The essence of genuine repentance is that the mind does a turnaround. The Greek word is metanoia, meaning, literally, “to change one’s mind.” That’s precisely what happened to the once-proud Pharisee on the road to Damascus. So many things within Saul’s thinking changed—and changed completely. He changed his mind about God, about Jesus, about the Resurrection, about those who followed Christ. He must have shaken his head for days. He thought Christ was dead. Now he was convinced Jesus was alive. This One who knew his name also knew what he’d been doing. The raging rebel had finally met his match, and there was no place or way to hide.
Now let me pause to clarify something important. Some Christians try to impose their rigid system of dos and don’ts on the issue of conversion. I want to caution against that sort of exercise. It’s impossible to find any single place in Scripture that reveals the one-and-only way every sinner comes to Christ. While the message of the Gospel is the same, methods differ. We are so conditioned by denominational backgrounds, religious traditionalism, and narrow-thinking prejudice, we miss the point of God’s grace. We tend to require more than God does! Be careful about exacting requirements on someone who genuinely turns to the Savior.
Lost people are saved while listening to a great song about Christ or while hearing a preacher or Bible teacher explaining God’s Word from a pulpit or over television or on the radio. Others are saved during a small-group Bible study. Many come to Him on their own, while praying in the privacy of their homes. Day or night a sinner can call on the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and be saved. Let’s stop making it so complicated. As it happened with Saul, grace abounds.
Regardless of exactly when Saul was converted, he realized that the living Jesus, whom he had hated and denied his entire life, was now his Savior and Lord.
Is He your Savior and Lord too?
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.