There are many features about the conversion of Saul that we tend to think are unique to him and we never see the same character flaws in ourselves. His hatred of disciples of Jesus who belonged to “the Way” seemed ‘over-the-top’ and extreme. As Saul traveled the road toward Damascus, he carried papers that authorized him to find “any belonging to the Way, men and women, [and] bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). Would they be put in prison and eventually come to the same fate as Stephen – death?
Before we think that Saul was in a category of persecutors and murders, let us remember the words of Romans 5:10; “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Read that again; “we were enemies” includes all of us. It began at birth with a sin nature inherited from Adam (5:14) that rebels against God. As we see this truth, it is impossible to put Saul in a separate category as a worse sinner than us. True, Paul calls himself the “worst or foremost” sinner (1 Timothy 1:15), but that was because of how he felt the seriousness of his previous life.
There is another feature of Saul’s conversion that perhaps is not as common to us. As he pondered the Lord’s words to him on that road, and waited for Ananias to come, he prayed. What he prayed and how is not given us, but that is not the point. Saul began his new life in Christ by prayer. No wonder he begins many of his letters telling churches and individuals he is praying for them.
Perhaps your conversion did not begin with prayer, but it must become an essential feature of your walk and life in Christ. Through this habit, we fellowship, receive understanding and learn to wait on the Lord for grace, spiritual strength and courage to walk faithful to Him.
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