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The apostle Paul, also known in Scripture as Saul of Tarsus, wrote several New Testament books and is a prominent character in the Book of Acts. Once an unbelieving Jew and a great persecutor of the church, after his conversion Paul became an apostle and a tireless servant of Jesus Christ. Details about his obedience to the Gospel are recorded in Acts chapters nine, twenty-two and twenty-six. This information is useful today to learn how to receive the forgiveness of sins.
Paul was an unbelieving Jew as he neared the city of Damascus. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem had given him authority to capture and imprison Christians. Paul was already famous for his capture and imprisonment of other Christian men and women, some of whom were executed with his approval.
Jesus Christ caused a bright light to blind Paul. Jesus then convicted Paul of his sins against the church of Christ. Paul was sincere and obviously believed in the Christ whose church he was before trying to destroy. "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou MUST DO" (Acts 9:6).
Paul's question is evidence that he was not yet saved. Our Lord's reply is further evidence that Paul was still lost. However, Jesus assured him that in Damascus he would be told what he MUST DO to be saved. Paul, then, was not saved ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS. Neither was he saved by faith alone, since in the city Paul would be told what he MUST DO to be saved.
After Paul prayed and fasted three days in Damascus, a Christian named Ananias was sent to him by Jesus Christ. Ananias said, "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). This was the MUST DO of which Jesus spoke three days earlier on the road to Damascus.
Prayer and fasting was unable to take away Paul's sins. However, his sins were washed away when he was baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Even the sin of killing Christians was taken away at baptism.
Sins are forgiven in the same way today. Paul was taught the Gospel truth (by Jesus Christ and Ananias). Obviously, Paul believed what he was taught and repented or changed. Then, Paul washed away his sins in baptism. By his words and actions Paul never stopped telling the world about Jesus.
Other people whose conversions are recorded in the Book of Acts were saved in the same way Paul was saved. They all were taught the Word of God, believed, repented, professed Christ and were baptized. You, too, can be saved like Paul! There is no other way anyone truly can be saved. Have your sins been washed away in baptism?