REACTIONS TO A CHANGED LIFE

Scripture Reading:  Acts 9:19-25

“And all who heard him (Saul) were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name?  And has he not come  here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?’…When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him.”  (Acts 9:21,23)

After his conversion, Saul began to preach Jesus in the synagogues at Damascus.  His preaching was convincing and powerful:  “But Saul increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ” (v. 22).  Jesus Christ radically changed Saul’s life.  This is the nature of true conversion — it is life-changing.

Notice the reaction of the people to Saul’s changed life.  Some were amazed.  They could not believe that Saul had experienced such a radical change in his life.  In fact, they were still a bit skeptical.  Others, however, wanted to kill him because Saul threatened their religious traditions.  Things got so dangerous that the disciples had to help Saul escape from the city.

We must remember that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).  The Greek word that is translated “power” has the same root word that we get our English “dynamite” from.  When the gospel comes to bear upon a person, it is explosive because it produces a radical change in that life.  We should expect such changes in people when they experience true conversion.  The gospel changes them from the inside out.  It changes their motives, attitudes, and actions.

Some people are suspect of people who have this radical change.  They may even question the motives of a person who goes through a radical transformation.  Others may resist and reject them because they become offensive to them.  Those who react to changed people may feel that these people have become too serious about faith.  However, true believers should expect radical transformation in a person’s life when he or she embraces Christ.

The gospel by nature is a change agent.  When we experience a true conversion, we will repent, that is, we will have a change of mind and heart.  Then the rest of our Christian lives is about continual growth.  We constantly change because the Holy Spirit is at work in us.

Lord Jesus, I know that the gospel is the power of God for salvation.  It produces change from the inside out.  Let me yield to the Spirit’s work in my life so that I can become more and more Christlike each day.

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