Thursday, July 19, 2012

When and Where Was Saul Saved? - Acts 9 and 22

Yes, the question is; "Where and when was Saul saved?"  (In our next post we will examine the question; "How was Saul saved?")

Nearly  all people say Saul was saved on the road to Damascus.  But...was he?  Was Saul told to "pray through" or say the "sinners prayer?"  If so, whose version of that prayer was he to pray?  Did Christ or Ananias tell Saul to "say a prayer "something like this?"

Another presumed "truth" from Acts 9 is that "Saul was knocked off  his beast of burden."  But...was he?  The picture to your left illustrates it so but is it history or speculation?  We will not answer these questions by reason, logic, emotion, conviction or opinion.  Let's, rather, look at what the Scriptures say!
  
That's what the Bereans did in Acts 17.11, why not us?  First of all Acts 9 tells us that Saul simply "fell tot he ground."  It never says whether he was riding an animal or walking.  We simply don't know, the Scripture is silent on that account.  This account of Saul's trip to Damascus is one of the most misunderstood and, therefore, one of the most abused passages in all the New Testament.  Out of such misunderstandings come the nightmares of allegory, presumption and error.  

We will approach out subject like an interview.  Questions are asked of the Scripture and the Scripture answers.  We will not speculate, presume or spiritualize the answers...the answers will neither add to nor take anything away from the Word of God.  Here goes!

1. Was Saul saved when he was still in Jerusalem?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.1a - "But Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord..."  Acts 22.4 - "I persecuted this Way to the death..."

2. Was Saul saved when he went to the High Priest for letters of extradition?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.1b fl. - "...(Saul) went to the High Priest and asked for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."  Acts 22.4 - 5 - "...binding and delivering to prison both men and women as the high priest and the whole counsel of elders can bear me witness."

3. Was Saul saved when he saw the light and fell to the ground?  Were his sins at this point washed away?    Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.4 - "...he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting [present tense - RM] me?"  Acts 22.Acts 22.6fl - "As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me....And I fell to the ground."

4. Did Saul "know the Lord" on the road?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.4 - "Who are you, Lord?"  Acts 22.8 - "And I answered, "Who are you, Lord?"

5. Did Jesus tell Saul what he needed to do for salvation on the road?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this time?  No.  Acts 9.6 - "But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."  Acts 22.10 - "And I said, "What shall I do, Lord?"  And the Lord said to me, "Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do."

6. Did Saul find salvation during the 3 days in Damascus?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.9 - "And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank."  Acts 22.11 - "...I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus."

7. Did God send a preacher to Saul?  Yes.  Acts 9.11 - "Rise and go to the street called Straight...for behold he is praying."

8. Was Saul saved when he was praying?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.12 - Jesus told Ananias that "...he (Saul) has seen in a vision a man named Ananias..."

9. Did Saul's vision of Ananias contain instructions for his salvation?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No. Acts 9.12 - "...and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay hands on him so that he might regain his sight."  (Note that the word "might" is conditional.)

10. Was Ananias' gospel message to Saul conditional?  Yes.  Acts 9.17 - "...(Jesus) has sent me so that you may (conditional - RM) regain your sight AND be filled with the Holy Spirit."

11. Was Saul saved when he received back his sight?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  No.  Acts 9.18 - "And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight."  Acts 22.13fl - "....(Ananias) came to me, and standing by me, said to me, brother Saul receive your sight"  And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him."

12. Was Saul saved when he was baptized?  Were his sins at this point washed away?  Did he "call upon the Name of the Lord" at this point?  Yes.  Acts 9.18c - "...Then he rose and was baptized..."  Acts 22.16 - "And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His Name."

There we have it!  Saul was saved in Damascus.  His salvation took place AFTER the light, AFTER the voice of Christ, AFTER three days of prayer and fasting, AFTER he received back his sight and AFTER he heard the Word of God preached to him by the preacher Ananias.  Saul was saved when he was BAPTIZED when his sins were WASHED AWAY which, together, constitutes CALLING UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD!  Though nearly everyone denies the reality of where and when Saul was saved, the Word of God makes it plain...one "calls upon the Name of the Lord" in baptism which "washes away sins!"  Where was Saul saved?  In Damascus.  When was Saul saved?  When he was baptized, washing away his sins and "calling on the Name of the Lord."


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