But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles…
Three great themes are here announced by Paul. They stand in close relation with one another. The chain of truth and of highest duty is short, of three links, but most strong and most useful. The apostle, describing his own great work as the first evangelist to the wide world, describes for all time and for all place the work of the evangelist. However far beyond religion may go, may be taught, may develop itself to an opening eye, a quickened imagination, a deepening heart, and an inspired outlook, it begins here, and rests on these three things. The preacher of Christ to humanity must preach -
1. Conviction of sin.
2. Deep sorrow for sin.
3. Confession of sin.
II. THE CONDITION - THAT MAN "TURN TO GOD." There is, no doubt, a crisis in the inner life, in the very man himself, called fitly the turning to God. Let it be produced as it may; let it be concealed or manifest as it may; let it be short and sharp and very defined to day and hour, or the reverse; yet this is a fact in the moral spiritual history of one called by Christ and obeying that call. So much so that the call itself shall in part be worded thus: "Turn;" "Turn to God;" "Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die?" The reversal of the old life, old character, old principle of action, cannot be more plainly asserted as a necessity.
III. THE NECESSITY - OF PRACTICAL HOLINESS OF LIFE. Christ will not allow profession, will not accept mysticism, does not acknowledge vague dreaming, nor admit the idler. Change from the old, honest departure from the past, reality of a new future, are his watchwords. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
WEB: but declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.