But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, and said,
Saul was a murderous Pharisee and militant defender of the Jewish religious tradition. Paul was a leading Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ and took the gospel to the gentile world.
We talk of course of the same man.
But as Paul, he wasn’t the same man he was.
Who he was, was not who he ultimately became. He was struck down by God, became “filled with the Holy Spirit” and subsequently transformed to such a degree that his name no longer fit.
Saul was the old man, and the old man was now gone.
Paul was the new man, raised up in Jesus image and power, in the place of the old man. And so because the old man was gone, so too was the old name. New man, new name.
Has Jesus transformed your life like that? I don’t mean that you’ve changed your name. But has there been a definite separation from the old person that you used to be before you met Jesus?
Today, we need people like never before in the church who are so radically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ that they name no longer fits them. We need people who’s identities, character, outlook and lifestyle are so radically different and on display all because of an encounter with Jesus.
Trite sayings such as “inviting Jesus into your heart” or “making Jesus your best friend” might mean well, but do they truly capture the radical, all encompassing, life overhaul God wants to visit upon those who turn from their old ways to wholeheartedly embrace His? I look at the life of Paul, who was Saul, and I doubt it.
PRAYER: Father, thank you for saving me. Thank you for Jesus and the radical call you have to make you Lord of all. I love you and invite your Spirit to work in me, enabling me by your grace to strip back everything displeased to you. I am yours Father, In Jesus name, Amen