Second Chances: Saul to Paul
Paul wrote over half of the New Testament and traveled much of the then known world sharing the gospel, but he also suffered greatly. He didn’t start out this way and before his salvation caused much suffering to believers.
He was originally known as Saul, a native of Tarsus and was a Pharisee. We first meet Paul at the stoning of Stephen. We are told the “witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” In later writings he confessed to persecuting Christians before his conversion.
Saul was on the way to Damascus, in which he possessed letters that granted permission to persecute any Christian found. As he traveled a light shined “about him from heaven.” A voice said, “Saul, Saul, why persecute me?”
He asked who was speaking and the voice answered, “I am Jesus.”
He asked what to do and was told to “Arise, go to the city” and he would be told.
Scripture says that the men with him “stood speechless.” For three days Saul was blinded and he fasted during this time.
Ananias entered his house, laid hands on him and restored his sight. We are told the “scales” fell from his eyes and he was baptized.
In the beginning the Christians were afraid and did not believe his conversion. They were afraid he was attempting to trap them. Barnabas told the other disciples, “he had seen the way of the Lord.” He stated he received the gospel as a “direct revelation of Jesus Christ.”
His name was changed to Paul and he began to preach for Jesus Christ. He wrote numerous letters to the churches, travelled the then known world preaching the gospel on three missionary journeys, survived a shipwreck, was imprisoned, and endured other hardships. Scripture does not tell us how Paul died.
Paul was clearly given a second chance and became a great ambassador for Christ after he’d spent years persecuting the Christians.
So what can we learn from Paul?
- Even the most hard hearted can be changed
- Jesus wants to redeem us
- Jesus reveals himself to us in unique ways
- Dark can be changed into light
- In an instant God can turn our life upside down
- Even the most evil can be transformed into a life of compassion and love
- We have to take a stand for our beliefs
- Religion is easy but serving Jesus is dangerous. God wants us to be fully sold out for him.
- To us a person may not be worthy of a second chance, but to God they are
- Only God can save a soul from hell
- Anyone can be humble and powerful in their witness for Jesus
- Anyone can surrender completely to God
Who do you know that has had a Damascus road experience?
For others in the Second Chances series: