Paul’s Visions-Conversion

The book of Acts records seven visions of the Apostle Paul.  They are not dreams or hallucinations.  They are moments and/or seasons of heightened focus and clarity. The first of these visions is found in Acts 9:3-6.  It describes an abrupt encounter with Christ that completely altered the trajectory of Paul’s life.

Paul’s narrative is sandwiched between two other conversion experiences: that of the Ethiopian government official and of Cornelius, a Roman centurion.  The salvation experience of each individual is unique, but the essence of what has taken place is identical.  We must avoid trying to package how God works with us using a cookie-cutter mentality.  We should avoid coercing people by telling them what to pray or how to feel and respond: this sends them on their way with pseudo-forgiveness and a get-out-of-jail-free card securing their eternal destiny.  Our salvation is conceived in eternity past, completed in eternity future, and progressively comprehended in the eternal now.  Calling upon the Lord for salvation is an affirmation of this.

In Acts, there are three instances in which Paul tells his of his conversion experience (9:1-19; 22:1-21; 26:9-18).  He does not embellish, but in the flow of life, the features of his story are emphasized via the Holy Spirit.  He humbly tells of his conduct before his conversion.  He speaks of the circumstances of his conversion and his understanding of a new life in Christ.  He also speaks of his commission from Christ that obviously resulted in his living for the Lord.

In the next post, “SANCTIFICATION”:  What does a life transformed by Christ look like?  Are these traits recognizable or measurable?  How is all of this achieved? Do we work at it or rest in it?