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A New Creature

25 October 2012 by Neil

“But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles— to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” -- The Risen and Glorified Son of God, as recounted in Acts 26:16-18

Saul knew a lot of stuff. He was in fact one of the most accomplished and confident theologians of both his generation and the one that came before. He was wise, he was far-seeing, and he understood that this insidious new infection called The Way needed to be extirpated. Saul didn't sit on his hands; he was determined to crush it by whatever violent and murderous means necessary.

Saul also knew what was referred to as “the gospel”. He heard it and studied its claims, all the better to trap and bludgeon those who held to it. Saul understood the gospel thrust perhaps better even than many followers of The Way. He knew the gospel, he knew of the man called Jesus, but he did not know Christ. Saul was blind. He thought he was a swashbuckler defending the light, but instead he was trapped in gloomy darkness, snuffing candles and spreading the night.

BUT... one day a great light dawned upon Saul. The God of all creation acted. He showed himself to the sightless rebel. He struck blind the blind man who had thought he could see. He blew apart Saul's world. We can only glimpse the desolation and regret that infused the next days of blind Saul's life.

Then, and only then, a new creature was born. Saul, the murderous warrior against Christ was gone, and in his place was Paul, the slave of Christ. He could finally see, because God had removed the scales from the eyes of his stony heart. Understand: Paul did not come to Christ because of his great knowledge and study. Paul came to Christ because Christ came to him, enlivened the Gospel that had already been proclaimed, and gave him a new heart.

And Christ gave his new charge some instructions: go and be a witness and proclaim the Gospel everywhere, to everyone. God was sending a preacher to preach the Gospel. Some would hear it and curse. Some would hear it and ignore. Some would dabble like dilettantes. But some... some would hear, and the Spirit would open their eyes for the very first time. Some would be saved.