If Saul Was Saved On The Road To Damascus…
Many people believe that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus. They say that whenever Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, he was saved the moment he believed on the Lord. However, we must be careful to listen to what the Biblical account of Saul’s conversion actually says. In considering this, you need to recognize that the story of Saul’s conversion is told in Acts 9, and then retold in Acts 22 and Acts 26. So, in order to get the complete picture of his conversion, you must study all three chapters. And, this story gives a different picture than what many people believe. Therefore, consider a few necessary conclusions if Saul was saved on the road to Damascus.
1) He was saved before the Lord knew it. When Saul recognized that it was the Lord who was speaking to him, he, “trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’” (Acts 9:6). He recognized that he had sinned against God by persecuting those who followed Jesus Christ and needed to be saved. So, he asked what the Lord wanted him to do. The Lord responded, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). Notice that Jesus did not say that Saul was already saved. Instead, he required Saul to go into Damascus to learn what he needed to do to be saved. So, if Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, he was saved before the Lord knew it.
2) He was saved before Ananias knew it. The Lord appeared to a man named Ananias in a vision and told him to go and see Saul and that Saul was expecting him. So, Ananias went to Saul the same hour. When he spoke with Saul, he asked, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Then, Ananias baptized Saul (Acts 9:18). Now, why would Ananias tell Saul about the need for his sins to be washed away if Saul had already been saved? For, if Saul had really been saved on the road to Damascus, his sins would have already been forgiven. Yet, Ananias saw the need to baptize Saul so that he could have the forgiveness of his sins. So, if Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, he was saved before Ananias knew it.
3) He was saved before he knew it. Whenever the Lord instructed Saul to go into Damascus to be told what he must do, Saul went. And, he had to be led into Damascus because he had been struck with blindness whenever the Lord appeared to him. Acts 9:9 says, “And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” Now, if Saul was saved at this point, he was the most miserable saved person the Bible tells us about! His reaction to being saved would be quite different than the reaction that others (like the Ethiopian Eunuch and the Philippian jailor) had to being saved. These individuals rejoiced because they were saved (see Acts 8:39 and Acts 16:34). Then, if Saul had been saved and had his sins forgiven on the road to Damascus, why would he have been baptized so that his sins could be washed away (Acts 22:16; Acts 9:18). So, if Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, he was saved before he knew it.
Clearly, the Lord, Ananias, and Saul all knew that Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus! For, Saul still had sins that needed to be forgiven (Acts 22:16). Saul was required to go into the city in order to be told what he must do (Acts 9:6). Whenever he got into the city, he was told that he must be baptized in order to have his sins washed away (Acts 22:16). Therefore, Saul was not saved until he did what he was told that he must do!