“Look-out … He’s dangerous!”
He thought he was right. He thought he was obeying God. When he was a baby, his parents dedicated him to God. They taught him religion and Scripture. He learned languages and attended worship services. He was highly educated and zealous. As an adult, he worked in his religion. He served under leaders and went on mission trips. Who was the man? What was his mission? He was Saul of Tarsus. His mission was to hurt Christians. He killed some and led others to prison (Phil. 3:5-6, I Cor. 14:18, Acts 9).
“He’s kind … We love him!” Later, a man (with a different name) also traveled on mission trips. He knew languages and attended church services. He was highly educated and zealous. He preached the Gospel, taught Christians, and started churches. Who was he? What was his mission? He was the Apostle Paul. His mission was to help Christians. He led many people to Jesus (Phil. 3:7-10).
One Man … with Two Names: Saul and Paul were the same man. As a child, he was called Saul (his Hebrew name). He learned Scripture and did what he thought he should to obey God. As an adult, he grew into a hateful, dangerous man.
What made the Difference? Saul was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter” against Christians when a bright light appeared from Heaven (Acts 9). Jesus spoke to Saul and asked why he persecuted Him. Saul repented of his sin and believed on Jesus. Saul continued to be known to some as “Saul of Tarsus.” As a Roman citizen, Saul was known by his Latin name “Paulus” or his Greek name “Paulos.” In our Bible, we know him as “Paul” (small).
The Big Change: Saul repented. He changed his mind about Jesus, salvation, and self. Saul (the Persecutor) had been dangerous and hateful. Paul (the Apostle) became loving and helpful. He no longer thought of himself as “Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Best / Greatest), but as Chief of Sinners (Worst of the Worst). In your marriage, how do you see yourself? Are you “Best of the Best” and full of pride? Or, are you becoming a loving servant?
“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind…” – Paul (Acts 20:19)