So why did God wait until Saul approached Damascus to confront him? Of course, Saul posed no threat to God. God could have easily killed Saul for murdering Christians. But God did not choose death to confront and maybe resolve Saul’s hate toward Christians. Instead, God used light. As a matter of fact, this light was two things.
Category: Jesus Page 1 of 2
A light flashed around Saul when he approached Damascus. But what was this light like? It was an unordinary light. That is to say, it wasn’t like the sun that was probably already shining. In fact, it had to be brighter than the sun, moon, or any other light that shined. Furthermore, this light surrounded him. Unlike the sun, a lamp, the moon, or any other light we see normally, this light had no earthly reference point. It was like a light without end or beginning—an eternal light. This eternal light, Scripture says, is unapproachable and enough for all sight (1 Timothy 6:16; Revelation 21:23). By “all sight,” I mean physical and spiritual sight. But Scripture states that this light came from heaven. So is the light from the sky or a spiritual sky, such as eternal heaven? We must take this passage as literal, though it has figurative implications. For instance, a light can be eternal even though it “breaks” into the physical world. The most immediate example of this is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, being eternal and from heaven “broke the sky” to shine an eternal light to all humans. For instance, Scripture says, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:4). Here, we see a combination of how eternal light operates in the physical world. So there are figurative and literal meanings to Saul’s experience. With that said, these meanings point to a light that flashes like lightning and envelops Saul.
God covered me. He covered us and watched us in the night. He watched us with our backs turned toward danger. Danger did not visit us. It has not singed our hairs. We do not smell like smoke. The destroyer passed by. He passed over our house. Jesus preserved my legacy. The blood of Jesus Christ runs through us. It covers us. Jesus keeps us under his protection forever. God cares for us extremely.
So we know faith without actions is dead. But we should not assume actions develop naturally. Instead, we must use actions. Here, actions translate to “work.” But what is the importance of thinking of actions as work? Most of us think work relates to a job. A job is like a profession or a vocation. Similarly, people might say a job is their calling. Nevertheless, if we think of actions as work or employment, we can think of godly actions as part of a contract. By as part of a contract, I mean being a part of an agreement. This agreement to produce godly actions, thus, comes from a working relationship with Jesus Christ. In a sense, this contract is not negotiable. When people are employed, they use their skills for a task. Likewise, when Christians are employed, they use their faith for tasks, jobs, and sometimes tribulations.
Lord, you are my shepherd that I will not want (Psalm 23:1). How can I want anything when you supply my every need (Philippians 4:19)? Am I not rich in Jesus to be rich in good works (1 Timothy 6:18)? So what is there in life to give other than my life to give. In other words, is not my life the only thing I can sacrifice to you, Lord? How can I not offer my body, mind, and strength as a living sacrifice, which is holy and acceptable to you (Romans 12:1)?
Lord, you* are greater than all things. Did you not create all things? Is not everything made by you (John 1:3)? The water, air, earth, animals, plants, people, and universe are your creation. What is not subject to you, Lord? The rocks on the ground are even subject to your rule. In fact, if you allowed them to, they would praise your name (Luke 19:40). What would these rocks say other than what is true? Would they say, “Please save us now in the highest degree! Save us eternally!” And it is for this reason you came to the world. You came to save us by meeting your hour of gruesome death (John 12:27). But this death could not keep you in the tomb.
Thus, a lack of faith puts us in a terrible predicament. A lack of faith makes us unacceptable to God. Our unacceptableness arises from our sinful life. This sinful past is present with everyone, and it makes us guilty before God. For instance, David, fearing judgment from God, says, “Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you” (Psalm 143:2). David emphasizes not only his fear of the judgment of God, but why everyone should be fearful. We should be fearful because we have all been unfaithful toward God.
Therefore, simple actions that appear righteous do not please God. So, God wants something more. But how can we please God? On this question, Scripture states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Here, God emphasizes that if we are to please him, we must have faith in him. But what does this faith mean? What is its relationship to our actions?
Now, it is interesting how Jesus’ desire for mercy resembles another place in Scripture. This passage is in the book of Samuel. In Samuel, the prophet Samuel tells King Saul that “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Samuel stresses that God wants obedience more than burnt offerings. Samuel says this to King Saul because Saul disobeyed God. God told Saul to kill every Amakelite and all their animals (1 Samuel 15:1-7). But Saul kept their king alive and saved the best of their animals. Yet when Samuel met Saul about this rebellion, Saul claimed the animals were for a sacrifice to God.
These questions point us to how God wants us to see justice, judgment, and mercy. Of course, justice and judgment are important to God. Still, mercy is important, if not most important. But how is mercy, perhaps, more important than justice or judgment? Well, of the control we have on events, we have control of mercy. In contrast, justice and judgment are prohibited and left to God. For instance, Scripture says, “judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). This statement stresses that we are not to judge; correct and precise judgment will happen when Jesus Christ returns. Such judgment is impossible through us.