“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)
While looking at others in light of their past and thinking it impossible for them to change; we often forget about, or are blinded to, the fact that there is need for a change in ourselves.
In our passage of Scripture, we see how Paul was treated by the Jews at Damascus. We cannot say for sure what their motive was for planning to kill Paul. But we know that they did not believe that he had experienced a genuine change.
The point is, if they had truly experienced a change in their own hearts, then they would take heed to the Lord God when He has said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” many times in His Word.
More than likely, this group of Jews (who were probably considered the religious leaders of the day) wanted to kill Paul because they did not think the change they saw in him was genuine.
Or maybe it was because he was threatening to draw away their followers who followed them in the keeping the Jewish Law and traditions. That is, these Jews may have been the same ones who had wanted the Christians killed. They hated Paul now that he had made a 180 degree change. And they hated that Paul was “proving that this is very Christ (or the Messiah)” (verse 22).
Just as they were, so are some today. So are some of us as well who are Born-Again genuine Christians.
I know I am guilty myself of thinking of another who professes to have experienced a change to only be doing so because he or she has an ulterior motive. Also, because of what I see some doing on a daily basis, I have chosen to not share the Gospel with them; because I feel it would be useless, when God Himself has said in Isaiah 55:11, “…my word… shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” And since the Gospel is God’s Word of life, then I am choosing to allow those who are dead in trespasses and sins to remain dead by not delivering or preaching the Gospel. This makes me no better than the Jews who took counsel to kill Paul.
Because there is no respect of persons with God, there should be no respect of persons with me as well (individually), nor with the Church (as a whole).
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” (James 2:1)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” (Acts 10:34)
God looked beyond our faults and saw our needs.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Jesus was the one Man who made the biggest change for this world in history and in eternity. Jesus made a change for the world by fulfilling the Law. He made a change for the world by dying for the sins of the world. He made it possible for the world to experience a genuine change; a change that would be a benefit for all eternity. But everybody does not want to change. And everybody does not want to see others change.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:20)
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:21)