May 6, 2010

Acts 26:20 - William Styles

Acts 26:20, “I,” Paul, “showed unto them at Jerusalem and to the Gentiles—that they should repent and turn to God,” etc. From this it is sought to prove that it was St. Paul’s practice to exhort men everywhere to repent spiritually as a natural duty.

It is conceded that “neither a national nor a legal Repentance (as some have averred) is here intended, but an evangelical one.”—Dr. Gill, in loco. It is, whoever, denied that St. Paul states that he preached evangelical Repentance as the duty of all men. He is describing the character of his ministry to King Agrippa, and informs him that the necessity for and the nature of Repentance were insisted on by him wherever he went. To regard his words here as a dogmatic statement would be to misapply them. He is speaking in the most popular and general way. It cannot be doubted that his method of enforcing Repentance was similar to that of the other apostles (whose way of preaching Repentance has been considered). The text before us may be regarded as parallel with Acts 20:21—“Testifying, or bearing witness to the Jews and also to the Greeks, concerning” the origin, nature, and necessity of “Repentance toward God, and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” To testify to Repentance is one thing. To command natural men to perform a spiritual act is another.

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