Acts 9:4-6--Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
“Who are You, Lord?” he said.“I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting,” He replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
He was trained by the great Gamaliel, thoroughly schooled in Judaism and probably one of the most zealous religious men of his day. His spiritual pedigree was topnotch. Yet for some reason he was clueless to Jesus’ true identity. Despite listening to the impassioned speech of Stephen who willingly was martyred for his faith in Christ; despite hearing the marvelous accounts of Jesus’ miracles and resurrection; despite knowing that simple fisherman, a hated tax-collector and various other men and women of questionable background were passionately on fire for the One they called the Messiah; Saul was undeterred in his quest to destroy followers of the Way.
It took an act of heaven to reach an earthly man. But we should not be lured into thinking Saul was the exception in how salvation transpires or logical flaws in our thinking may occur. God had a special plan and ministry for Saul. Yet because his experience was dramatic, we should not think the hand of God is the exception, the hand of believers the norm in anyone else becoming a disciple of Christ--that it is up to us to save people. Our responsibility is to obey the Holy Spirit’s leading and share our faith by our godly attitude, action and faith. Only God can bring about spiritual conversion.
If we invite someone to a Billy Graham Crusade, and coax them into "going forward," they may in fact listen to a counselor, recite the sinner’s prayer and be stamped as a convert to Christianity. Yet, unless God is the One who touches that person’s heart that he is a sinner in need of repenting and placing his faith in Jesus, has conversion taken place? The proof of true conversion is not emotion, not mental assent to proposed truth, but rather a life transformed that bears fruit (Matthew 7:20)! True conversion originates from the enabling work of God and it endures forever.
John 16:8 informs us the Holy Spirit is the One who will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin. In John 6:44, Jesus says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day . . ." Why is this important? It frees us of guilt that people are not responding to the message we’ve shared. It liberates us from the pressure of trying to manipulate those who are unsaved to "accepting" Christ. It teaches us to truly depend upon God when we evangelize, for He, not us, is the One who saves!
You cannot argue people into coming to Jesus or socialize them into coming; only one thing will do it, and that is the power of the Gospel drawing people by the constraint of God’s grace.—Oswald Chambers in God’s Workmanship
©2000 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)