“Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26:8-9).
Paul had imprisoned and beat Christians. He had punished them often and far and wide, compelling them to blaspheme. Why? Because “I myself thought”. He thought he was obeying God, and he persecuted Christians in good conscience (Acts 23:1). But what he thought was the truth was not the truth. And coming face to face with the truth of Jesus being the risen Lord, he believed the truth and changed his will to obey the truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
King Agrippa needed to hear this. Just as Paul at one time thought one thing but when shown the truth changed his will and obeyed the truth, so Agrippa could change too. The king thought the resurrection to be incredible, but just because he thought God could not raise the dead did not make it so nor did it mean he should continue that thinking when faced with the truth.
Here’s the contrast we want to observe: “I myself thought” vs. the truth. Or, “I myself think” vs. the truth.
Someone may say, “I think it doesn’t really matter in the end whether one obeys the gospel of Christ, as long as he is a good moral person.” Another says, “I think God doesn’t care how we worship Him as long as it is ‘from my heart.’” Another may say, “I think sprinkling is close enough to baptism.”
What’s the trouble? I think. I thought. How about asking this: What does the Bible say? Of course in our culture of relativism, someone will be found to say, “I think it says this, and you think it says that, and it can be either way.” It sure is suspicious how that kind of reasoning is promoted and accepted by many in religion but is rejected, and rightly so, in every other aspect of life. Try it with the police officer: “I know you thought the sign meant to drive 55, but I thought it meant 75 would be ok.”
We will not be judged on the last day by whether we thought it would be ok to substitute something for what God has specified, or whether we thought we were pretty close to the truth, or whether we thought what we were doing wouldn’t really matter to God even though we can’t find it in His word. We will be judged according to the truth: “But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things” (Romans 2:2). And that truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:5). Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
On the day of judgement our works will be judged against the gospel of Christ (Romans 2:16). That inerrant, unchangeable, and indestructible Word of God will read the same then as it does today. So the question is this: Are you going to order your life by what is written in the Bible or by what you yourself thought? The right answer demands we give diligence to know the truth, and we can know it (John 8:32).