When it comes to the story of Saul, who later became Paul, we learn about God’s great mercy for the wicked. That there is time for these people to be reconciled with Christ before death has its sting on these opportunities. When you look at Saul and his life before Christ, he was so lost and didn’t even know the terrible things he was committing. Surely, what he was doing to the followers of Jesus was awful and would surely be punishable by God in judgment. However, in everything Saul did that was to stop the gospel of Jesus Christ from being spread, the Lord Jesus never gave up on him and what he could eventually do for His kingdom. It didn’t matter that in his heart there are all this hate and bitterness towards the people of God or not. This may be hard to understand but think about your own life. Isn’t it is so good that the Lord God has not allowed you to die in your sins, but has rescued you from your sinful nature? God knows that each of us are lost and without a Shepherd, therefore Jesus has stepped in to call His sheep. And know that those that he calls aren’t always the best people but instead, adulterers, fornicators, porn watchers, drug users, alcoholics, murderers and more does he call to Him daily. Everyone that has ever lived has had the chance to be saved, even the most vile of person that we know now. It is through the blood of Jesus that we are cleansed and that our thoughts and actions are conformed to His.
In Acts 9:1-8, we read about the type of person Saul was before he came to Christ. You will see how he treated the saints of God and later his experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Pay close attention to what Jesus said to Saul and his response in verses 4 through 6. Please read these verses below…
Acts 9:1-8 (KJV)
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul write about those that will not inherit the kingdom of God and who will make it. This is the same Saul, who’s name was later changed to Paul (Acts 13:9), after coming to know Him. Pay close attention to verse 11. This gives every vile sinner hope for a new life in Christ. Please read these verses below…
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
In Acts 9:9-20, we learn more about what happened to Saul, after seeing Jesus. We learn that he was blind for three days and at the same time could not eat or drink. It was Ananias that God sent to visit Saul and restore his sight. And he did this, as the Lord told him that Saul was a chosen vessel to bear His name. He then was filled with the Holy Spirit and immediately was baptized. It was the Spirit of God that then moved Saul to start preaching about “Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” Please read these verses below…
Acts 9:9-20 (KJV)
9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
Surely, God did not have to save Saul from the judgements that awaited the wicked and punishment of hell, but He did so anyways. The same can be said for anyone that decides to follow Jesus. It does not matter the life we are living now. Any person walking in willful sin can be awakened in Christ Jesus and be led away from those things and into His love. Every sin God knows about and is beckoning us to forsake them and come unto Him for restoration. He knows that we are not capable of escaping the chains of addiction (drugs, alcohol, porn), anger and lying issues, along with temptation, on our own will. Only the Lord can rescue us from such filth in our lives. All it takes is trusting in Jesus to make this happen. Unfortunately, not everyone will have an encounter like Paul did, but still, the Lord will come unto you in a different way, that you may be saved. He comes to us in visions, dreams, prayer, the Bible, and other people. There are many avenues the Lord will take, in order to bring us to Him. So I ask all of you to make a decision to commit your lives to Jesus today. No longer put this off but go all in. If you did this, the Lord will sanctify you, as He sanctified Saul and myself. In doing this, the Lord will make you strong to resist temptation and build you up with His armor. Then, the Lord will use you in a big way, similarly that He did with Saul. Your life will never be the same again. There is only true joy and happiness with the Lord Jesus Christ. In His name there is salvation through the cross. What a gracious and forgiving God we serve.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray that many people will read and hear the conversion story of Saul, who later became Paul, and be uplifted by his story. What took place in his life was truly remarkable indeed, for he was as wicked as you could get and You still had compassion on him. You took a person like him, who persecuted the church, and used him for Your kingdom. This truly gives us all hope. It not only shows Your amazing grace and how forgiving You are, but that any one of us can come unto You for forgiveness also. We may have anger and rage in our hearts but through Your peace, we are healed. We may be addicted to porn, drugs, or alcohol but through Your power, we are able to escape the bonds of sin. Even temptation will not easily cause us to fall, for Your armor is able to build us up. As with the story of Saul, You did not cause Your wrath to be upon him, but instead caused Your mercy to fall upon him, even in the place he was at. You are a just God who does punish the wicked but also gives the wicked a chance for a new life, if they come unto You. Surely, You are a gracious God, full of mercy and goodness. This I know, for You have shown it to me, through Your presence. I know that I should have also died, while I was in my sins and be sent to hell, but instead You came unto me. In this, I listened to Your call. On my knees I fell and called upon You, Jesus. I was done with a life of sin and shame and was ready to follow You. What a wonderful day that was Lord. It was the beginning of this new life that You’ve given me. I am safe, because I am Your arms forever. I love You Lord. Amen.