Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 26:9-11, Deut. 21:23, Acts 9:1-20, 1 Cor. 9:1, Gal. 1:1, Acts 9:20-30.
Memory Text: ”Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15, NIV).
The conversion of Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul) was one of the most remarkable events in the history of the apostolic church. The importance of Paul, however, goes way beyond conversion itself, for Paul is certainly not the only enemy of the church to have become a genuine Christian. The issue, instead, relates to what he ended up doing for the sake of the gospel. Paul had been an incorrigible opponent to the early believers, and the harm he could have done to the infant church was enormous. He had both determination and official support to destroy the church. Yet, he responded faithfully to God’s call on the road to Damascus and became the greatest of the apostles. “From among the most bitter and relentless persecutors of the church of Christ, arose the ablest defender and most successful herald of the gospel.”—Ellen G. White, Sketches from the Life of Paul, p. 9.
Paul’s previous actions in persecuting the early church would always bring him a deep sense of his own unworthiness, though he could say with a still deeper sense of gratitude that God’s grace to him had not been in vain. With Paul’s conversion, Christianity changed forever.