Article - The Conversion of Saul

Toward the end of Paul’s life he exclaimed “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15). There is little doubt that Paul had his former life as a persecutor of Christians in mind when he said these words. Yet, the change from Saul—The Persecutor to Paul—The Preacher is one of the great conversions of the New Testament. What steps did Saul take to convert to Christianity? Let’s notice Saul’s conversion from Scripture.

Saul’s great change was necessitated by an acceptance of Jesus and recognition of his sin. On the road to Damascus, Saul is blinded by the great light and accepts the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah (Acts 9). He believes in Jesus as the Savior. For a person to be saved today they must also believe in Christ (John 3:16; 8:24). Was Saul saved at the point of belief alone? No.

Saul also recognized and turned away from sin. Saul spent three days in prayer and fasting (Acts 9:9-12). During this time of fasting and prayer Saul made some serious changes in his thinking and in his life. This change is seen in the dedication Paul had to the cause of Christ (Philippians 1:21). For one to be saved today, he must also repent of sin (Luke 13:3,5).

In Saul’s conversion he also confessed that Jesus was the Messiah. When Paul realized that Jesus was talking to him on the road to Damascus he responded by saying, “Lord, what would you have me to do.” In this statement, Paul recognized that Jesus was Lord (master or owner). Today people must confess Jesus if they are going to be saved (Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32-33).

Up to this point in Saul’s conversion his sins have not been forgiven. Ananias, the Lord’s servant comes to Saul with one other command from God. Ananias tells 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). Saul was forgiven of his sins when he obeyed all of God’s commands, including the command to be baptized. Why was Saul baptized? Saul was baptized so that his sins could be washed away. In the plan of salvation, it is at the point of baptism that we contact the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5). There are a host of passages that teach the necessity of baptism in salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21; John 3:3-5). If men and women are going to be saved today, they too must be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38).

Friend, have you been converted like Saul? Was your conversion according to what the Scriptures teach? If not, then you have not been saved from sin. If you have questions or concerns we would be happy to help you. May God help you to make the right decision concerning salvation.

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