Church of Christ
Mission USA


by Perry Sexton

      Our salvation should be the most important thing to us.  However, most seem to be too busy with job, family, recreation, etc., to give serious consideration to their most valuable possession: their own soul (Matthew 16:26).  Many are too busy to give an honest and sincere study of the words of life (John 6:63,68).  A wise man (Matthew 7:24) will seek God first (Matthew 6:19-21,33).  We hope and trust that you are wise. 

      Many rely on their preacher to tell them what they need to know concerning their salvation.  This is most dangerous because we are warned of God of the many false teachers in the world.  How can you know that someone is telling you the truth unless you search the Scriptures carefully yourself (cp. Acts 17:11)?  Jesus said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).  How?  Jesus tells us: “…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” (v.31). 

      You have probably heard someone preach about the conversion of Saul, who became the apostle Paul.  But, you may not have heard the truth of the matter because there are many false teachers in the world teaching perverse things (2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1; Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29, 30).  As in all religious matters we must go to the Bible in order to learn the truth (John 17:17; 8:31,32; Acts 17:11).  Please read the account of Saul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-22.  Also there are other verses that we need to consider, such as where Saul, now the apostle Paul, is recounting his conversion in Acts 22.

      Even before his conversion, Saul was a very religious man (Galatians 1:14), but being religious alone was and is not enough (cp. Matthew 7:21-23; 15:9-14).  One must be religiously correct (2 John 9)!  It does make a difference what one believes.  Saul was also very zealous (Galatians 1:14), but zeal without knowledge is unprofitable (Romans 10:1-3).  Saul was blameless in light of the Old Testament law because he was obedient (Philippians 3:6).  Saul was highly educated in the Jew’s religion (Acts 22:3).  We find that Saul was a prayerful man (Acts 9:11), but the prayers of sinners are not heard to be answered by God (John 9:31; Isaiah 59:1,2 cp. James 5:16b).  Saul was conscientious (Acts 23:1) and sincere (Acts 9:9).  Saul, as many do, “thought” he was saved (Acts 23:1; 26:9 cp. John 5:39; Matt. 7:21-23), but he was lost in his sins (cp. Romans 6:23). 

      He was lost because he was religiously incorrect.  He was keeping the old law when it was no longer in force (2 Corinthians 3:6-14; Romans 7:6,7; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14, etc.).  Saul, as all people, had to be converted to Jesus by the new law.  How do we know Saul was lost at this point?  Saul had to be baptized in order to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16).  If he was saved at this point, he would not have needed to be baptized “for the remission of sins” (cp. Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21).  One cannot be baptized to “wash away sins” if he has no sins to wash away.  And if he has no sins, he is not lost.  To be in sin is to be lost (cp. Romans 6:23).

Let Us Now Consider Saul’s Experiences

      On the road to Damascus Saul had many wonderful and great experiences (Acts 9:3ff).  He saw a light (v.3); he heard a voice (v.4); he spoke with Jesus (v.5); he saw the Lord (Acts 22:14); he believed and confessed Jesus (Acts 9:6); he repented (v.9); he saw a vision (v.12).  But, my friends, Saul was still lost in his sins!  Again Acts 22:16 and more: What one thing has Saul done so far that saved him?  He believed, confessed Jesus, and repented, all of this is a part of God’s plan of salvation, but not all of God’s plan.  Saul needed to be baptized “for the remission of sins” just like all people in the Christian Age must (Acts 2:38), and Saul was baptized for the remission of sins when he learned the truth (Acts 22:16).

      Please consider these things my friends: if Saul was saved before baptism (1.) The Savior Himself did not know it.  It is impossible for this to be!  Can you imagine one being saved and the Savior not knowing it?!  I know by book, chapter, and verse that the Lord knew Saul wasn’t saved at this point because the Lord told him to “go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6).  (2.) Ananias did not know that Saul was saved, because he told Saul what else he needed to do in order to be saved as the Lord instructed (Acts 22:16 cp  9:6; Mark 16:15, 16).  (3.) Saul himself did not know he was saved because he asked what he needed to do (Acts 9:6).

      Also friends, if Saul had been saved while on the road to Damascus, would he have been so miserable (Acts 9:8, 9)?  All other conversion accounts, where such is given, speak of the ones just saved as rejoicing (Acts 8:40; 16:34, send for the chart on conversions).  Even Saul/Paul, much after his conversion and while in a most woeful state, rejoiced and “sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25).  How did Saul react just after his experiences on the road to Damascus?  He was miserable!  Why?  Because he knew he was lost in his sins (Acts 9:9).  After baptism he went about the Lord’s work (Acts 9:18-20). 

      Many today are like what Saul was: they think they are saved, but are yet lost in their sins (cp. Matthew 7:21-23).  Many think they are saved by their “experiences,” but my friends, there is no record in the Bible where anyone has ever been saved by “experiences”!  This is not God’s way.  This is just another tactic of Satan to deceive many and he has.       

      My friends, have you truly obeyed God in scriptural baptism?  Because of false teachers (Matthew 7:15), many think they have, but in fact have not, and are yet lost in sin (Matthew 7:21-23).  All that we ask is that you believe and accept God’s Word, obey it and be certain of your salvation.  I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Visit the church of Christ in your area.  ♥