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Before his conversion, Saul was a Jew who persecuted Christians, because he believed Jesus was a false teacher. But one day, as Saul traveled to the city of Damascus, Jesus miraculously appeared and spoke to Saul. This convinced Saul that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Jesus said, Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do (Acts 9:6). Three days later, a disciple named Ananias came to tell Saul what he must do. As a result, Saul was baptized. Later, he became known as the Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the books of the New Testament.
But exactly how was Saul saved? Some people say a person is saved as soon as he believes in Jesus. Other people say we should pray the sinner´s prayer. And Saul surely did believe in Jesus, and Acts 9:11 says he prayed for three days. But if he was saved at that point, then he was saved before Ananias told him what he must do.
What did Ananias tell Saul to do? The answer is in Acts 22:16. Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Saul was still in his sins till he was baptized. Yes, a person must believe in Jesus, but Saul was not forgiven as soon as he believed. Nor is an alien sinner forgiven by prayer. Saul´s conversion shows us that sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus when one is baptized, not before.
Have you been saved like Saul?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 5/2008
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.