By Charles Harris
Today's Scripture: Acts 9:1-25
Central Thought: God's provision for salvation includes the power to change one from a sinner to a saint in a moment's time.
I was in my home state recently where I met a number of people I had not seen for a few years. A gentleman rushed up to me, grabbed my hand, and with affection declared, 'Your preaching as an evangelist brought me into the kingdom. That was thirty-five years ago, and my salvation holds good to this day. You recall that I really came to church that night to beat you up because you had challenged my wife to devoted service for the Lord.” Thank God, he is not the last person who set out to oppose Christianity and ended up embracing it. History's best known example of such is Saul of Tarsus.
For some time Saul was a ringleader in persecuting Christians. He set out from Jerusalem to extend his murderous activities as he traveled to Damascus, the capital of Syria. Along the way he encountered the risen Christ. In the glory of His presence Saul fell to the ground. So identified was the Lord with His people that the Lord asked, 'Why do you persecute Me?” Stricken with blindness by this experience, Saul's surrender to the Savior was immediate. 'What do you want me to do,” he said.
At the direction of the Lord he continued his journey to Damascus. At the same time Jesus instructed a faithful servant, Ananias, to minister to Saul there. Finding him at the location to which the Christ had directed, the obedient follower prayed for the persecutor to be healed and filled with the Spirit. Following his baptism in water, Saul at once began witnessing to the fact that Jesus was the Christ. Believers in the area were amazed. However, enemies of the gospel sought to kill the converted Saul. The brothers rescued him from their plot by letting him down from the wall of the city in a basket.
Not all conversions are as dramatic as Saul's. Nor are all saved from so bloody a background as he. Yet all sinners have black records which demand a cleansing such as only the blood of Jesus can give. Indeed, the closer one gets to the Master, the more wicked one sees himself or herself to be. Thus, the believer becomes increasingly grateful for the mighty deliverance experienced with the wonderful saving power of the Lord. The believer comes to know that salvation includes sanctification, which alone gives him or her the standing of saint before God.
Devotional Prayer: Oh, God, increase my understanding of what You really did for me when You saved me. Help me to see clearly the picture of myself before and after I was born again. Assist me in expressing my appreciation to You for the great change the Spirit accomplished in me.
Today's Bible Reading: I Kings 11:1-12:19; Acts 9:1-25; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 17:4-5