CONVERSION OF SAUL

(Acts 9: 1-22; chaps. 22 and 26) 

THE first mention of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 7:58). 
His life as a Pharisee and persecutor of the Chris- 
tians (Acts 8:3; 26:9-11). He was sincere in his 
religion before he became a convert of Christianity, 
and, at the same time, absolutely wrong. Saul was 
following the dictates of his conscience while perse- 
cuting and destroying the churches. We can follow 
conscience and be in the wrong oftentimes. Do you 
remember a time when you were sincerely in the 
wrong? We can follow conscience only to the extent 
that human conscience is trained in accordance with 
the Word. We must follow the conscience of God as 
revealed in the Book. 

The story of the appearance of Jesus to Saul, on 
the road to Damascus, briefly related. The conclusion 
of the story in the house of Judas. We shall study 
this conversion under three headings: 

1. What Jesus did. He appeared personally to 
Saul on the way to Damascus. Why? To tell him 
what to do to be saved? No. To pardon him? No. 
After the ascension, Jesus never appeared to any one 
to pardon sins. Why? Because God has ordained a 
law of restoration or pardon (Mark 16 : 16 ; Acts 2 : 38). 

Why did Jesus appear to Saul in person? To make 
him an apostle (Acts 26:16-18). To be an apostle, a 
man must have seen the risen Christ (Luke 1: 2; 2 Pet. 
1: 16). Saul was a chosen vessel (Acts 9: 15) ; i 1 born 
out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8). 

Jesus then appeared in a vision to Ananias (Acts 
9: 10-12) ; for it was the plan of God that the sinner 
should be told what to do by the preacher, as in the 
case of Philip and the eunuch. The divine part ended 
when preacher and sinner were brought together (Rom. 
10:17). 

2. What the preacher did. He went to the house of 
Judas, where he found the sinner in a penitent condi- 
tion. He instructed him what to do (Acts 22:14-16). 

3. What the sinner did. 

a. He believed. Jesus appeared to him on the road 
to Damascus. Hitherto he had been a persecutor of 
the Christ and His followers. But the moment he 
listened to the voice of Jesus, he believed. He knew 
he had been in the wrong (Acts 22: 10; 26: 14-18). 

b. He repented. From that moment his entire atti- 
tude was changed (Acts 26:19). He was willing to 
do whatever the Lord commanded (Acts 22:10). He 
went into Damascus, to the house of Judas, at the 
Lord's command. There he waited for three days in 
a penitent condition (Acts 9:9). 

c. He was baptized. He was a penitent believer 
when Ananias found him. Therefore, there was but 
one thing left for him to do (Acts 22: 16). How was 
he baptized? What was the action? Let him answer 
himself (Rom. 6:3-5): "Know ye not, that so many 
of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into 
his death? Therefore we are buried with him by bap- 
tism unto death." Note the pronouns "us" and "we," 
by which Paul includes himself among those buried 
with Christ by baptism. This last action put him into 
Christ (Gal. 3:27). 

Paul's conversion was genuine. He brought forth 
the fruits of real repentance. From a persecutor of 
the Christians, he changed into the matchless champion 
of the true faith. While he was once a Pharisee of the 
strictest sect, he was now a loyal, consecrated Christian. 
He was a powerful minister because he was educated. 
He became a matchless logician and author. He was 
loyal to the gospel and consecrated to the service of 
Christ (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 2:2; 9:16; Phil. 1:21-24). 
He was courageous and bold. Notice his display of 
courage on Mars' Hill (Acts 17) ; and at Ephesus 
(Acts 19) ; and in the presence of Agrippa (Acts 26). 
He endured all manner of persecution for Christ's sake 
(2 Tim. 3:10, 11; 2 Cor. 11:23-33). Witness also his 
marvelous faith (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Would that we had 
to-day ministers of the gospel as loyal, as courageous 
and as consecrated as Paul!