Daily Bible Study Acts Daily Bible Study Acts Daily Bible Study Acts Bible Study
For the final installment of the Acts 9:1-21 passage, let’s look at what Saul/Paul experienced in light of current-day teaching about salvation, purpose, abundance, and service.
Saul is walking along the road to Damascus planning to capture and imprison any Christian he can find. This is not the picture of a man who is ‘on the ropes’ so to speak in contemplation of his need for faith in Christ. As a matter of fact, I do not see in scripture where anyone who follows Jesus took time to weigh the pros and cons of the intellectual information about God, Jesus, service, or anything… I also do not see preachers appealing to man’s emotions, his intellect, his goals, his desire for a purpose, his humanity, his concept of self-image, his felt-needs…none of that.
Anyway, back to Saul. Saul sees no need for Jesus. He believes himself to be in perfect alignment with God. Even though he is wrong, he firmly believes himself to be correct and he is so confident that he sets out to rid the world of Christians. Then Jesus selects Saul to be His!
Saul gets up from the ground a changed man. This change is not due to ANYTHING Saul did, thought, hoped, intellectually assented to…it is due only to the sovereign will of God.
Next, let’s look at purpose. Did Saul have a purpose. Yes, God had something in mind for Saul/Paul to accomplish. And boy did he accomplish some things! However, notice the purpose was God’s and not Saul’s thoughts/desires/need for a purpose. Saul was not ‘adding Jesus’ on top of his already carefully ordered life to complete him. Saul’s life was totally destroyed! God had dismantled everything about Saul’s life. Saul had been crushed on the rock of offense. Saul would be transformed so that he could have a purpose.
This is in stark contrast to things we hear today. God did not appeal to Saul’s self-esteem or felt-needs. Saul did not ‘make a decision’ for Jesus but was transformed by Jesus. Saul was not enticed into the ‘faith’ by adding Jesus on top of his goals to complete him. Saul’s purpose would be God’s purpose and this purpose would be nothing like Saul would have thought of on his own.
But what about abundant life? Doesn’t God want everyone wealthy, healthy, and wise? Saul/Paul would go on to say in coming years that he was totally content and had learned to be happy regardless of his circumstances. God did indeed give him an abundant life. However, this abundant life did not include driving a Merc, living in a posh estate, or being served by everyone. Saul’s life would be one of toil, turmoil, striving for the faith, running for his life, sitting in prison, and being accused of all manner of wrongdoings. God’s call for Saul/Paul was no prosperity message in earthly terms.
And finally, what about service? Everyone catered to Saul’s every whim once he was saved, right? Uh, no. Saul labored for God’s work. He taught, traveled, discipled, rebuked, debated, suffered, and served. He served more than he was served. God’s work was no prestige party or social event for Saul. It was work. Later Saul/Paul would reflect upon his work and regret nothing yet hope he could have done more for God.
Be careful of who/what you listen to today. False teachers are plentiful. Ear-tickling messages are everywhere. Listen to God’s word not man’s thoughts.