How did the Apostle Paul understand the significance of his own conversion? He tells us in a letter or epistle that he wrote to his young colleague, Timothy:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)
The conversion of Saul was a “display” that is meant to show us something about the mercy and long-suffering of God in Jesus Christ. Here are at least three (3) lessons that we can learn from Saul’s amazing conversion:
1. Jesus is always reigning over & watching over His church no matter how it might seem. Saul was trying to destroy the church (Galatians 1:13), but the Lord Jesus had other plans for him. Not only would he stop trying to destroy the church, but he would quickly end up “preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Galatians 1:23). Jesus came into the world to save sinners!
2. We should see the enemies of the church differently. You just never know whom the Lord Jesus might save. When Paul tells us that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), that’s exactly what he meant. Even some of those whom we view as the worst of the worst may yet be objects of the mercy and grace of God in Jesus Christ. No wonder Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Some of those enemies may end up becoming our brothers and sisters in the faith! Jesus came into the world to save sinners!
3. No one is beyond the reach of God’s grace in the gospel. If the Lord Jesus saved Saul of Tarsus, there is no one who is beyond saving in this life. So if you are not yet a believer in Jesus and think that you are somehow too sinful to receive His mercy and grace, think again! He saved Saul (who considered himself the worst sinner of all)!
And if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, do not think that there is anyone else who is beyond the reach of God’s grace either. Do not write anyone off, presuming that there is no way the Lord would save them. Let the conversion of Saul teach you that Jesus came into the world to save sinners!
No wonder Paul says, “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (v.17)!