“Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18).
Paul was, in a special sense, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13)-the greatest of all those “sent forth” (the basic meaning of the Greek apostolos) to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. In our text, Paul is preaching to King Agrippa and is quoting the actual words of Jesus when He called him on the road to Damascus.
Note that, according to Christ Himself, the Gentiles were: (1) spiritually blind; (2) in darkness, (3) under the power of Satan; (4) without forgiveness; and (5) without hope of spiritual inheritance. They could receive deliverance and sanctification only through faith in Christ, and Paul had been called specifically to tell them so.
In the New Testament, the word for “Gentiles” (Greek ethnos) is also translated “nations” and “heathen.” The corresponding Hebrew word in the Old Testament is goi. That is, all nations outside God’s covenant people of Israel were called “Gentiles,” or “heathen,” or simply, the “nations.”
These important words of the resurrected Christ are, therefore, an urgent call to Christian missions, as well as an urgent warning to Christians not to be deceived by the ethnic religions which are increasingly dominating the New Age movement. There is no light in these, for they are in darkness. They are not alternate ways to God, for they are under Satanic power. There is no salvation in them, for they are yet in their sins. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). HMM