Reading in Acts 26 this morning ( . . . almost afternoon . . . I so enjoy Mondays!). Paul is speaking before King Agrippa, telling his story in defense of the accusations laid against him by the Jews. And as I read again of his story, I find a reminder of my own story. Paul’s commission having become my experience. And it reminds me of my place in the Son.
“And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, . . . I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'”
(Acts 26:15-18 ESV)
There I am! That’s my place! A place among those who are sanctified by faith in the Person and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. A place in the Son.
Once an enemy of Christ, once in opposition to the claims of the cross, Paul encounters the risen Son of God. He is miraculously saved from zealous blindness and wonderfully redeemed with a life-changing purpose. And the Lord of light graciously appears to Paul and gives him a message. A message of good news. What we call the gospel. The gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). And for those who receive and believe the gospel there is a place.
A place revealed as, by God’s grace and the Spirit’s life-giving power, eyes are opened and people once of the night are given sight as to the things of the day. Self-centered understanding being replaced with heavenly focused revelation. Eyes opened such that people are delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the beloved Son (Col. 1:13).
What’s more, the chains of the power of Satan are broken. Bondage to sin and rebellion left behind as Jesus, by His abiding presence, leads us in exodus toward freedom and obedience through “His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2Pet. 1:4).
In all this He forgives my sin, justly and eternally. The price for my transgression paid in full by Another. The wages of my sin completely and forever tendered by the Son who came as the Lamb (John 1:29).
As such, there is a place for me among those who are sanctified by faith.
Sanctified. Set apart. Made holy.
True of my past, as the Father, in sovereign grace, has set me apart that He might give me to His beloved Son. True of my present, as that same Father has determined to form within me the image and nature of that same Son by the indwelling, ever present, Spirit (Rom. 8:29). And set apart for the future through promise. When one day the sons and daughters of God will be revealed, having been gloried and physically brought into His glorious presence (Rom. 8:18-23).
That’s the message Paul was given for those with ears to hear. That’s my story because God, by His grace, gave me such ears almost 40 years ago.
And since that day, not only have I been given a place in the Son, but He continues to remind me of that place and to lead me to consider afresh the breadth and length and height and depth “of the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” so that I might be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). To noodle on all that’s encompassed by having a place among those who are sanctified.
My place by faith. My place in the Son.
Solely because of mind-bobbling grace. Only for His ever-to-be-declared glory.