet God today? Don't seek to hear from 
God unless you are ready to ask, as Paul did, "What shall I do 
Lord?" [Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re 
Acts 26:16] 

The root of a refusal to respond to God is a failure to 
understand or acknowledge one's own sin and God's love in spite of it. When 
we see ourselves as we really are and truly understand the depths 
of God's love and mercy toward us, there's no other response but to 
bow before him. We show our love by responding to his love. We love 
... because he loved us first" (1 John 4:19). [The One Year Bible 
for New Believers re Acts 26]