This passage provides us with an example of how misled a sincerely wrong person can be. Paul, despite his zeal, did not know the true God even though he was sincerely religious. He was sincerely deceived. Jesus basically asked him, "Paul, why do you continue to beat your head against the wall by following the path you are on?"
Can we hear in that question His expectation even of the unconverted? There is in the unconverted some minimal level of understanding and repentance that enables them to see that their values are wrong and to change to those coming from a different, far better Source—Him. If He expects that of them, what does He expect of us whose minds have been opened?
Paul's conversion led to many being given the opportunity to change their values more fully. However, the fact remains to this day what king David wrote and that Paul later quoted in Romans 3:11, "There is none who seeks after God." Carnal people are so imbued with their own systems that they will not change unless essentially forced to.
Satan has the world so deceived (Revelation 12:9) that God is veiled from the eyes of their understanding, so Satan is the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4) and the source of its ways of living. He is worshipped and responded to by all of mankind. Unless God moves to change our values (John 6:44), we rarely change for the better. When God does move, He demands repentance of us and then loyalty to Him in our lives from then on.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Acts 26:18: