Paul recounts the words of Christ and his conversion. I always considered this as a beginning of his ministry (to the Gentiles so that they might be forgiven for their sins).
17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.
26:17 The promise that Paul would be delivered from the Jewish people and the Gentiles must be understood as meaning deliverance in general until his work was done.
26:18 Paul would be sent especially to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Through faith in the Lord Jesus, they would receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified.
H. K. Downie shows how verse 18 is an excellent summary of what the gospel does: (4 R’s)
1. It relieves from darkness.
2. It releases from the power of Satan.
3. It remits sins.
4. It restores a lost inheritance.
Here is a verse on forgiveness that I really like:
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Believer’s Bible Commentary)
1:9 In order for us to walk day by day in fellowship with God and with our fellow believers, we must confess our sins: sins of commission, sins of omission, sins of thought, sins of act, secret sins, and public sins. We must drag them out into the open before God, call them by their names, take sides with God against them, and forsake them. Yes, true confession involves forsaking of sins: “He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).
When we do that, we can claim the promise that God is faithful and just to forgive. He is faithful in the sense that He has promised to forgive and will abide by His promise. He is just to forgive because He has found a righteous basis for forgiveness in the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. And not only does He guarantee to forgive, but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The forgiveness John speaks about here is parental, not judicial. Judicial forgiveness means forgiveness from the penalty of sins, which the sinner receives when he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is called judicial because it is granted by God acting as Judge. But what about sins which a person commits after conversion? As far as the penalty is concerned, the price has already been paid by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. But as far as fellowship in the family of God is concerned, the sinning saint needs parental forgiveness, that is, the forgiveness of His Father. He obtains it by confessing his sin. We need judicial forgiveness only once; that takes care of the penalty of all our sins—past, present, and future. But we need parental forgiveness throughout our Christian life.
When we confess our sins, we must believe, on the authority of the word of God, that He forgives us. And if He forgives us, we must be willing to forgive ourselves.
Another aspect of forgiveness was in Paul’s letter to the young Church at Corinth. This will require some further study on your part.
2 Corr 2:
9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.
10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,
11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
(Believer’s Bible Commentary)
2:9 In writing The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul had put the saints to the test. Here was an opportunity for them to show whether they were obedient to the word of the Lord, as ministered to them by the Apostle Paul. He had suggested at that time that they should put the man out of the fellowship of the church. That is exactly what they did, thus proving themselves to be truly obedient. Now Paul would have them go one step further, that is, to receive the man back.
2:10 J. B. Phillips paraphrases verse 10, “If you will forgive a certain person, rest assured that I forgive him too. Insofar as I had anything personally to forgive, I do forgive him, as before Christ.” Paul wants the saints to know that he is thoroughly in fellowship with them as they forgive the repentant offender. If he had had anything to forgive, he does forgive it for the sake of the Corinthians, and as in the presence of Christ.
I am afraid I am over my allotted time, but A. W. Tozer could have spent a ‘month of Sunday’s’ (that’s 30 weeks) preaching about this. If you enjoyed it, leave a comment.
Verse 11 reminds us:
Satan uses all manner of stratagems to turn souls from the truth:
a sieve to “sift” them (Luke 22:31),
“devices” to trick (as in our text),
“weeds” to “choke” (Matt. 13:22),
“wiles” to intrigue (Eph. 6:11),
the roaring of a lion to terrify (1 Pet. 5:8),
the disguise of an angel to deceive (2 Cor. 11:14) and
“snares” to entangle them (2 Tim. 2:26).