Shelby G. Floyd
Saul of Tarsus, the foremost persecutor of Christ and the church, did everything within his power to stop the movement of the early Christians. First, we take a look at,
Saul the Persecutor
And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
But after this took place he underwent a great change in his convictions and was converted to Christ. He was later to become the greatest salesman in history.
Saul’s Encounter with Christ
As he neared the ancient city of Damascus, Syria, a great light brighter than the noon day sun appeared unto him and a voice from heaven asked him why he was persecuting him. He asked, “Who are you Lord” (Acts 9:5)? And the voice spoke again and said, “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). Saul wanted to know what he must do. Jesus instructed him to go into the city and it would be told him what he must do. At this point, most preachers today would have said “you do not need to do anything but believe!”
It Will Be Told You What You Must Do
He went to a house on Straight Street and was in deep penitence for three days, neither eating nor drinking. The Lord sent the gospel preacher Ananias to speak to Saul, informing him that Saul was a chosen vessel to speak before kings, Gentiles and the house of Israel. The Persecutor was to become the Persecuted: “I must show how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).
When Ananias arrived, he at once stated that his mission was to restore his sight and that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately, Saul arose and was baptized (Acts 9:18). Jesus said that “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:15-16). Later, when Paul (formerly Saul) related his own account of his conversion he quoted Ananias to the effect that he was to,
Be Baptized and Wash Away Your Sins
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
The above scripture is an inspired commentary on Romans 10:13, that says, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” No one can call upon the name of the Lord without being baptized for the forgiveness of sin. All the examples in Acts of Apostles follow the example of Paul’s conversion to Christ. Sinners were instructed to believe in Christ as the Son of God, repent of their sins, confess their faith publicly and be baptized for the remission of sins. This plan is still in effect today. Any recommended plan that does not include these actions on the part of the sinner is not salvation by faith. “The faith that saves is the faith that obeys.”
Copyright © 2014 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd