As the Apostle Paul stood before King Agrippa recounting the events of his Damascus Road transformational experience, he quotes Jesus’ actual words to him that changed his life from darkness to Light. In Jesus’ own words we are given the path to forgiveness of sin and salvation unto eternal life.
The Apostle Paul had been accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6) by preaching that Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified, was the Promised Messiah the Old Testament prophets had spoken of throughout the previous millennia. He spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah whom he encountered on his way to Damascus with orders from the high priest in Jerusalem to bring any believers in Christ he found back to the Holy City to be imprisoned for their faith. As a great Light brighter than the sun shone round about him on that designated road, Jesus delivered to him the way of salvation to God, the Father, for Saul who would become Paul and for all those who would follow (Acts 9).
Jesus spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus of opening the eyes to the Gospel, of which Paul wrote of in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “I declare unto you the Gospel… how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day.” Jesus then said what follows is what Paul needed to do, turn from the darkness to the Light, turn from the power of Satan to God, which is repentance. It is not enough just to know the Gospel; one must believe the Truth of the Gospel and turn away from sin, walking in newness of life based upon the commands of Holy God found in Scripture (Romans 6:4). In so doing, Jesus told Paul man would receive forgiveness of sin and an inheritance of eternal life, “sanctified by faith that is in Me” (Acts 26).
After being blinded by the great Light, three days later as soon as Paul’s sight was miraculously restored and along with his new life in Christ, he began proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, sharing first with those at Damascus, then Jerusalem and Judea, and then to the Gentiles, “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Doing works “meet for repentance” is not working for one’s salvation, but is doing works because of one’s salvation. Paul wrote to Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost: which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” (Titus 3:5). Salvation is of God, not of sinful man. God says all our righteousness is as filthy rags; we are all an unclean thing (Isaiah 64:6). There can never be a scintilla of righteousness in us apart from God and His redeeming grace.