Continuing with the train of thought in the previous study, we will look at this same thing now with a real life example or two in the Bible. Sometimes it makes it even easier to understand when we can actually see it happening in real life. We have someone who is a live illustration of what Jesus commanded in regard to salvation!
Turn to Acts 22. In verses 1 and 2, the apostle Paul (formerly called "Saul") is about to give his "defense" to a group of people who are trying to have him imprisoned. He is going to explain to them who he was, and is, and what has brought him to preach about Jesus. Let's read...
Read Acts 22:3-5.
What is the first thing you know about Saul?
- He was a Jew, zealous for Jewish tradition, strictly educated, a persecutor of the church, killed Christians.
Was this man saved (as of verse 5)?
- Yes or No? Obviously, no. Most will agree that a non-believing murderer is not saved according to Jesus.
Simple enough, let's keep reading: Acts 22:6-10 -- Saul encounters the risen Jesus on the way to Damascus.
What does Saul ask in verse 8?
- "Who are you?" ...He doesn't know who he is talking to yet.
- He doesn't know who Jesus is -- can he be saved at this point? No.
Verse 10 -- what does Saul ask now?
- "What shall I do?" ...Does he believe now? Yes!
- He believes this is Jesus and changes his mind about Jesus (repents).
- He wants to do what Jesus wants him to do now.
- He calls Jesus "Lord" (confesses).
Is Saul a saved man at this point?
- Consider your answer in light of the verses we read in the previous study.
What did the Lord say (verse 10)?
- Go to Damascus; there it will be shown what you must do.
Let's see what's next... Read Acts 22:11-16 -- God sends Ananias to help Saul and talk to him.
Verse 16 -- When would Saul's sins be washed away?
- "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."
If you said that he was already saved in the second picture (when he believed, repented, confessed), is that correct?
If his sins still hadn't been washed away before verse 16, that solidly tells us that he was not saved at the point of verse 10. Remember that there is no such thing as salvation without the forgiveness, or washing away, of sins. Because sin separates us from God, salvation and the forgiveness of sins are one and the same. According to God's word, as demonstrated in the conversion of Saul, at what point does that forgiveness take place?