Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 9:1-9

Meet the Apostle Paul

I suppose we might say that conversions come in all shapes and sizes.  Oh, there are some elements about them that must be in all born again experiences, such as repentance, faith, and a changed life.  And all must be born again by the power of the Holy Spirit.  But though the nature of regeneration is always the same in everyone (e.g., from death to life, from abiding under the wrath of God to being adopted and becoming an heir, and being transferred from the kingdom of darkness to that of His dear Son), the extent that transformed life has to travel depends on how far away one was when called.  A child reared in a Christian home who is born again at age nine probably won’t experience the same shock as the Apostle Paul did when he was regenerated.

And why is this?  We’ll let Paul speak for himself: “Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:5-6).  And as far as Paul was concerned, Christians were arch-heretics who were perverting the faith and leading thousands of Jews and God-fearers (prospective converts to Judaism) to damnation.  They had to be stopped at all costs!

But then something literally “out of the blue” happened.  On his way to Damascus to incarcerate more Christians, a blinding light from heaven knocks him to the ground and he is told that he is persecuting Jesus.  He is left blind by the incident and taken to Damascus where he neither eats nor drinks for three days.  We must assume that this man was shattered.  Everything he believed, thought, lived for – his entire worldview – had just been destroyed in one fell swoop.  I wonder if perhaps he wished he were dead for as of yet, he was not saved.  He just sat in darkness, perhaps waiting for the next blow.

We leave Paul for now to make one special point.  The Lord said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  The Lord did not say, “Why are you persecuting my people or my church?”  Jesus said, “Why are you persecuting me?”  The Church of Jesus Christ is his body (1 Corinthians 12:27) and his bride (Revelation 19:7).  He counts whatever done to her done to him.  That is the closeness of the relationship we have with him.  We are not just his organization on earth; we are his body on earth and he is our head.  Touch not his anointed ones, for in doing so you touch him (Psalm 105:15).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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