Acts Highlights Series
ACTS HIGHLIGHTS SERIES
12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem because of false charges brought by the Jews. He asked for permission to speak in his own defense. Part of his defense included events surrounding his conversion.
The conversion of Paul is one of the most important events of the Christian church since the death of Christ. The study of his conversion reveals so much about what constitutes Bible conversion in the New Testament era.
His conversion included repentance. Paul stopped persecuting the followers of Jesus and became obedient to Jesus. He was instructed by Jesus to go to Damascus and wait for a man by the name of Annanias who would tell him what he was required to do.
It is the grace of God that leads us to repentance, but God allows us to make that decision.
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (NIV)
2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV)
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Our attention is draw to a powerful statement Paul made about water baptism. Annanias directed him to be baptized so that his sins would be washed away (remitted).
Some say that baptism is not essential for salvation. What does the Bible say?
Jesus plainly stated that baptism is a part of the salvation process.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Scripture reveals that baptism precedes and is essential for the newness of life that Christians have in Christ.
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Peter plainly declare that baptism is a part of the salvation process.
1 Pet 3:20-21
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (NIV)
The act of water baptism is a part of the new birth mentioned by Jesus in John 3, but it is a separate event from the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Those at Cornelius’ house received the Holy Ghost first and then were commanded to be baptized in Jesus name.
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Paul’s conversion also included the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
The conversion of Paul is in agreement with every other conversion experience listed in the book of Acts including Peter’s. Jesus told Peter to strengthen the brethren after his conversion. This took place in Acts 2.
Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Could we think that the conversion process would be any different today than it was for Peter, Paul and all the others in the book of Acts? This cannot be. That which was preached by the early church is exactly what God will require for conversion until the church is raptured.
Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.