|Acts 26:14-18 |
14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks of your conscience,' [trying to warn you to stop your murderous persecutions].
15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said, 'I am Jesus whom you persecute.1
16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in which I will appear to you;
17 Delivering you from the [Jewish] people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I [Jesus] now send you,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, release from sin's slavery, and an inheritance among those who are purified by faith in me.'2
2 Paul was sent "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, release from sin's slavery, and an inheritance among those who are purified by faith in me." Acts 26:17-18 Paul speaks of faith as: being obedient to the leading of the Spirit. See Footnotes 3 and 4 to Gal 3:24-25. Such faith that is exercised can definitely purify the heart.
This was Paul's gospel. Jesus never said you could be saved if you say the sinners' prayer, or be baptized with water, or eat bread and drink grape juice; this is just heathenish ritual, the wide and broad way of that leads to destruction. Today's deficit sects, still captive to sin and the power of Satan, believe in a God whose favor is presumed to be granted due to their heathenish ritual and form of godliness. They deny a God of power, who can and is eager to free us from the oppression and captivity of sin, so that we can secure his promises, which require our holiness and purity. These deficit sects have defined a false gospel that promises an escape from Hell after death to those still sinning, and a false Jesus, who supposedly accepts sin, disobedience, and disregard of his own commands. Jesus said, he who doesn't love me, will not obey my teaching. As Paul said, "cursed is anyone who brings you a different gospel," a different gospel and different Jesus from what Paul preached. The deficit sects falsely preach a different gospel and a different Jesus than Paul, while completely ignoring, totally dismissing, and failing to believe the Good News that Jesus announced he had been sent by God to proclaim.