Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When WAS Paul saved anyway?

Wow.. anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of commentaries. Yet, I have read and will continue to read theological works - though no matter the subject or author I do so with the highest degree of skepticism.

All that being said, there are a few of our Brethren in the Blogosphere (is this the first time I've actually used this word here at OMW??) who have a talent for pointing out really cool things I haven't yet noticed. JP is the most consistent example of that. But today, Brother Dave dropped a tiny little bombshell on me as I was just checking out some comments at his blog. I really don't want to interrupt the budding conversation in my last post but this is really important. And I've just never heard anyone speak on this point before.

Here's the quote;
I read elsewhere in a blog that Paul was saved on Damascus road without believing that a Jesus died for him??? Paul wasn't saved there my friend but later:

Read Acts 22:16, (Ananias speaking to Saul) “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Compare that to 1st Corinthians 15:3 where Paul claimed that the message that he received was how Jesus died according to the Scriptures and now he preached to them as of "first importance."

Neat eh? How often have the Lordshippers used the story of Paul's "conversion on the Damascus Road" as an example of Lordship Salvation? Too often.

Here's the account from Acts 9

1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
Paul describes this in Gal 1:15-17
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
This topic deserves more discussion so let's get at it.


Kevl said...

It sure would be embarrassing if I were one of the few people who have never considered this before...


Dave said...

Lou, I actually received that quote from someone that was criticizing you. I about fell over when I read that blog since it was clearly isolated from its context.

I used to believe and teach Irresistible Grace when I was a 5 point Calvinist and that was the verse I argued. However, I later came to see that Paul still had to believe the message to be saved and that there was nothing irresistible about it.

It is clear that Jesus did not say to Paul when Paul asked, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" and Jesus said, "Just believe I give eternal life and thou shalt be saved." Paul was instructed where to go unless somehow the gospel was, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”??? This CG blogger chose to isolate the verse from its context. Paul clearly was told what he must do later and clearly was not saved until later by hearing the message.

Dave said...

Sorry Kev, I posted this before receiving your comments at my blog and didn't know that this was your blog. I was viewing Lou's website and didn't realize that I clicked on your site from a link at his. I thought I was addressing Lou's blog and that is why I began it addressing Lou.

Thanks for putting up all the verses as it clearly proves that Paul was not saved until he heard the message "later."

Kevl said...

Hey Dave,

Thanks for the comments.

I've got all 11 pages of your latest article sitting here now. :)


dave (free grace believer) said...

Sorry, a bit long but it was well worth it to me. This study of the cross gave me such an appreciation for the cross. I am so thankful for the cross of Christ that saves!

Jonathan Perreault said...

Hi Kev!

These are some good thoughts. Thanks for sharing these insights.


Kevl said...

Wish I could say they were all mine... :)


Dave said...

I did an entire blog on this topic. I argued that it does not matter when Paul was saved but the message. It is truly debated as to when Paul was saved and I do not think it is worth fighting over. However, when a CG tells me that Paul was saved the moment Jesus said, "I am Jesus whom thou persecuteth" apart from the cross is pure non-sense. I argued the message of what Paul believed in Acts 9.

Only Look said...

Good stuff Dave and great insight as I have had a Calvinistic perspective and still hold to it in part as I still see God moving and stopping Paul but you are correct in that Paul still had to believe and get washed at the cross as everyone does, this is also another reason why I think it is a good thing that this precious band of brothers is holding fast to truth and seeing the importance of what Lou sees and the balance therein.

Kev, thanks again for that wonderful golden nugget you sent my way today about our faith.

Grace upon grace,


Jan said...

Guys, without intending to create the impression of being a traitor, I have a question:

Weren't two of the qualifications of Apostleship that the man be converted by Jesus Christ Himself, and then that he had seen the risen Lord? Both of which (I think) happened with Paul. Of course, in Paul's case it is a bit different in that it was Jesus Christ post cross/resurrected, risen and glorified Whom he encountered (which is important for Dispensational purposes.)

The main point for this discussion being the conversion of the man by Christ Himself. (?)


Kevl said...

Hey Jan,

Nothing is above question. It's not traitorish to ask for and require truth.

The qualification to be an Apostle was to have been witness to the Risen Lord. Acts 1:22; 1 Cor 9:1

Additionally, if the person was to be one of the 12, who were to give witness to Jesus as the Messiah the Prince, they had to have been with Christ from the beginning of His ministry.

Christ's work throughout most of His ministry was the proving that He was Israel's Messiah and His resurrection alone did not prove that - though it did prove He was God and Christ.

Kinda got on a side topic there. :)

I can't find anything that says the Lord had to convert the Apostle.


Only Look said...

Everyone will in some form come into contact with Christ, but one must be washed by the blood of the lamb by way of Christ's sinless sacrifice at the cross in order to become a child of God. Without the cleansing blood there is no remission of sin and the blood has to be applied by our own choice at the doorposts of our hearts.

Paul indeed met the real God, but He still had to be washed by Him before he could become what God intended Him to become.

Lydia was a worshipper of God before she met Paul, but she still needed more information to become saved and a blood bought child of God.

Cornelius offered up prayers that were a monument to God, but he too needed to be washed in the blood of the lamb. There has to be atonement in order for us to be acceptable in His presence.

The Rich Young Ruler met Christ, but went away sorrowful and Cain too met Christ but refused to go and get Abels same offering and offer it up to God.

We either receive or reject the finished work of the cross. Eternity hangs in the balance for this choice we make.

This is no small matter and it is indeed a good thing to aquire about this.

Kev, you remain a blessing to us all.

Grace upon grace,


Only Look said...

Calminianism seems to make the most biblical sense in the end:-)

Maybe...but it is just another label really.

Jan said...