Luke records three accounts of Saul’s conversion in the Book of Acts (Acts 9:1-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18). The conversion of Saul is not only a powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it also provides more evidence of God’s plan of salvation.
Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute more Christians (Acts 9:1-2; 22:4-5; 26:9-11), when a very bright light shone around him from heaven (Acts 9:3), and he fell to the ground. A voice began to speak to him in Hebrew (Acts 26:14), saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (9:4-5).
Trembling and astonished he asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). When Saul arose from the ground he could not see and had to be led by the hand into the city. He was in Damascus for three days without sight, and he neither ate nor drank (Acts 9:8-9).
The Lord sent a certain disciple named Ananias to Saul to restore his sight (Acts 9:17-18; 22:12-13), to tell him why the Lord appeared to him and how he will be a witness of what he has seen (22:14-15). Then Ananias said to Saul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
The “Conversion of Saul” is a powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What other reasonable explanation can be given for the drastic change from chief persecutor to chief proclaimer of the Christian faith?
But when was Saul saved? Some state that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus when the Lord appeared to him. Others claim that he was saved through saying a sinner’s prayer? Remember he had been praying and fasting for three days. However, we must remember that the Lord said it would be in Damascus where he would be told “what you must do” (Acts 9:6).
Saul was not saved until AFTER he arrived in Damascus and obeyed the Lord (Heb. 5:9). In Damascus, Ananias told him to “wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). Up to that point, Saul was still “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). In other words, he was still not saved! He now believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 9:5-6). He demonstrated repentance with his prayers and fasting for three days (Acts 9:9, 11). But his sins were not forgiven (Acts 2:38) and washed away until he was baptized into Christ (Acts 22:16).
How sad that so many believers in Christ today continue to reject his command to be baptized so that their sins can be washed away by His blood (Mk. 16:16; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-6). Please visit us at www.biblework.com.