By Roy S. Fudge
There was a series of lessons given in Fort Worth, Texas in 1948 entitled “Why I Left.” A number of different people told why they left their former religious bodies.
Saul of Tarsus left his former religious ties. Why? When we look at Saul we find he grew up in an important city (Acts 21:39). Saul must have been of a prominent family since they were Roman citizens (Acts 22:27). They were strong religious believers being Pharisees (Acts 26:5). Saul went to Jerusalem to study under the best teachers. He sat at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was at the head of his class (Gal. 1:14). Not only that, but he was well liked by the High Priest (Acts 9:2). His zeal had no bounds (Acts 22:3). It seems Saul had everything any young man could want. So why did he leave it all?
As Saul was letting his zeal and conscience guide him, he went to Damascus to destroy all who followed Christ. However before he reached the city he had a change of heart. A great light shown about him and he heard a voice calling his name. This we read in Acts 9:5. He asked, “Who are you Lord?” The answer came, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.” He saw and talked to Jesus (1 Cor. 15:8). Paul always kept a good conscience (Acts 24:16). He was honest in all he did.
Being honest he looked beyond this life (1 Tim. 4:8). He could not be happy if he was untrue to himself. Paul said, “It is not I that live but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
He had given himself to God. Looking beyond this life he saw the prize set before him (Phil. 3:14). He recognized he was a sinner. Seeing himself as God saw him caused him to want to change. He wanted God to forgive him. He asked what Jesus would have him to do (Acts 9:6). Jesus told him to go into the city and it would be told him what to do. Ananias was sent to him. He told him to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins (Acts 22:16; 9:17-18). Paul was determined to do what was right in the sight of God (2 Tim. 3:10-11). Paul understood his duty before God and lived as God would have him to do (1 Cor. 9:16). It was his duty to preach to and save as many people as he could (Rom. 10:1).
Do we love God as Paul did? Will we give ourselves wholly to him? Do we have that desire to be forgiven and go to live with the redeemed of all ages?