Fields: Was Saul saved on the road to Damascus?

Published 7:40 pm Sunday, October 15, 2017

This was one of my quesitons last time I was on “Know Your Bible.” You can watch the program online on our website. I also do a weekly livestream of Bible Q-n-A on YouTube, Monday evenings at 9. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. We would love to study with you!

Now, to the question of Paul’s salvation. Many believe that Saul, who would later be known as the apostle Paul, was saved when he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:3-5. He was going to Damascus to persecute Christians but Jesus appeared to him along the way and he learned that he was actually persecuting the Messiah. It is very clear from what Paul would later write concerning his former conduct that this was a devastating revelation for him (1 Timothy 1:12-13; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 1 Timothy 1:15-16).

The idea that Paul was saved then and there on the road to Damascus doesn’t fit with the overall context of the passage. It would require that you isolate Acts 9:3-5 from everything else that is said about Paul’s conversion and salvation. It is very important that we gather all of the biblical information before we answer any Bible question. Otherwise we are making a conclusion on incomplete information and, therefore, an incomplete (at best) or outright false (at worst) conclusion is the result.

The account of Paul’s conversion doesn’t end at Acts 9:5. In Acts 9:6 Saul asked the Lord what he must do; much like those on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:37 and the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31. Jesus told him to go into the city and there it would be told him what he must do. So Saul hadn’t done what he had to do yet! That would be told him by the one that Jesus would send to him in the city (Acts 9:10-17). If Paul was saved on the road to Damascus, he sure didn’t act like other saved people did, rejoicing in their salvation (Acts 8:39; 16:34). No, Saul was still in mourning over his sins for three days after seeing Jesus on the road (Acts 9:9).

Paul said clear when he was saved. Notice how he includes himself with the Roman Christians with the words “we” and “us” in Romans 6:3-4 (Acts 9:18; 22:16). Have you done what Paul did?

Norm Fields is the minister for the Church of Christ Northside meeting at 1101 Hogansville Road in LaGrange. He may be reached at 706-812-9950.