How A Saul Becomes A Paul

Acts 9:3 – And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

Acts 9:4 – And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

Acts 9:5 – And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:6 – And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Hello readers, today we are going to be talking about Paul’s conversion. Paul was called Saul before he was saved. But when the light from heaven came on in his life… and that’s what it’s going to take for our life to be changed… he said Who art thou Lord, and what wilt thou have me to do? They’re the two questions from a changed heart in an instant that involved a Saul becoming a Paul. Two questions that really evidence how he became Paul, and how you will also become a Paul. Salvation happens in an instant when we believe.

In this blog I might use Paul and Saul interchangeably, but they’re the same man, just before and after being saved. After you’re saved, you’re (or should be) very fundamentally different to the person you were before you got saved. There’ a kingdom difference between the unsaved and the saved. Paul was trembling when he said who art thou and what wilt thou have me to do to the Lord. Here he was, a man called Saul, going down the Damascus road. In the name of serving God, he was going around killing and jailing Christians. We can live our lives in the name of serving God as he had been, but really we are against God. Don’t kid yourself when you call yourself a Christian and your life is totally against God’s word, it’s against true Christians. You’re say you’re for God, and for righteousness, and for truth… but really you’re totally against the Lord Jesus Christ, who is all of those things and much more.

How do you know if the light has come on in your life? Spiritual illumination is required for salvation. When the Holy Spirit shines in the darkness of our hearts. And that produces trembling. Christians don’t tremble anymore because they don’t fear God. They don’t realize they’re lost and in darkness. They don’t see who and what they are, they can’t see the eternal flames of hell, they can’t see how wicked and against Creator God their sin is, they can’t see the darkness of their heart, they can’t see the sheer holiness and wrath and judgement of God. There’s no trembling, there’s no repentance, we are proud after all and nothing’s going to make us tremble. We are like leviathan in Job 41, we laugh at the shaking of a spear. That’s what Christ rejecting sinners are like, they laugh at the preaching of the gospel, the warning of judgement and wrath of God. Nothing’s going to make them afraid. We’ve got it worked out, and we are on our road in life doing things our way. Sure there may be a religious veil to it all as well, but the only one veiled is you from Christ.

Who art thou Lord? You see, many people don’t know who God truly is. Do you know who the Lord Jesus Christ truly is? You may know a Jesus who you’ve made up, one who suits your life… but do you know the Jesus of the Bible? Do you know him personally? You can’t know him without his revelation of himself to you. That’s why people don’t know him, they’ve had no revelation of himself to them. The true Jesus Christ. He’s love, he’s full of grace, truth and mercy… but he’s also holy, holy, holy. The holiness of God is his most important trait. Sure you think you know the Lord, and you’ve got him all figured out, but you’re as blind as Saul was.

Notice how he got a new name after he got saved. New identity. Many Christians are the same before and after. Because there is no real before and after. There’s no past life… and there’s no new life, because there is no new birth. Jesus said, ye must be born again. A salvation that hasn’t changed you isn’t salvation. Salvation by very definition means you’re saved from something. Maybe you want to get out of hell, that’s all God means to you really, but you sure don’t want to stop your sins in this life. And you sure don’t want to surrender what you feel you’re entitled to in life and what you deserve.

In order to get to know Jesus Christ, we have to realize we don’t know who he is. Until you get saved in repentance and faith, you will have no revelation of himself to you. Paul got a revelation from Jesus Christ of himself. Without the Holy Spirit turning the lights on in your life, leading you to Christ… you cannot hear, or see, or know God. We treat God with such contempt, such familiarity, such off handedness, as such an afterthought… it’s because we have no fear of God, it’s because we do not know him.

What wilt thou have me to do? That really is the litmus test of our salvation. When we want to obey Jesus Christ in our life… we put him first in our decisions. He comes first. And by comes first, that means we yield to his authority, his word, his instruction and his will. No, that doesn’t mean just doing what you see fit and want to do and then saying praise God to legitimize it. You’re like Micah in Judges 17, he got himself a Levite priest to legitimize the religion he’d made up. You see the Lord’s name used in these chapters of Judges, chapters in which they really didn’t know the Lord or serve him at all.

You’re on a journey in life like Saul, later Paul, was. But your life is more Saul than Paul. You’re proud. More proud than you know. I am more than I know. We don’t get saved or serve God because we’re too proud. That prides stopping you. You’re independent, you’re a know it all, you’re wise, you can see, you’re educated, you’re esteemed by others… blah blah… well all that is stopping you from seeing and serving God. We don’t want to be a fool for Christ, we don’t want to risk rejection and humiliation and shame and scorn… why? Because we’ve got airs about ourselves. We don’t want to serve God because there is a cost to ourselves, it costs us our pride, our way, our wisdom, our intellect and ideas and plans and ambitions, even our career as it did Paul.

The Bible says scales fell off Paul’s eyes and he could see. Because after the light shone around him, he was blinded. He needed someone to lead him by the hand. And when Ananias met him and put his hand on him… those scales fell off. What’s getting in the way of you seeing Jesus Christ and his will for your life? Some scales need to fall off. Something’s getting in the way of seeing our way in life. Job tell us what those scales are. Job 41:15 – His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. You see, Paul had been very proud, he had the education, the training, he had the birth, the position, the prestige… he had it made, his life all neatly mapped out. He was going places, he was climbing the religious ladder, and fast. He had sincerity, enthusiasm, zeal, dedication… and all of it. But he was lost and in darkness. Scales need to come off our eyes, and they’ll fall of when you pray to God in honesty and humility.

It’s pretty humiliating getting led around by the hand like Saul was… isn’t it? It’s pretty humiliating needing someone to help you see again. It’s tough going from somebody to being a nobody. Maybe you need someone in your life who can help you see again. Someone who the Lord has sent into your life, someone like Ananias here. They were a very different pair of eyes that Saul had after the scales fell off. When our pride, when our way, when our understanding, when our determination and ambition and our mapped out plans get smashed by Jesus Christ… that’s when we really start seeing what’s what and who’s who.

Many of us think we know everything. We think we know God. But we don’t know anything. We need God to teach us who he really is. And he does that by giving us his Word, and the Holy Spirit to teach us. We need to be stopped dead in our road of life. Have you met Jesus Christ yet on your road of life? Or there’s been no light from heaven, and you’re journeying along in your religious and Christ hating life. The lights need to come on, because although we think we’ve got light, we can be in total darkness. Your Christian life will really start when you ask God… who are you? Show me who you are, I don’t know you, I don’t know anything at all. That’s pretty humbling, especially considering his religious training. He had the education, but he didn’t know God. We need God to teach us, that’s what the Holy Spirit is for… man can really educate you away from truth rather than guide you to it. You need God’s word, the Bible, not man’s opinions, wisdom and philosophy which are deep waters that you will drown in.

Can you really say to the Lord Jesus Christ, what wilt thou have me to do? It’s pretty hard to say that in honesty and sincerity and truth. Because that means it’s no longer my will, but his will. It’s not my way, it’s his way. See, Paul had a destination, Damascus, and an objective, getting Christians. And that ended the day he went from Saul to Paul. His destination, his objective… it was put in the rubbish bin. You may have your destination, you may have your objective, you may have the place you’re going… because the light has come on yet.

Noone else that was with Saul really knew what was going on. Noone else can get saved for you. Noone can have your salvation experience. Noone can do what only the illumination of the Holy Spirit in your heart can do. Noone can be there and understand when it’s between you and God. We need to get out of the way people, rather than be in the way… man often harms rather than helps. Nobody can make you saved. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord… salvation is of the Lord. It’s his work to save sinners. Yes, we do have a role as Christians, to be like Ananias, and to be a help and to be an instrument yielded to God so he can use us to reach others. But salvation takes the power of God, only Jesus Christ has the power to forgive and create a new person… to create a Paul where there was a Saul.

Religion can’t change your heart. Religion can’t transform your mind. Without true salvation, there is no true identity change. Ananias knew this, that’s why he was like you sure Lord? This guy!? This is the guy that’s persecuting us! It’d have to be something inside this guy to change him. Christians were wary of Saul because they knew who he’d been. But his change held up, because it wasn’t a new leaf or a put on, he had the real thing. Unfakeable and unmistakable. See, people don’t truly change unless they’ve been saved. You can do all the reforming you want, you can be disciplined, but the true change that God gives is a new birth, and that’s only what God can do. If you are seeking true change, a life set free from the bondage of sin… you need to be born again.

Before you’re saved, before you’re right with God… you’re against God. Make no mistake about that. Saul was against God, he was actively seeking Christians to arrest or kill. That’s you if you’re not right with God. You’re AGAINST Jesus Christ. This unbelieving world, they’re against Jesus Christ. There’s no middle ground… if you’re not for him, you’re against him. So often we try to have a bit of both, but the Bible says if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. Elijah asked, how long halt ye between two opinions? You gonna serve God or Baal? You can’t have either. If you try having both, you really just have Baal.

Who art thou Lord and what wilt thou have me to do? Someone who is truly saved is seeking the Lord Jesus Christ. They’re seeking his face, they’re seeking who he is. They want to know him more and more, they want to obey him in their lives. They want his will first. You see, Saul started obeying God in his life. Obedience to God just validates the salvation that we already have. How can you say you love the Lord when you have no interest in reading your Bible and obeying God’s word in your life? Paul had a real conversion, because he repented and believed in Jesus Christ, and he got saved. The lights came on that day on the Damascus road, and his life was changed forever. Hopefully today, you have that same salvation he had. Seek Jesus Christ, seek who he is in his word, and ask him what he would have you do. He’ll give you purpose, meaning, direction and fulfillment in your life, and you can go from a Saul to a Paul.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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