Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Conversion, Call and Consequences

These are some observations regarding Paul's conversion in Acts.

Acts contains elements of conversion and call in each passage. Ananias doubted Paul’s status until God’s revelation (Acts 9:13). Paul only received the Holy Spirit when Ananias laid hands on him (Acts 9:17). Paul was baptized, demonstrating belonging to Christ (Acts 9:18). If strictly a calling, he would have previously been baptized.

Acts 22:16, “…be baptized and wash your sins away” indicates conversion, the significance of which Paul teaches in Romans 6:3, 4; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:4-6 and Colossians 2:12. Each passage implicates new life in Christ. Baptism’s presence signifies conversion.

Paul’s commissioning is also intrinsic to the pericopes. God tells Ananias of Paul’s work (Acts 9:15). Paul immediately started preaching in the synagogues (Acts 9:20). God sends Paul to the gentiles (Acts 22:21). God appoints Paul as a servant and witness (Acts 26:16). Could this indicate conversion (servant) and calling (witness)? Acts twenty-six places greater emphasis on Paul’s ministry.

“The Acts material is essential to understanding the events surrounding Paul’s conversion/call experience.[1]. After reading DPL, I not only see Paul’s conversion in Acts, but calling also. Later Christians may model Paul since conversion precedes proclamation. The unique feature is that field to which God calls. Unlike most, Paul’s preaching immediately followed conversion due to scripture knowledge. “The result of the conversion/call experience in which Paul came to know Christ is a complete transformation.”[2]

[1] Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin and Daniel G. Reid, eds., Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993, 158.

[2] Ibid., 159.

The Bible. New International Version.

No comments: