Friday, September 14, 2007

The Election of Paul

In Acts chapter 9 we find this man Saul terrorizing the church; he sought and received authority from the high priest to arrest men and women who were following Christ. Luke is such a good story teller! Saul is on his way to Damascus to apprehend more believers, when he is himself arrested by God Almighty! Jesus appears to Saul in his glory, convicts him of his sin, blinds him, and commands him to go on to Damascus and wait.

Why do you think Jesus confronted Saul? Because Saul was persecuting the Church? Was Jesus simply protecting the saints from this zealous Pharisee?

Actually, we find in verses 15-16 the answer to this question. The Lord explained to Ananias exactly why Saul of Tarsus was arrested (or elected):
"For he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

Saul did not pray a prayer to be saved. Saul was saved whether he liked it or not; and we know from his writings that he liked it very much (Philippians 1:23). Ananias laid his hands on Saul, prayed that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he baptized Saul without so much as a profession of faith recorded in Scripture! To quote the great theologian, Nebuchadnezzar:
"I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounting as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'" (Daniel 4:34-35)

I find great comfort, and I stand in awe, that God saves or arrests or elects sinners like me despite our best efforts not to be saved. It is true that we must put our faith in God, but we must also realize that God first loved us (1 John 4:19).

I pray that you will be comforted by God's electing purposes!


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