Today we conclude our series on whether or not a person’s disposition can change. Over the week we have asked if we can change and how that can take place and we have looked at people who changed, beginning with the disciples James and John and concluding with John Mark. Today we look at the most remarkable change of all–that of Saul of Tarsus.
We are almost all familiar with the story of Saul of Tarsus. He was a contemporary of Jesus and His disciples, but Saul was a Pharisee of the strictest sort. In response to the news that Jesus had been raised from the dead, Saul went on a rampage. He charged into the homes of believers and participated in the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:54-8:1). He asked for and received permission of the chief priest and the Sanhedrin to travel to Damascus, Syria, to hunt down and arrest those who were followers of the Way (as the early Christian movement was known).
Later in life, Paul could say that he had been the chief of sinners. Paul never got over the fact that he had persecuted the Lord Himself. Then, God did the unimaginable–He appeared to Paul and called this persecutor and rebel to follow Him. And, he did!
The change in Paul has been used of God to change the world. Saul, the hater of Christ, came to love and obey Christ.
Paul’s writings vividly reveal the change in him. Like no one else, Paul could talk about life change and having a different disposition. Paul said, “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). Paul talked about the importance of the mind in transformation, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Romans 12:2, NLT).
Even with as long as it has been since the time of Paul, rebels against God recognize that no one is beyond the power of God to be forgiven and to be changed from the inside out.
God did this for Paul, and He wants to do this for you.