Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. (Acts 26:19-20)
Three Things Every Man Must Do
The apostle Paul preached throughout the Roman Empire to kings, queens, dignitaries, governors, religious leaders, and more often the common man. His message was the power of the cross of Jesus Christ persuading souls of the grace of God. Sent by the will of God to the Gentiles, Paul never hesitated in declaring the unvarnished gospel of salvation. His message was radical to the thinking of his peers because it demanded personal accounting and a willingness to give up the pride of the heart in submission to one God. Further, the gospel did not save a man alone but required continued obedience in showing the manifestation of faith in works showing the good things of righteousness in the heart. Paul’s three-point lesson to King Agrippa illustrates the simple message of salvation that saves men then and will bring a soul to Christ today.
All men need to repent. The first word of the gospel is repent. John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus when he taught the people to repent. Jesus began His ministry with the same message. On the day of Pentecost, Peter’s first message was to repent. The early disciples went through the world preaching repentance. Without repentance, no one can come to God. The challenge of repentance is it will require a man to empty himself and many are unwilling to give up the rule of self-determination and accept the will of God. They say they have turned to God but without a penitent heart emptied of self-will. Conversion for the prideful heart is to declare allegiance to the Lord without having to accept the terms of God’s authority. Repentance demands an emptying of all of self. It realizes the need for salvation because of sin. There is nothing man can do to save himself apart from the grace of God. Repentance is the first sign of man’s submission to the will of the Father.
Every man needs to turn to God. Repentance pricks the heart with the sorrow of sin crying out for salvation but salvation is not granted yet. There can be repentance but without the act of turning to the Lord, hope is lost. No man can be saved by repentance alone. When Peter told the Jews at Pentecost to repent they had to turn to God to be saved. They heard the message of the apostles what they had to do to be saved and then turned to God in obedience. Jesus said in the mountain sermon that many will call upon the Lord but unless they do the will of the Father they will not be saved. Turning to God is the action of a contrite heart doing what the Lord requires a man to do to be saved. Salvation is not just a good feeling. Many believed in Jesus but refused to join Him. Refusing to turn to God will bring the wrath of God. Paul’s message of the gospel was for all men to repent and to turn to the Lord. And there is more.
The grace of God requires a follower of Christ to do works befitting repentance. A man must repent and then turn to God but this is not a once saved always saved type of religion where there is nothing more required of a man. Turning to God is the act of obedience to the will of the Lord and then works befitting the act of repentance. A man must prove they have changed by the good things they do. This is the message of Paul to King Agrippa who was an expert on the customs and questions of those things pertaining to the Jews. The king was not unaware of religious requirements as taught in the Law. Paul emphasized the same principles in the message of Christ that every man must repent and turn to God and do works that show their faith in the Lord. Without these works, there can be no salvation.
Paul’s words continue to resonate for lost souls today who must first change their lives through repentance and turn to God. There is no hope apart from the grace of God. All men stand to face the wrath of God if they do not repent. Turning to the Lord requires a life of devotion and worship to the will of the Lord. A man cannot be saved by grace alone nor is he justified by works alone. The character of obedience is three-fold with repentance, turning, and doing. There is no reason a man should be lost when the mercy of God is revealed in His word. Hearts turned to the message of the gospel will find God’s love in sending His only begotten Son and the blood that will cleanse them of their sins. What have you done? Listen to Paul. Repent, turn to God and prove yourself worthy of the name of Christ in works worthy of repentance.