When Was Saul Saved?

by Mark Aites

 

Many in the religious community have long held the belief that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus when he encountered the light from heaven.  But it seems almost inconceivable that they overlook the words which Jesus spoke to Saul: Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6)

The Lord’s plan in redeeming man requires that man be the bearer of the gospel which saves (2 Corinthians 4:7), and that man be the one to baptize. Both an angel of the Lord and the Holy Spirit guided Philip to the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26, 29).  And in the conversion of Saul, the Lord sent Ananias to Saul, instructing Ananias by means of a vision (Acts 9:10ff).  Since man, therefore, is a bearer of the gospel, and administrator of the baptism which saves, Saul could not have been saved on the road to Damascus since he had not yet been baptized for the remission of sins (cf. Acts 2:38).

Saul could not have been saved on the road to Damascus because he would have been saved in his sins.  In Acts 22:16, Ananias told him to, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  This statement was made after Saul was led into the city and not while on the road!

It is a plain and simple fact that Saul was saved in the same way we are today.  Because he was an apostle, we know that he saw the Lord on the road to Damascus; therefore we know that he had the faith that Jesus is the Christ.  The repentance of sins was evident in that he fasted for three days (Acts 9:9).  He confessed the Lord and opened His heart to do His will (Acts 9:6).  And he was baptized to have his sins washed away (Acts 22:16).

Those who would have Saul saved on the road to Damascus are trying to teach a salvation in a manner different from that of Scripture.  Once again we have the confirmation that we cannot be saved without being baptized for the remissions of sins.