The Persecutor Preaches Christ
P. G. Mathew | Sunday, September 13, 1998
Copyright © 1998, P. G. Mathew
Many people claim to be Christians but their lives do not show any change. Their deeds show no evidence that they have experienced true repentance and have received a new heart. But if people are truly converted by the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit, their lives will change, and the first thing they will do is proclaim and declare Jesus as their Savior and as the Savior of the world.
In this study we want to examine Saul of Tarsus, who was truly converted, and what he did following his conversion. First we will discuss the nature of true conversion; second, the confession of the truly converted; and, third, the comfort derived from true conversion.
The True Conversion of Saul
Saul of Tarsus was one of the most remarkable men of his time. A Pharisee and a Roman citizen, he was a brilliant man, educated in philosophy and Judaism and well-versed in Greek and Hebrew culture. Saul was well-known to the Sanhedrin because of his great zeal for God, which he demonstrated by vigorously persecuting the church of Jesus Christ.
As Saul was traveling to Damascus one day to arrest and imprison Christians, the Lord Jesus Christ, in a great manifestation of his glory, arrested Saul and revealed himself to him. Saul spoke about this experience in Galatians 1:15, saying, "God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles. . . ."
Then Jesus asked Saul a question, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" meaning, "It is dangerous, hard, and painful for you to kick against the pricks." Saul asked, "Who are you, Lord?" and the answer came from heaven, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting." Instantly this brilliant man concluded that Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified in Jerusalem, is the Son of God, meaning he is the Sovereign Lord and God of the universe. At that moment Saul surrendered completely to the authority of Jesus Christ.
Saul asked, "What do you want me to do?" and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sovereign Lord of the universe and the Lord of Saul of Tarsus, told him, "Get up, go into the city, and wait for my orders." Blinded and humbled by Christ's glory, Saul went to the house of Judas in Damascus and began to pray and fast for three days. Then the Lord Jesus Christ sent Ananias, a Damascene disciple, to Saul. Ananias addressed him as "Brother Saul," laid hands on him, and immediately Saul could see again. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and baptized. Then Ananias gave him the Lord's commission that he was going to be the apostle of Jesus Christ, to bear his name to the Gentiles, to kings and to the sons of Israel, and that he would suffer many things for his name's sake.
Marks of Genuine Conversion
Like the prodigal son, Saul was genuinely converted. He became a new man, a new creation, as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17. He was now in Christ; the old was gone and everything had become new. Before, Saul blasphemed Jesus, thinking he was a fraud and false messiah. Before, he tried to force other people--Christians--to blaspheme Jesus by arresting them, beating them up, and giving his approval to their deaths.
But after his conversion, Paul's view of Jesus of Nazareth changed totally and drastically. Now he agreed with Stephen and the apostles as to who Jesus Christ of Nazareth was. He fully agreed that Jesus, who was crucified by the Jews and Gentiles, is the same one who died, was buried, rose from the dead, showed himself to his apostles, and ascended into the heavens. He agreed that this same Jesus of Nazareth had confronted him in his glory, and that Jesus of Nazareth truly is the Son of God, the promised Messiah of the Holy Scriptures. True conversion, true repentance, will bring about such profound knowledge of Jesus Christ, because true conversion is based on the realization of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
What did Paul do as a converted person? Acts 9:19 tells us, "Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus." If a person is truly converted, it is imperative that he join the true church of Jesus Christ and do so quickly. He must belong to the community of Christ.
"Saul spent several days with the disciples." At this time Christians were known as disciples. The Lord Jesus had commissioned the apostles to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. A disciple is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, a learner who learns everyday from Jesus Christ. A disciple desires, hungers, and thirsts after knowing Christ. He eagerly worships him and does his will.
At this time Christians were also called saints and "the people of the Way," meaning people of the way of life and truth. Later on they were also called Christians. We know that there were already many disciples of Christ in Damascus, because we are told that Ananias was a disciple belonging to a community of disciples of Jesus Christ.
Desiring to join the family of God, Saul immediately went to the community of believers in Damascus. I am sure Ananias had to go with him and introduce him to the other disciples because the other disciples probably did not really believe in the truth of Saul's confession and conversion.
We know this is what happened later when Saul went to Jerusalem. Saul tried to join the church there, but as we read in Acts 9:26, the disciples were afraid of him, thinking that he was a spy. But Barnabas, a good man who was filled with the Holy Spirit and faith, believed Saul's testimony of seeing and hearing the Lord Jesus Christ on the way to Damascus. Barnabas was also familiar with Saul's subsequent bold declaration of the gospel in Damascus, so he introduced Saul to the apostles in Jerusalem, and then Saul was able to join the church there as well.
Saul should be an example for every one of us, if we are truly converted. When we place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will, first, get to know him and proclaim him, and, second, we will be baptized and join a true church. A true church is one in which other disciples gather for the singular purpose of knowing Christ. It is like the church described in Acts 2:41-42, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." A truly converted person will do these things.
At this point, let me ask you: If you claim to be a Christian, have you sought to know Jesus Christ and do you proclaim him? Have you been baptized and joined a church? Or are you a floating person, one who goes from church to church, irresponsible and unaccountable to anyone? I counsel you to repent and join a church that preaches the gospel and submits to Jesus Christ. Then you can learn the word of God and learn to love and serve one another, learn to worship the triune God, and learn the apostolic doctrine. Then you too can confess and declare Jesus as the Savior of the world.
Conversion Produces Confession
The second point we want to examine is the confession resulting from true conversion. In Acts 9:20 we read, "At once," or "immediately," in the Greek, "he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God."
Saul immediately began to declare Christ to others. Here we learn that a truly converted person not only joins a church right away, but he proclaims Jesus to others. If you say you are a Christian, but you are not confessing, declaring, proclaiming, and acknowledging before the world that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world, then you must question your salvation.
Why do we need to declare Jesus to others? Because he is the only one in the whole world who can save sinners from their sins. Didn't the angel say his name would be Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins? After his conversion, Saul became a herald of salvation, proclaiming Jesus to all the world.
Notice, Acts 9:20 tells us Saul preached in the synagogues, not just one synagogue. Saul's original plan had been to go from synagogue to synagogue, with his letters of credit from the high priest in hand, to arrest Christians. Then he planned to bring them to Jerusalem so that they could be punished for believing in Jesus Christ. But now Saul went from synagogue to synagogue as a converted person, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, so that he might proclaim the good news of salvation through Christ to the Jews in these synagogues.
Of course, this radical change caught the notice of the Jews. Acts 9:21 tells us, "All those who heard him were astonished and asked, 'Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?'" But these Jews had nothing to fear, because Saul was truly converted. True conversion results in clear confession of Christ, and Saul's confession certainly proved his conversion. Truly converted people will prove their repentance by their deeds.
Paul himself spoke about this much later in Acts 26:19 when he testified before King Agrippa, "So, then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven," meaning his encounter on the Damascus road with the risen Christ. That experience was burned into his heart, mind, will, and conscience, and he never forgot it. "First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."
As a pastor I have seen many Christians make phony confessions. People will easily say, "Jesus is Lord," and agree to submit to his government and the Scriptures, but their lives do not agree with their confession. Why? They are not truly converted. They have not experienced the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit in terms of regeneration and, therefore, their repentance is a farce. Their faith is temporal, not saving, faith. They will believe in Jesus as long as they can get the "toys of dust" in this world, but they fail to obey Jesus Christ from their hearts. They are superficial Christians.
True Christians glory in Jesus Christ as their most cherished treasure. To them Jesus Christ is life, hope, peace, and indestructible life. True Christians serve Jesus Christ as Lord and gladly proclaim him as the Savior of the world. As God's new creation, they are God's saints, God's holy ones, people zealous for good works.
True Converts Proclaim Jesus
Saul was a new creation in Christ. He who had sought to destroy the church was now determined to build it up. He who had blasphemed the name of Jesus before was now worshiping Jesus and proclaiming that Jesus is God, Jesus is the Messiah, and Jesus is the Savior of Jews and Gentiles alike.
This is what Philip also did when he met the Ethiopian eunuch, as we read in Acts 8. Beginning from the prophecy of Isaiah, Philip proclaimed the good news of Jesus to this high-ranking African official.
As those who have been truly converted, we must tell people about Jesus. It is not enough to tell them how we felt when we became Christians. It is not enough to say how excited we were, or how many tingly feelings, dreams, or visions we had. We must not just say that once we were sick but now we are well, or that once we were poor but now we have a lot of money, or that once we were single but now we are happily married. Such testimonies will never save anyone.
After his conversion, Saul confessed Jesus Christ. If we are a new creation in Christ, we will also, first and foremost, tell others about Jesus, because nothing else will save sinners.
What should we say about Jesus? We must proclaim that Jesus Christ alone saves, and that he saves sinners--all sorts of them. And after you have proclaimed the good news that Jesus saves, counsel your hearers to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. Assure them that Jesus Christ will deliver them from all kinds of addictions. Don't get stuck in telling people how you feel about being a Christian. Tell them about Jesus Christ, for he alone saves.
Remember how the angel Gabriel was sent to the shepherds of Bethlehem? In Luke 2 we read Gabriel's words, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." The angel was telling the shepherds that the little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes is the same one who upholds the universe because he is not only a man but he is God and Savior. That good news of great joy is the message we also must proclaim.
Why must we tell people about Jesus? In John 1 we read that John the Baptist announced Jesus' coming, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!" The problem of the world is sin, and that is why we must ask people if they want to be saved. The gospel is preached to the poor, we read in Matthew 11:15, and the poor receive it. Jesus saves them, delivers them and transforms them by his gospel message. Therefore, we must tell people about Jesus.
Not only that, God the Father himself testified about Jesus. Twice he said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye him!" We must preach Christ. Don't talk about your excitement, your dream, your vision, your psychology, and your philosophy. Tell people about Jesus Christ as a top priority.
So Saul began to preach Jesus: "This one is Son of God." If you are a Christian, you must declare, confess, acknowledge, and preach the good news concerning the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a sphere of life, hope, salvation, peace, and victory into which you can enter only through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
The gospel is the good news of the rule of God in his kingdom. Don't ever think that you can enjoy the kingdom blessing without submitting to the rule of Jesus Christ. You cannot. When you come to God with your problems, if you have not bowed your knees to Jesus Christ, you cannot have the blessing of the kingdom of God. Jesus himself said unless one is born of the Spirit, he cannot see or enter into the kingdom of God--that realm of life, joy, peace, sanity, and freedom. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is the kingdom of Jesus Christ our Lord, meaning when you come into the kingdom of God, in the center of it you find Jesus Christ.
The good news must be preached to poor sinners. What is this good news? That salvation is accomplished by Jesus Christ, and the feast is ready to be given. We can do nothing but receive it by faith, gratis. But only those who are poor, lost, miserable, wretched sinners can receive it. If you are a sinner, I urge you to receive this good news and trust in Christ. If you do so, you will enter into this sphere of life, hope, peace, sanity, and freedom. Additionally, when you trust in Christ, you will experience freedom from the wrath of God, freedom from sin, freedom from guilt, freedom from the law of God that is against you, freedom from death, freedom from eternal damnation, and freedom from the devil and his minions, the demons. If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed, and the gospel is the truth that sets you free.
So we read that as soon as he was converted, Saul joined the church and immediately began to go from one synagogue to another and speak. What do you think was the content of his confession? It is recorded in Acts 9:20, "At once he began to preach in the synagogue Jesus. . ." and in the Greek it says, "He began to preach Jesus, that this one is the Son of God." A true Christian will always speak about Christ. If you claim to be a Christian, but are not so filled with Jesus Christ that you speak about him as the treasure you discovered by divine revelation, then you must question your salvation.
The Content of Confession
What was the essence of Paul's message? That Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Paul now realized that what Stephen had said was true, that Jesus of Nazareth--the one who was crucified, died, and was buried--also rose from the dead and was now in heaven, ruling and reigning as Lord. And when he realized the amazing truth of who Jesus was, Paul began to declare it to all who would listen. This former Jewish monotheist who thought Christians were blasphemers now boldly began to declare that Jesus is God, Jesus is Jehovah, Jesus is Lord, and Jesus is Deity incarnate. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God.
The answer to the question, "Who is Jesus?" is found throughout the Scriptures. For example, in Luke 1:35 the angel Gabriel declared to the virgin Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you so the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God." In other words, Gabriel was saying, "This child you will bear, Jesus, will belong to a class by himself. He will be God and man at the same time."
God the Father declared that Jesus was his Son. In Mark 1:11 we read, "A voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'" And in Mark 9:7 we read, "Then a cloud appeared. . . .and a voice came from the cloud: 'This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!'"
What did Jesus say concerning himself? In Matthew 11:27 he said, "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
But God must reveal the truth of who Jesus Christ is to us. At Caesarea Philippi the Lord Jesus Christ asked his disciples first, "Who do people say I am?" and they said John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?" and Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." We must realize that Peter didn't say that on his own. The truth of the uniqueness of Christ, the God/man, the Savior of the world, was revealed to Peter by God the Father just as it was later revealed to Paul and, even later, to us.
Paul speaks about who Jesus is many times in his epistles. In Colossians 1:19-20 he writes, "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things." And in Colossians 2:9 he writes, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." Paul also speaks many times in the book of Romans about Jesus being the Son of God, but let us just highlight Romans 9:5, in which he writes, "Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!"
John tells us who Jesus is in John 20:31, when he is explaining his reason for writing his gospel account: "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name." And in 1 John 5, beginning with verse 10, we read, "Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son," that is, because he failed to believe the gospel. And now, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." This tells us that there is no eternal life, no salvation, and no hope in anyone else but Jesus Christ. John continues, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
We must all ask ourselves who Jesus is. Tell me, are you looking for toys of dust, meaning the glories of this world and the praises of men? If so, you are a fool. The most important question we must answer ourselves is, "Who is Jesus?" And the second question is, "Do I have the Son?" He alone is the treasure--hidden to most, but revealed by the Spirit to elect sinners. Why? Because "he who has the Son has life," which means eternal life, "but he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." Ask yourself: "What do I think about Jesus Christ?"
Perfect God and Perfect Man
Why should we find out who Jesus Christ is? So that we can tell others. Don't talk about your excitement, your warmth in the bosom, or how you felt like you were walking in the clouds. None of those things will save anyone. Saul learned who Jesus was and began to preach Jesus.
Who was Jesus? He was perfect man and perfect God. That is why he alone can save sinners. If he were merely a sinful man like us, he himself would need a savior, and if he was a sinless man like Adam, perhaps he could have saved himself, but no one else. But Jesus was God--perfect God--and perfect man, and therefore he alone is able to bear the sin of all the elect sinners and save them. "Salvation is of the Lord," declared the prophet Jonah. Salvation is of God, not man, so God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, the perfect God/man, to be our Savior.
Not only did Jesus have to be perfect God and man to save us, but he had to be perfect God and man to act as the mediator between God and men so that he could reconcile us to God. Additionally, as God/man, Jesus can give us his righteousness, which is divine, perfect righteousness. If he were a mere man, he could not do that.
Therefore, the Bible presents to us Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man. What are some of the characteristics of this perfect God/man, Jesus Christ?
He is omnipotent. Jesus could speak one word, and great calm would come over the sea. He could walk on water, make wine out of water, and raise the dead.
He is eternal. In John 8:58 he declared, "Before Abraham was born, I am!" He is the eternal God.
He is omniscient. Jesus knows the thoughts of men, as we read in Mark 2:8. He understands not only what we are thinking now, but also what we will think.
He is omnipresent. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, "Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." The Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of us because he is God.
He is sovereign. Jesus Christ was given all authority in heaven and on earth.
He is immortal. Jesus told the religious leaders, "Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days." Another time he said, "I will lay down my life and I will take it up again." In him is found indestructible life.
Not only that, the Bible tells us in many places that Jesus Christ is worshiped as God by all creation. Is Jesus just a man, or just the God of the Christians? No. In Revelation 5:13-14 we read, "Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!' The four living creatures said, 'Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshiped."
Our salvation depends upon our confession of who Jesus is. Jesus, the man of history, is God, the only Savior, the Christ, the Deliverer, the Prophet, the Priest, and the King. There is no other option. Either we can believe in him and be saved, or we can be against him and be judged. No one can be saved without the realization and confession of the truth of who Jesus is.
That is the sole reason Jesus asked the question, "Who do you say that I am?" Our very salvation depends upon our answer.
The Proof of the Scriptures
Not only did Paul preach that Jesus is the Son of God, but in Acts 9:22 we read that "Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ."
As a great student of the Scriptures, Saul understood that God had promised to send a Messiah, a Christ, an Anointed One, to deliver his people. But Saul ignorantly thought that the Messiah would be a political messiah, after the order of David. He could not believe in a messiah who had been crucified, as Jesus was. Such thinking, he tells us later on, is the reason this gospel is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
Finally, however, Paul realized that God's Messiah, God's Christ, had to die for the sins of the world. Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification, we read in Romans 4:25. Paul looked at the promises of the Old Testament and then he looked at Jesus Christ and concluded that Jesus Christ had fulfilled the promises of the Messiah in the Old Testament. He evaluated everything side by side and drew the profound conclusion that Jesus is the Christ.
Not only that, Jesus is the Prophet. Therefore in him we find the final revelation of God. Moslems would say that the Mohammed is the final revelation, but that simply is not true. Mohammed was not God, but Jesus Christ is. Mohammed was a sinner but Jesus Christ is sinless.
Like Paul, we must understand that not only is Jesus Christ the final revelation, but he is the Anointed Prophet and Priest as well. He offered himself in our stead as a sacrifice that is pleasing to the Father to secure our salvation. But he is also the Anointed King, who saves his people and judges and subdues all his enemies. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, God triumphant.
The hermeneutic principle Paul learned is that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus himself taught this in Luke 24:25-27 and everybody else learned this from Jesus Christ. The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms--the whole Scriptures speak of him. The Christ of the Old Testament is Jesus.
So Paul began to teach that Jesus is God and Jesus is the Messiah. He tells us in Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
How effectual was Saul's testimony? It was so effectual that the leaders wanted to kill him. They were confounded by his wisdom and so we are told they wanted to kill him. Whenever you are persecuted or mocked for the sake of the gospel, you can rejoice, because that means you have been an effectual witness of Jesus Christ.
Comfort of Conversion
Finally, let us examine the comfort resulting from the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. First, Saul himself received great comfort from being converted. In 2 Timothy 1:1 he wrote, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus. . ." Paul was about to die when he wrote this. What was his comfort? That he was an apostle of Christ Jesus, chosen "according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus." Don't you think that gave Paul great comfort?
In 2 Timothy 1:9 we read, "This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death for him, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." That is more comfort, isn't it?
In Romans 8:37-39 Paul wrote, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced"--beyond a shadow of doubt, in other words--"that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." What comfort! If you are a Christian, you will receive tremendous comfort from the knowledge that nothing in all creation can separate you from God!
Not only did Saul experience great comfort as a result of his conversion, but the church itself also received a lot of comfort. We read about it in Acts 9:31, "Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace." Why? This man had been going about, breathing out threatenings and slaughters, persecuting, terrorizing and trying to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. But the glory of God appeared and he was arrested, instantly converted, and became an apostle of Jesus Christ. The church began to experience a time of great peace and began to spread in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even Galilee. Saul's conversion brought about great peace for the church.
Your conversion will bring about a lot of peace, not only for yourself but also for your family. For instance, imagine what will happen if a drunkard, a wicked man, finds Jesus Christ and becomes completely transformed. Not only will he he enjoy peace, but his wife, his children, and his entire society will enjoy great peace. This peace is characteristic of everyone who comes to saving faith in Christ.
In Acts 9:31 we also read, "[The church] was strengthened. . . ." Before, Saul was destroying the church, but after his conversion, the church was being built up. No one can pull down the church of Jesus Christ. Didn't Jesus himself say, "I will build my church"? And in Isaiah 28:16 God said, "I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed." No one can destroy the church of God. He will build it, and even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Acts 9:31 also tells us the church enjoyed the comfort of the Holy Spirit: "Encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord." The church was built up, encouraged and multiplied all due to the conversion of one man, Saul of Tarsus.
What great joy to know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the conqueror of sinners! Only he can force us to surrender our swords to his lordship. If the Holy Spirit is showing you the glory of Jesus Christ, I pray that you surrender your life to him.
Are You Converted?
In closing, there are three vital questions every person must ask:
Who is Jesus? Have you ever thought about that? The greatest event that ever took place in the history of the whole universe is the incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Therefore, everyone should ask this vital question: Who is Jesus?
Why is this question so important? Because your whole life depends upon it. If you have Christ, you have eternal life, as we read in John's gospel and epistles, but if you don't have him, you don't have life, and the wrath of God abides upon you.
Have you ever asked that question? You may have gone to schools and universities and studied every other subject. Have you ever asked this question: Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" because that is the first and most important question we all must ask.
What must I do to be saved? When the answer to the first question is, "Jesus Christ is the Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world," then you must ask the second question, "What must I do to be saved?" What is the answer? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." Trust in Jesus Christ--not for temporal blessings but for eternal life. Trust in Jesus Christ that you might be set free from the wrath of God, from death, from condemnation, from the devil, and from the grip of sin.
What do you want me to do now? When we ask that of God, he will tell us to live for him for the rest of our lives. It's that simple.
These questions are essential for every person to answer. Don't ever be satisfied with a salvation which means nothing. True salvation should affect our intellect, affection, and will; therefore, if we claim to be Christians, we must ask ourselves whether we have been so changed internally by the mighty Christ that we love Jesus Christ, speak about him, declare him, worship him, and obey him. If we are excited about Jesus Christ and God's truth, then we will glory in our salvation and say, "Praise God, nothing in all creation shall separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me eternal life and now I am in the Son, I am a new creation, my sins have been forgiven, and I am justified forever." That is true salvation.
God is offering to us his Son, Jesus Christ, the greatest person who ever lived on the face of the earth. There is no one like him; he alone is the perfect God/man and Savior of the world. Would you surrender to this one who is God's Prophet, Priest, and King; this one who said, "I have received all authority in heaven and on earth"? Would you surrender to him in your mind, in your affection, and in your will? I urge you to do so today. Don't ever be satisfied with a salvation that doesn't affect your interior.
The greatest thing God did for us miserable sinners was to send his Son, the eternal God, to take upon himself human nature and become perfect God/man, our only Mediator, Savior, and Lord. May God have mercy on us and save us! May he change us in our intellect, affections and will and make us new creations by the mighty operation of his Holy Spirit so that we will be filled with Jesus Christ, declare Jesus Christ, hope in Jesus Christ, worship Jesus Christ, and obey Jesus Christ, both now and for all eternity. Amen.
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Copyright © 1998, P. G. Mathew
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