For by grace are ye saved
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
This is surely, the testimony of Saul, who would become Paul.
Yet he was not a man who sought out the truth….but he was an enemy….relentless in his hatred of “this Way”….who found grace from the Lord of this Way.
Saul, a self-righteous Pharisee….a man determined to seek out and destroy all who believed in Jesus of Nazareth…
…yet, his testimony was….
“Touching the righteousness of the law, blameless”.
In all things concerning his love of his religion, and his good character….his zeal for God….that God was the true God…
…he was righteous.
Yet he was fighting against God,…..and knew it not.
Saul had “made havoc of the church” (Acts 8:3), “committed them to prison”.
But their blood was not enough….”yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1)…..
….so he took his campaign of destruction to Damascus.
Till…”suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:” (Acts 9:3)
(Later, Saul/Paul would give this testimony:
1 Timothy 1:16 “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.”
Saul/Paul was really the preacher of the grace of God.
Grace is God’s uplifting and sustaining power given to sinners, through the merits of Christ. “By grace are we saved”….it is the unmerited favor of power.
Saul had made his own “light” out of his knowledge of the law, and his zeal for it….there are many instances of God as light in the scriptures….and that knowledge is light….
…but he was refusing the Light God had showed him of Jesus of Nazareth as His Son……as Lord and Christ.
….until God knocked him down by light. God made him bow….but what would he do after?
Voluntarily submit or continue in blind darkness?
(How much light do we need to see, before we acknowledge God’s Will?)
The conversation is remarkable:
Saul is on his knees, practically holding his breath,….wondering…
….and God repeats his name twice….”Saul, Saul”…showing him how hard of hearing he was…..
“Why persecutest thou Me?”
Though there is acknowledgement of a wrong (he felt it clear through him)…
……yet he did not know “Who” was judging him in His light.
“Who art Thou, Lord?”
“I am Jesus, Whom thou persecutest”…..Saul knew that name….he had caused many to blaspheme that name,…or die for it…..
…but now he is made to bow to Him….”a light above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 26:13)
In that Light, by Jesus Voice,….Saul is made to see that he had been fighting against Jesus….not just his believers.
And that he was blood-guilty…..he had sinned….and what a sinner he was! A murderer.
“It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”. Jesus shows him the many times He had “pricked” his spirit with the light of the works of the Holy Spirit….had “pricked” his mind with the truth.
And Saul trembles (Acts 9:6)…..
…he is astonished. His mind is whirling….he should have known….he should have seen…..what has he done!
How much blood is on his hands!
What will this Jesus do to him,….
What could he do,….what could he say….he was guilty…
“Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”
Grace is God’s uplifting and sustaining power given to sinners, through the merits of Christ. “By grace are we saved”
And the great change by our salvation, is worked on our will,….
….and shows (evidences) itself in the subjection of our will to Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
He has been made to bow,…..made to see the Light….made to see himself as a sinner….
….but now grace bows his heart….”Lord, What wilt Thou have me to do?”
“Lord, what can I possible do to get this terrible blood-guiltiness forgiven? What can I do to amend my life?”
What Jesus says here is amazing….and worthy to note.
The real battle was over…..Saul, bowed to Jesus Christ, now, of his own free will.
So Christ Jesus speaks now to his servant….”Arise, Go, and it will be told you.”
“Leave your life now in My hands….My grace….My light….
….I will lead you from now on.” And Saul obeys, but is blind, needing help to get there.
Grace has been offered….and received.
For three days (number of resurrection)…..in blindness, Saul prays. He is shut up unto complete dependence upon Christ to finish what He started with him on the road to Damascus.
The Lord sends a believer to him to pray for him…..the mighty persecutor, turned brother/believer in Christ,….waiting, waiting,…for a prayer by a simple fellow believer.
(No wonder Paul’s epistles exclaim the beauty of the body of Christ….each believer in their place, doing their job….for God, and for each other.)
Saul’s sight restored…..
….the grace that saved Saul…..empowers him to immediately go into the synagogue and preaches Christ….as the Son of God.
This is a title of authority, and power. And Saul preaches Him to all who would hear of the mighty grace from God’s Son to us.
Saul / Paul’s testimony, from that time on:
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or with wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1 Timothy 1:12-15 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who hath enabled me, for that He counted me worthy, putting me into the ministry;
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Saul/Paul’s dependence, from that time on,…..was not on anything, or anyone…..but Christ Jesus….”Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(Galatians 2:20)