And he trembling and astonished said, LORD, what wilt thou have me to do?…

ACTS 9:6

The most harmful mistake we make concerning time is to think that it has somehow a mysterious power to perfect human nature and change the human personality.

We say of a foolish young man, “Time will make him wiser,” or we see a new Christian acting like anything but a Christian and hope that time will someday turn him into a saint.

The truth is that time has no more power to sanctify a man than space has. Indeed, time is only a fiction by which we account for change. It is a transformation, not time, that turns fools into wise men and sinners into saints, Christ bringing it about by means of the changes He works in the heart!

Saul the persecutor became Paul the servant of God, but time did not make the change. Christ wrought the miracle, the same Christ who once changed water into wine. One spiritual experience followed another in fairly rapid succession until the violent Saul became a gentle, God-enamored soul, ready to lay down his life for the faith he once hated. It should be obvious that time had no part in the making of the man of God!

Human nature is not fixed and for this we should thank God day and night! We are still capable of change. We can become something other than what we are. By the power of the gospel the covetous man may become generous, the egotist lowly in his own eyes. The thief may learn to steal no more, the blasphemer to fill his mouth with praises unto God.[1]


“but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.” And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one. And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. (9:6–8)

The genuineness of Saul’s conversion immediately became evident. From Acts 22:10, we learn that he asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” Saul’s surrender was complete, as he humbly submitted himself to the will of the Lord he had hated. In contrast to the teaching of many today, Saul knew nothing of accepting Christ as Savior, then (Hopefully) making him Lord later. The plain teaching of Scripture is that Jesus is Lord (cf. Rom. 10:9–10), independent of any human response. The question in salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord, but whether we are submissive to His lordship. Saul was, from the moment of his conversion to the end of his life.

In response to Saul’s inquiry, Jesus told him to rise and enter the city of Damascus, and it shall be told you what you must do. Luke notes that the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one. This incident was no subjective projection of Saul’s mind but an actual historical occurrence. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. His entry into the city was very different than he had anticipated. Instead of barging in as the conquering hero, the scourge of Christians, he entered helplessly blinded, being led by the hand.

God crushed Saul, bringing him to the point of total consecration. From the ashes of Saul’s old life would arise the noblest and most useful man of God the church has ever known.[2]

9:3–6 His traveling party drew near Damascus. Suddenly a great light shone around him from heaven, causing Saul to fall to the ground. He heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” When Saul inquired, “Who are You, Lord?” he was told, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

In order to appreciate Saul’s emotions at this time, it is necessary to remember that he was convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was dead and buried in a Judean grave. Since the leader of the sect had been destroyed, all that was now necessary was to destroy his followers. Then the earth would be free of this scourge.

Now with crushing force, Saul learns that Jesus is not dead at all, but that He has been raised from the dead and has been glorified at the right hand of God in heaven! It was this sight of the glorified Savior that changed the entire direction of his life.

Saul also learned that day that when he had been persecuting the disciples of Jesus, he had been persecuting the Lord Himself. Pain inflicted on the members of the Body on earth was felt by the Head of the Body in heaven.

For Saul it was first doctrine, then duty. First, he was properly instructed as to the Person of Jesus. Then he was sent into Damascus where he would receive his marching orders.[3]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1994). Acts (p. 269). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1609). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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