Thank you so much for reading the posts about our identity in Christ. I have so enjoyed putting this blog series together and I hope you have enjoyed it. Today, I have another guest blogger, Natasha Smith, who shares an uncomplicated guide: Who is Paul in the Bible?
Natasha Smith is a wife, homeschool mom, and North Carolina native who loves Jesus. She is passionate about sharing her life experiences and biblical perspective to “Inspire you to do life better” through faith and with Intention. To learn more about her, you can find her at lovelyyoublog.com and Facebook. You can also find her bio at the end of the blog post.
Who is Paul in the Bible?
Have you ever run into an old friend or someone from your past and you didn’t recognize them? Like there were some things that were familiar, but something was definitely different about them.
Or have you ever looked back in your own life and thought, I don’t even recognize myself?
I’ve been there.
I had left behind a career of over a decade to homeschool our children. And it somehow grieved me. And I was challenged for the first few years.
I felt, with each passing year, that I was losing myself. Like I did not know who I was.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I had placed so much of my identity in my career. Instead of placing it in Christ.
So, I believe that sometimes it takes an “identity crisis” of sorts, in order to realize that our truest self, that our truest identity can only be found in Christ. The one who created us and the one in whom we were made for.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Colossians 1:16
But this is what we find has happened to Paul in the book of Acts.
People who encountered Paul noticed that something had changed about him..
“But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:21
There was something different about Paul. What was it?
Paul’s identity in Christ had changed because of his heart being changed. It all begins with his life as Saul.
Paul’s old self
In Acts 9, we find Paul has been continuing to make threats. He was arresting Christians of that day, having them imprisoned and even witnessing them being killed.
Then we know, the story continues that on Saul’s way to Damascus, “suddenly” a light shined on him from heaven.
Paul fell to the ground and heard a voice.
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Who are you, Lord? Saul asked. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. Acts 9:4
Related Blog Posts
- Who am I? Discover who you are in Christ, 7-week bible study
- Ruth’s identity in Christ: a new Heritage
- Rahab’s identity in Christ: a reward for faith
- What does God see when He looks at me?
- How does knowing God change me?
God’s Grace toward Paul
Saul must have thought, I’m about to die. God is surely going to kill me.
Paul deserved to be killed on the spot. He had killed many Christians. If we knew Paul and saw what He did to others, I am sure we would have condemned him to death.
But God had other plans.
The story goes to tell how Saul being struck blind, later receives his sight and was filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the start of Paul’s identity in Christ.
6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Paul’s Identity in Christ
What we find in this story is the goodness of God “leading” Saul. Paul’s identity in Christ changed through a heart change.
Paul could not have changed on his own. He needed the power of God in him to make the change.
After everything that Saul had done, God could have chosen to just strike him dead, but he didn’t.
Because it is never God’s goal to kill us. But it is his goal to reach us.
And it is God’s intention, that every person experiences a change of heart towards him. Which in essence is a changed identity in Christ.
Let’s look at how Paul’s identity in Christ happened and how it can relate to us.
- God’s voice from the light leads Saul to ask who God is. And maybe you have experienced this. Something happened in your life that brought an awareness that God is real. And that God is good.
- Saul was led by those that were with him to Damascus to see Ananias. As God is leading you to a change of heart, there will be others along the way. These people are ones that God has strategically placed in your path that will help you. Or maybe you are being led by God to read out to others. Remember that there are many “jobs” to be done for God. Some planted, some watered but God gives the increase.
- Saul was led to a change of heart. Being healed of his blindness signifies his conversion from Saul to Paul. A complete change of heart. A change to his identity in Christ. Maybe you have a dark past that you are ashamed of and think that God could never forgive you. That is a lie! Just remember Paul and all that he did. God still forgave him and used him in a powerful way. If you are still alive, there is time to turn away from sin and towards God.
We know Paul had a lasting chance of identifying with Christ based on some of his last words found in the new testament.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
So, may we be found as Paul has stated “Not I, but Christ that lives in me”. May we be found in Christ. And Christ found in us.
A heart change, an identity in Christ.
In the comments below, share your thoughts on Paul’s identity in Christ. You can also share how God has changed your heart.