This is a great question which will bring to light a lot of great truth.  First, let’s take a look at what Paul has to say about himself before he became the Apostle Paul.  Let’s read 1 Timothy 1:15, which says “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief” (NKJV).  Wow!  Of all the horrible sinners we know of in the world both now and in Paul’s time, he could call himself the chief of all sinners.  We need to dig a little deeper into that.  Let’s now look at Philippians 3:4-6, “Though I also might have confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”  (NKJV).

Paul, before he was saved, was a persecutor of the church.  Let’s look at Acts 8:3 which reads, “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”  In Galatians 1:13 Paul said, “For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.” (NKJV)  So, we can see from these scriptures who Saul was and that he was arguably the fiercest opponent of the Lord.  But, what happens next?

Let’s go to Acts 9:3-6, ”As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;  and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do” (NASB).  This is the account of Saul’s salvation.  In the verses following, Saul would go on to be filled with the Holy Spirit, be baptized and begin his preaching campaign.  Are you shocked at this revelation?  So were the people of Damascus.  They asked in Acts 9:21, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?”  (NKJV).

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul would go on to write or dictate several instructional and doctrinal letters to the churches.  He wrote at least 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament.  Can you believe that?  There are two very important lessons to be learned from what we have just discussed.   First, Paul said, he was the chief of all sinners yet he found salvation in the Lord Jesus.  If Paul, after violently persecuting the church and partaking in the killings of several followers of Christ, could be saved by the Lord’s grace, why would anyone else be denied the same?  What about you, dear friend?  Can you be saved and receive eternal salvation from the wrath of God that will most certainly come?  The answer is most definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, YES!!  How?  Let’s take some direction from the man we have been discussing.

During what may be referred to as Paul’s second missionary journey, he found himself imprisoned in Philippi.  Let’s read an account of one night in the prison in Acts 16:25-30, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (NKJV)  What was the reply from Paul and Silas?  Acts 16:31 tells us, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (NKJV)  Yep, that’s it!  This was coming from a former Pharisee who had spent the majority of his life trying to “earn” his salvation.

The second important lesson to learn from the account of Paul’s life is that the Lord can and will use the most unlikely of people for the furtherance of the gospel.  The bulk of the teaching of the New Testament was derived under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by Paul.  I hope that learning more about this man will inspire you to continue to read what he has left behind for us.  (182.2)  (JW)