Acts 26:18 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.
Dak Prescott, the rookie quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, has had a tremendous year. The Cowboys improved from 4-12 last season to 13-2 and were serious Super Bowl contenders. However, no rookie quarterback has ever won the Super Bowl because they play most of the season in darkness, presented with defenses they have never seen, running offenses they have never run. (Most college quarterbacks run simple offenses with the quarterback in the shotgun. In the pros, the offenses are much more sophisticated, and the quarterback mostly lines up under center.) Instead of just reacting while on the field, they are constantly thinking and groping in the dark. Often times rookie quarterbacks, even if they are drafted in the first round, never play a down their first year so they can watch and learn. In the NFL, it takes several years for a quarterback to master an offense — to have his eyes opened and go from darkness to light. This enlightenment often happens in an instant, as if a switch had been turned on. The player often describes it as the game slowing down.
So it is for the believer. Before we come to Christ, we are in darkness. We may hear about Jesus Christ for years, but often there is some sort of epiphany, which happens in an instant, that brings us from the darkness to the light.
Acts 26:18 is literally talking about Gentiles (non Jews) who worshipped a pantheon of false gods (Baal, Molech, Diana, Zeus, etc.). Until Paul, on his missionary journeys, brought the gospel, these Gentiles were living in darkness — ignorant of the Old Testament and ignorant of God. Israel is a special nation in the eyes of God because he gave it a special mission: to bear witness to the God of the Bible, preserve his precepts and commands, and bring forth and bear witness to Jesus Christ, his son. Although most of the world prefers to live in darkness, people can know the truth and plan of God — be enlightened — through Jesus Christ (John 1:5).
Unlike the rookie quarterback, the spiritual enlightenment of this verse has a supernatural origin. That is, you cannot see Christ for who he is, Lord and Savior, apart from supernatural intervention. On the road to Damascus, Paul saw a great light and heard the voice of Christ, and when we make a decision for Christ, we also see a great light and hear his voice — not audibly but in our hearts. I came to Jesus Christ while reading the Book of Romans — it was then that I realized apart from Jesus Christ I was outside of God’s will.
All that said, most people choose to remain in darkness, as the maximum declares, “ignorance is bliss.” In America, there is a church on just about every block, and Bibles, in every language, in every book store. However, most people love their sin more than they love God and don’t want it exposed to the light. John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Prayer: Lord, give me the desire and the strength to live in the truth and to walk in the light.