The Conversion of a Self Righteous Man
"As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?...So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” - Acts 9:3-4, 6
We all start with a certain disposition and personal bent in life as to what we believe about ourselves and others and God. We all can be sincere in our beliefs but we can also be sincerely wrong. We need to hear the living powerful word of God and respond accordingly and measure our goodness by God's standards, and not our own.
God's standard is perfect holiness. We cannot have any sin when we stand before the presence of a holy and righteous God. Since "the wages of sin is death" and "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God " (Rom. 6:23, 3:23), we need to put all of our trust in Christ and be "born again of the Spirit" (John 3:3).
This is why Jesus came to Saul of Tarsus who had been wrestling over the Person and work of Jesus inwardly to reveal that his form of righteousness was not good enough. As God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, "And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). Saul had witnessed the death of Stephen and heard him pray mercifully, just like Jesus did, which more than likely impacted his life as he was being dealt with by God which is implied in Jesus' words, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads".
Saul was persecuting the people of the Way, the Way of Jesus, and when Jesus appeared before him on the road to Damascus, He made it clear that to touch and strike His followers was to touch and strike the Lord Himself. Saul of Tarsus suddenly became aware that the Jesus he was refusing to believe in was now speaking to him and rebuking him and calling him unto Himself.
Saul had two key questions that were involved in conversion process:
1. Who are you?
2. Lord, what do You want me to do?
These are two questions every true follower of Christ must have a clear answer for.
There is no doubt that Saul truly saw the resurrected Jesus and he was never going to be the same. He finally realized that his background as a Jew and his religious zeal and practice as a devout Pharisee was not good enough. This self righteous man needed to be born again of the Spirit, which means to be converted to Christ.
Saul, or Paul the Apostle (His Roman name from birth and the name he would use going forward) confessed Jesus as Lord and now believed that Christ had raised him from the dead. He surrendered his life to the Lord and was now ready to devote his entire life to the very One he rejected and opposed and persecuted.
Three Conclusions After Saul’s Conversion - Jesus is definitely alive. - Jesus lives in perfect union with His Church. - Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) that he was waiting for. Thus, Saul has no reason to reject Christ anymore.
Saul summed up his testimony in 1 Timothy 1:12-14...
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus."
ACTS IN ACTION Challenge Point:
Write down your testimony of how Jesus saved you.
Consider what has changed the most in your life.
Be intentional to share what Christ has done.