Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Saul's Conversion

"And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized." (Acts 9:18 NAS)

In Acts chapter 9 verses 1 through 18 we have the account of Saul's conversion from a persecutor of Christians to an apostle of Christ. In several of my most recent posts here it has been shown that in the early years of the establishment of the church that when a person heard and believed the gospel, accepting it, it always led immediately to baptism. The reader and Bible student must ask himself why?

With Saul's conversion we have the fourth such account with the same result. Verse 18 says of Saul that "he arose and was baptized." (Acts 9:18 NAS) The reader needs to take note of some things said in earlier verses.

Jesus in speaking to Saul on the road to Damascus says to him, "enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." (Acts 9:6 NAS) Just a few verses later we see the Lord sending a man by the name of Ananias to Saul. (Acts (9:11 NAS) Ananias was sent to Saul for more than one reason, to achieve more than one end, but I ask this - was not one end to tell Saul "what you must do?" If Ananias did not tell Saul what he must do then who did? It was not Christ for he could have done it on the road to Damascus if he was going to be the one who did it.

Now what did Ananias tell Saul? Did he tell Saul you need to have faith in Jesus? Did he need to tell him that? Had not Saul become a believer already? Did he tell Saul you need to repent? Had he not done that? If his experience on the road to Damascus had not wrought these things what would it take? What do you think he told Saul "you must do" as per the words of Jesus when Jesus said it would be told him?

The text said he "arose and was baptized." Why be baptized? Was it not because it "shall be told you what you must do" and baptism was the thing he must do? But, we do not have to guess at it or reason our way to this conclusion for we can turn to Acts 22:16 where Saul recounts his conversion experience and tells us what Ananias told him. "'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'" (Acts 22:16 NAS)

Now why was this a thing Saul must do? Because as the text in Acts 22:16 tells us baptism is for the purpose of washing away one's sins. As Peter said in Acts 2:38 it is "for the forgiveness of your sins." This is the very reason in every account of conversion that we have discussed those who believed were baptized. As Jesus said, "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16 NAS)

Is it so hard to believe Jesus? Is it so hard to believe Peter, to believe Philip, to believe Ananias? Judged by the belief and practice of the world it must be.

Tired of pep sessions and motivational speeches called sermons? Would you like to hear preaching like it use to be where you can learn something from the Bible versus what some theologian has said? If so why not listen to the preaching of Waymon Swain? Highly recommended by your author.

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