In today's readings in Acts 26 we read of Paul's defense, delivered before King Agrippa and Festus. Paul as been accused by the Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 24:1-9), and in the course of his defense, Paul talks about the vision of Christ he had on the road to Damascus, and the command of Christ that he go and be a witness (26:15-18). And then he says that is what he did ("Therefore O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared..."), first in Damascus, then Jerusalem and then Judea and beyond.
The message he preached and declared is summarized at v. 20: "that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance."
Performing deeds in keeping with repentance. This is an important phrase. We are sanctified, made clean/righteousness, by faith is Christ (end of v.18), with the righteousness of Christ imputed or credited to us. But the command remains, to perform deeds in keeping with repentance. On first blush, I take it to mean two things:
1. In the context of your own sins, repent, and perform 'better' deeds, deeds and acts different from the ones you practiced in your sin. You are saved to God by faith, imputed with the righteousness of Christ, your new advocate before the Father. But the text says something about 'your' repentance, and to me it suggests your respective repentance, your change from your sins to the new man/new woman. Put away your sins, your old behavior. The good deeds they/we are to do must be in keeping with their/our repentance. This reading is subject to further study. One risks reading too much into the word 'their.' IF it does not mean in the individual sense of contrast, new life vs old sins, it means, at a minimum, repent, as in the next point, below.
2. The second and main point is that we must be different in our new self. We must all, no matter our past, perform deeds in keeping with repentance. We can not profess faith, repent, and allege allegiance to Christ without change. Christians are to perform good deeds, and it is intimate to the conversion we experience, and as we grow in grace, as we grow in faith, as we walk with Christ. We are not saved by good works, but we must walk as he walked, we must do good. We must seek to do the good, that God has actually ready for us to do! In his letter to the Ephesians Paul writes "For we are his [God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
Derek Butler - I am a Christian, husband, father, son, brother, friend, reader, et al, all inadequately. This blog is a tool to encourage daily bible reading, for myself and others.
Click above to access the 5 Day Reading Plan used here. I am using the 5 readings Monday through Friday, with other postings on topics of interest Saturdays and Sundays.
Some Favorite Sites
Desiring God Ministries
Bible Design Blog
Calvary Baptist Church